All Children's Hospital Logo

Health Information Library

Parents > Q&A > Pregnancy and Infants > Why Do Some Pregnant Women Have Trouble Breathing?
Why Do Some Pregnant Women Have Trouble Breathing?

As my belly gets bigger, I seem to have more and more problems breathing, even when trying to do the simplest tasks. Should I be concerned?
- Maria

It's quite common for expectant women to be short of breath. Usually it's nothing to be concerned about, but it's best to check with your doctor, since lots of things can cause shortness of breath.

As a normal part of pregnancy, your breathing may be affected by the increase in the hormone progesterone, which causes you to breathe in more deeply. This might make you feel as if you're working harder to get air. Breathing may also become more difficult as your enlarging uterus takes up more space, resulting in pressure against your diaphragm (the muscle below your lungs).

As your baby "drops" lower into your pelvis as you near delivery, you should start to be able to breathe a little easier. In the meantime, try to:

If your shortness of breath has started suddenly, is severe, seems to be worsening, or is associated with pain, coughing, wheezing, or heart palpitations, let your doctor know. These may be signs that something other than pregnancy alone is causing your shortness of breath.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: October 2012

Related Articles
P    10 Things That Might Surprise You About Being Pregnant
P    Exercising During Pregnancy
P    Medical Care During Pregnancy
P    Pregnancy & Newborn Center
P    Pregnancy Myths and Tales
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.

Additional Info

Pocket Doc Mobile App
Maps and Locations (Mobile)
Programs & Services
Employment
For Health Professionals
For Patients & Families
Contact Us
Find a Doctor
News
CME

All Children's Hospital
501 6th Ave South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 898-7451
(800) 456-4543

Use Normal Template
© 2014 All Children's Hospital - All Rights Reserved