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What Causes a Nosebleed During Pregnancy?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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Many women notice that the chance of getting a nosebleed increases during pregnancy, though it is not always obvious why this is. The most common reason for a nosebleed during pregnancy is the fact that the blood flow is increased in order to maintain a healthy unborn baby and placenta. It does not help that the blood vessels in the nose are usually enlarged, and the increased pressure on them due to the heavy blood flow can cause them to rupture. Dry conditions and a deficiency of vitamin C can also cause nosebleeds during pregnancy. Keeping the nostrils moist, avoiding secondhand smoke, and getting enough water and vitamin C can help prevent nosebleeds.

The amount of blood in the body tends to double during pregnancy, causing the blood to flow faster than usual. Additionally, the blood vessels expand to allow the correct amount of blood through, and this includes the blood vessels in the nose. The increased flow of blood puts pressure on the vessels, often causing them to burst, resulting in a bloody nose. Fortunately, this is not usually a threat to the pregnant woman or her baby, but it is a minor inconvenience, especially when the woman is in public.

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It is usually easy to stop a nosebleed during pregnancy, beginning with keeping the head above the heart level while leaning forward. The nose should be pinched with the thumb and forefinger for about ten minutes in order to stop the flow of blood from the nose, and also to allow coagulation to occur. Applying ice or other cold compresses to the area is also helpful since it can make the blood vessels constrict enough to slow down the bleeding. Some people automatically lean their head back and tilt their face upward to stop the bleeding, but this can lead to them swallowing the blood and then feeling nauseous, so it is not advised.

There are some factors that increase the chances of a nosebleed during pregnancy, starting with a dry atmosphere. While women who live in dry climates cannot help this, they can decrease the dryness in their nose by using a humidifier in the house to keep the mucus membranes moist. They can also apply saline drops, petroleum jelly, or lotion to the nostrils to keep them moist. Staying out of smoky areas is a given when pregnant, but it is especially important to keep the common nosebleed during pregnancy at bay. Finally, drinking lots of water, getting enough vitamin C, and blowing the nose gently when necessary can also decrease the odds of a nosebleed during pregnancy.

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