It can be a little scary to get a nosebleed when you’re pregnant.
Don’t be alarmed. Nosebleeds during pregnancy are very common.
Even so, they can be really inconvenient and, if frequent, very distressing.
If you’re wondering what to do if you get a nosebleed in pregnancy, we have you covered.
Read on for more information.
Nosebleeds in pregnancy
During pregnancy, you experience changes in hormones and an increased blood volume.
These changes can make your nose feel stuffy and more blocked up than usual.
You have tiny blood vessels inside your nostrils. The increased blood volume can damage the blood vessels and cause them to burst, resulting in a nosebleed (also called epistaxis).
Is it ok to nose bleed during pregnancy?
If you get a nosebleed it can give you a fright or just be a nuisance.
As long as you don’t lose a lot of blood, there is generally nothing to be worried about.
In most cases, a nosebleed won’t be harmful to you or your baby.
What can nosebleeds be a sign of?
A nosebleed isn’t usually serious.
However, frequent or heavy nosebleeds during pregnancy could indicate more serious health problems, such as hypertension (high blood pressure) or blood clotting disorders, and should be checked.
See your health practitioner if you’re concerned. You can also be checked for any signs of a sinus infection. You’re more likely to get nosebleeds if you have sinus problems and congestion.
Excessive bleeding over a prolonged period of time can also lead to further problems such as anemia, which means low iron and red blood cells.
Please read Anemia In Pregnancy | Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment for more information.
Are nosebleeds common in first trimester?
Having a nosebleed is common in the first trimester for pregnant women. During your first trimester, the amount of blood flow in your body increases and your heart works harder.
This is one major reason why congestion happens, especially during pregnancy.
This means the lining of your nasal passage also receives more blood and you’re more likely to experience congestion, which in turn causes nosebleeds.
However, nosebleeds can also occur in the second and third trimesters.
Nosebleeds during pregnancy treatment options
There are two kinds of nosebleeds. Anterior nosebleeds occur when the blood vessels in the front of the nose break and bleed.
Posterior nosebleeds occur in the back or the deepest part of the nose. In this case, blood flows down the back of the throat.
Treatments to help stop a nosebleed :
- Sit or stand, keep your head upright
- Pinch the soft part on the bridge of your nose, underneath the bony ridge, between your thumb and forefinger. Once you have done this, press the two sides of your nose together
- Keep pinching, without releasing, for 10 to 15 minutes. Apply as little pressure as possible so you won’t get hurt
- If your nose is bleeding a lot, lean forward slightly and breathe through your mouth so the blood runs out of your nostrils, rather than down the back of your throat
- Spit out any debris that’s in your mouth
- You might also want to suck an ice cube or put a cold pack on the back of your neck or forehead, or on the bony part of your nose
- After 10 minutes, gently release your pinch to see whether or not the bleeding has stopped
- If your nose is still bleeding, try this procedure again for another 10 minutes.
As mentioned above, you can lean forward while lightly pinching. This reduces blood flow and lowers the chance of you swallowing blood.
To avoid another bleed, don’t pick at, or start blowing, your nose. Take it easy when bending down, or exercising, and avoid hitting your nose.
Nosebleed in pregnancy comfort measures
Being comfortable in pregnancy is important. We have enough little annoyances, and the side effects of a nosebleed just add to them.
Try these things for comfort measures during pregnancy:
- Use a dehumidifier so the air doesn’t dry out your nostrils. Clean air is a must during this time.
- Rub petroleum jelly on the inside of the nostrils. This is a petrochemical byproduct, however, and if this product is not suitable, try any non-scented oil.
- Nose sprays or drops might be helpful. Speak with your pharmacist for advice.
You might also seek advice from trusted sources, such as your doctor or midwife.
Can dehydration cause nosebleeds?
Bloody noses are common and can be caused by a variety of factors, including dehydration, cold, dry air, sinusitis, allergies, blood-thinning medications, and trauma.
More often than not, a combination of these factors is to blame, and this could put both you and your baby at risk.
Can tiredness cause nosebleeds?
Like stress, tiredness can cause a headache and increase the likelihood of a nosebleed.
Excess fatigue can be attributed to your body carrying and making a child.
Nosebleeds during pregnancy with blood clots
A nosebleed during pregnancy can occur when the blood vessels in the nostril burst, which allows blood to leak out.
The body will usually form a clot to stop the bleeding and repair the damage.
Trauma is a common cause of a bleeding nose, but it can also occur in people who have allergies or sinusitis.
Nosebleeds during pregnancy preeclampsia
Pregnancy nosebleeds aren’t necessarily a sign of preeclampsia. However, if you have a bleeding nose, accompanied by hypertension, this can be an indicator.
You will need to be assessed. Usually, preeclampsia comes with other symptoms like visual disturbances, excessive swelling, and lots of protein in your urine.
For more information please read Preeclampsia | Symptoms, Signs, And Causes.
Nosebleeds during pregnancy miscarriage
Women who have nose bleeding are not more likely to have a miscarriage. A more common sign of miscarriage is vaginal bleeding with abdominal pain
For more information please read Early Miscarriage – Signs, Symptoms and What To Expect.
Can stress cause nosebleeds in pregnancy?
Headaches can result in, or be accompanied by, nose bleeding. You might be more likely to get headaches when you are stressed.
If you tend to pick your nostrils or blow your nose frequently when you feel stressed or anxious, that could also trigger nose bleeding.
For more information please read Stress During Pregnancy | How Does Stress Affect Pregnancy?
When should I contact my doctor with a nosebleed?
Let your ob-gyn or doctor know straight away if your nose bleeding happens after bumping your head, or if you have a suspected head injury.
You should also contact your doctor if:
- You have hypertension
- You have taken the steps to help stop a nosebleed (above), and your nosebleed hasn’t stopped after 20 minutes
- You have trouble breathing through your mouth
- There seems to be a large amount of blood loss
- You are getting a nosebleed frequently
- You have swallowed a lot of blood, and vomiting
- You have a fever or chill