Your gums and nose may bleed unexpectedly during pregnancy. Find out what causes this and how to feel better.

By the editors of Parents magazine

What causes nosebleeds and bleeding gums in pregnancy?

Your blood flow increases so much during pregnancy that sometimes it overflows. Your gums and nasal membranes are two places where blood may appear unexpectedly. Your gums may bleed when you brush your teeth, but unless pain or redness is present, this isn't something to worry about. Nosebleeds are also very common during pregnancy, particularly when you blow your nose. You may also notice that your nose is more congested than usual, also a result of increased blood flow to the mucus membranes.

What relieves nosebleeds and bleeding gums in pregnancy?

Routine dental care should continue during pregnancy (though dental X-rays should be avoided). Stop a nosebleed by softly pinching your nostrils shut for a few minutes while sitting or standing -- lying down or tilting your head back will make it worse. Repeat this pinching until the flow stops. If this doesn't work or nosebleeds are heavy and frequent, call your healthcare provider. For a stuffy nose, use a humidifier at home, increase your fluid intake, and try to clear things up by spritzing saline nasal spray into your nose (make sure it's a simple saline spray -- other types of nose sprays aren't safe for pregnant women). Smearing a bit petroleum jelly inside your nostrils will keep your skin moist. Avoid over-the-counter decongestants -- if the congestion is very bothersome, talk to your doctor or midwife.

Copyright © 2001 Meredith Corporation.

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