Bloody Nose During Pregnancy: Is It Normal?

Pregnancy is full of surprises. You're putting away your groceries or stooping down to pet someone's dog, and then boom: you've got a nosebleed, and it's a gusher. You scramble for a Kleenex but still end up looking like the latest casualty from some slasher film. It's not only inconvenient and embarrassing, but you start thinking, Geez, I haven't had a bloody nose since I was 5 years old. Something must be wrong with me or my baby.

Hold that thought. It turns out you probably have nothing to worry about.

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"Nosebleeds do often occur during pregnancy," says Christine Proudfit, MD, OB/GYN and professor at NYU Langone Medical Center. The reason: That baby you're carrying calls upon your body to boost its blood supply.

"This increased blood volume places more pressure on the delicate vessels in the nose and may cause them to break," Dr. Proudfit explains.

There are things you can do to keep pregnancy-induced nosebleeds from happening in the first place: since they often occur when the nasal passage are dry and cracked, stay well-hydrated by drinking lots of water, and use a humidifier to avoid dry air as well as nasal saline sprays.

Still finding yourself with a bleeding nose?

Sit down and lean forward slightly, says Dr. Jessica Shepherd, an OB/GYN at Bundoo.com. Don't lie down, since that will cause the blood to drain down the back of your throat (yuck).

"Then apply pressure by firmly pinching closed your nose, just above your nostrils, for 10 minutes," Dr. Shepherd says. You may have to maintain pressure for up to 20 minutes before the blood will clot and the bleeding stops; placing an ice pack on the bridge of your nose can constrict the blood vessels and also help stem the tide.

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After the bleeding has stopped, "you should try to avoid blowing your nose and decrease the amount of heavy lifting and bending down in order to reduce the pressure, which may cause the bleeding to restart," Shepherd adds. 

If your nosebleed is very heavy and does not stop after applying pressure, or is recurrent over 24 hours, visit your doctor. "They could be a sign of a blood count abnormality," Dr. Proudfit cautions.

How often are you getting nosebleeds? What has helped?

 

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