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Struggling to breathe

(9 Posts)
HPonEverything Tue 26-Jul-11 13:10:33

Since about week 16 (now 30wks) I've been really breathless and wake up in the night literally gasping for air. I have to sort of yawn to breathe properly and get enough air in my lungs. It's really embarrassing sitting in meetings at work yawning and gasping for breath, and my DH keeps thinking I'm sighing at him!

I was pretty fit pre-pregnancy but now even climbing the stairs leaves me wheezing like my gran used to when she had empysema shock. I'm not carrying that much extra weight (an extra 7lb so far) with a tidy bump.

I spoke to my doctor this morning, who is generally fairly hopeless, and she said it's just the baby pressing on my diaphragm, but surely this wouldn't be constant for the last 14 weeks?

Is it normal or am I dying / going to die imminently?

Cattleprod Tue 26-Jul-11 13:20:53

I think it would be really helpful for you to try yoga - our childrens centre runs pregnancy yoga classes so yours may too.

In the meantime, sit up straight and put your hands on your sides under your armpits, about where your bra band is (same side, don't cross your arms), try to relax and make a conscious effort to breathe into your hands, so your ribcage is expanding sideways and giving more space in your lungs. When DH is there, ask him to place his hands on your back, near your shoulder blades, and try the same thing. Once you've got the hang of it, you won't need hands!

A lot of us breathe quite shallowly, mainly in our chests, and when you are pregnant, breathing this way doesn't let in enough air.


MsChanandlerBong Tue 26-Jul-11 13:22:31

I hope it doesn't indicate that you're going to die imminently... as I am really breathless too!!

I have the same thing when walking/climbing stairs etc. (And even if I get overexcited and try and talk for a long time quickly!!!) Plus I absolutely cannot lie on my back in bed anymore.

In all seriousness, I believe it is completely normal, due to pressure on the diaphragm, slightly squashed lungs if baby is high, plus the additional blood we all have in our systems requires more oxygen (sorry, I'm not a medical expert so I am confident I have got the terminology wrong there!).

ShowOfHands Tue 26-Jul-11 13:27:00

Are they keeping an eye on your iron levels? Anaemia will make you breathless. Any palpitations? Dizziness?

It is a normal side effect of pregnancy though. When you lie down on your back or right side, you'll often find it exacerbated as the weight of your uterus/baby will crush your vena cava and make you jerk awake/upright feeling dizzy and breathless.

I found with dd it was like I needed to take a massive breath but just couldn't quite manage it. Your body works so hard when pregnant. You have a higher blood volume, faster pulse, squashed organs and extra weight. You will find this makes you somewhat breathless at times. Your midwife should be ruling out other causes though.

strawberrypenguin Tue 26-Jul-11 13:27:05

I've been getting breathless over the last week as well (25+3 today) especially in the evening after eating/when I get tired. I've found laying on my side helps - I assume it reduces the pressure on diaphragm a bit. Got a MW appointment later this week so will ask then. Sorry not much help but you are not alone!

Crosshair Tue 26-Jul-11 13:27:43

Ive been getting really breathless for a couple of weeks now(17 weeks). Ive been trying to do abit more walking and moving about as im a lazy person normally, so assumed it was me being really unfit.

HPonEverything Tue 26-Jul-11 14:48:53

Thanks all, I will try all those tips. ShowofHands yes it's exactly like that, hence all my yawning to try to get the massive breath. I had my first blood test for anaemia yesterday so I am waiting for the results of that. I'll try to spend more time on my left hand side.

Thanks again smile

mummymccar Tue 26-Jul-11 20:54:42

I'm only 9 weeks so I can't comment on baby pressing yet, but I had swelling in my ribs a few months ago and I could hardly breathe for weeks. The tiniest change can cause breathlessness so I imagine a baby would certainly cause your symptoms. Hope you feel better soon!

BonzaBlue Tue 26-Jul-11 21:27:31

I have had this since early pregnancy too - and have been trying to explain it to people by saying it is like trying to yawn and you can not yawn properly ... at first I got panicy (spelling?) but since going to yoga - I just concentrate on in haling and exhaling - making sure the exhalation is longer than the inhale ... hope this helps ...

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