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A common complaint of pregnancy is frequent breathlessness. One of our members describes this as “a lead weight sitting on my sternum”. In mid to late pregnancy, that “lead weight” is your expanding uterus pushing up on your diaphragm.

In early pregnancy, breathlessness may be caused by the need for your lungs to take in more air. The hormone, progesterone, stimulates the respiratory part of your brain. This increases the amount of air you need to breathe in to help nourish your baby.

This may cause your breathing to be labored when exercising and at times, when sitting still. Don’t panic, you are not having an asthma attack. In fact, there’s not much you can do about this one, but relax. Keep your shoulders back and try not to slouch. Prop yourself up on some pillows. This is a completely normal part of pregnancy.

Breathlessness will not hurt your baby; however, if you are breathing rapidly, experiencing palpitations, chest pains, or faintness, or are pale or blue-tinged, this signals a more serious problem. Seek immediate help from your doctor.

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