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How can I avoid breathlessness during pregnancy?

I feel out of breath more often now that I'm pregnant. What can I do?
Submitted by Parents.com Team

Does walking up even a short-ish flight of stairs leave you huffing and puffing these days? Don't worry -- it's normal to get winded more easily while you're pregnant. Starting early on in pregnancy, your blood volume swells by 50 percent, which means your heart has to constantly work harder -- and you need to breathe more -- to keep up, even when you're resting. Later on, as your baby gets bigger and your uterus expands, your lungs and diaphragm can become so crowded that it may be difficult to take a deep breath. To breathe easier, doctors suggest taking it easy during everyday activities, since too much rushing around is the last thing you need right now. If you're having a hard time keeping up at the gym, try an easy walk (avoid hills or treadmill inclines now) instead of more intense workouts. When you start to feel short of breath, don't panic -- that just makes it worse. Just stop what you're doing, sit down, and take a few deep and steady breaths until you feel better. Give yourself a time-out for 20 minutes or so, and ease back into what you were doing. However, if you can't catch your breath or the problem seems to be getting worse, call your doctor right away.

Copyright 2009

The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

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