Shortness of breath during 2nd trimester of pregnancy
When the lungs meet the phase of not getting enough air, you will have shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. As a result, the breathing process becomes fast, shallow, and sometimes sounds “crunchy”. Moreover, the chest will feel sore. People sometimes are difficult to differentiate between shortness of breath and asthma. Shortness of breath can appear suddenly (acute) or is recurrent in the long term (chronic), and can be caused by a number of health problems other than asthma.
The Causes of shortness of breath
It is a respiratory disease caused by inflammation in the airways (bronchi). This inflammation causes the bronchi to become swollen, narrow, and continue to produce excess mucus. Often feel tired and have difficulty breathing.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, does not irritate the skin and eyes, but is very dangerous if too much settles in the body. This gas is very toxic and flammable, originating from burning gas, oil, gasoline, solid fuel or wood. After inhalation, carbon monoxide can be tightly bound in blood hemoglobin 200 times stronger than oxygen bonds. Carbon monoxide gas will come along with blood throughout the body, which further causes damage to cells and tissues due to lack of oxygen.
- Heart tamponade (excess fluid around the heart)
Cardiac tamponade is a medical emergency when the blood or the fluid fills the space between the thin membranes that wrap around the heart (pericardium) and heart muscle. This condition provides a strong pressure on the heart so that it interferes with the heart’s function in pumping blood throughout the body. Lack of blood supply to the heart and the whole body can cause various symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain (especially on the left side of the chest), and the chest feels full and depressed. If not treated right immediately, cardiac tamponade can cause shock, heart failure, another organ failure, and even death.
- Hiatal hernias
A hernia is a term used to describe the inside of a body that protrudes from its place. A hiatal hernia is a condition that causes the upper part of the abdomen standing up to the opening of the diaphragm, the muscle separating the stomach from the chest. This muscle helps stomach acid not rise into the esophagus. If someone has a hiatal hernia, the acid stomach becomes easier to ride. The increase in stomach acid into the esophagus is called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). This disease can cause complications in both the stomach and throat. As a result, it may often experience heartburn (chest feels hot), difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain in the area of the chest or abdomen, difficulty swallowing, and so on.
- Heart failure
Heart failure is a condition where the heart cannot function properly and do not pump the blood throughout the body efficiently, due to a blockage or narrowing which occurs on the coronary arteries. The narrowing of these blood vessels causes the blood flow that carries oxygen blocked. As a result, the body’s tissues do not get enough oxygen supply and give any effects to several symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, out of focus, and accumulation of the fluid in the organs.
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
A condition where blood pressure in the arteries is so low. This condition causes the blood cannot deliver enough oxygen and nutrients to the organs of the body. Blocked blood flow makes oxygen unable to flow throughout the body. Further, this causes symptoms of shortness of breath.
- Pulmonary embolism
Pulmonary embolism is a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in the lungs. This condition causes blood flow to one or both sides of the lung to be very limited. As a result, it makes the chest feel tight and the heart rate increases, further it makes difficult breathing. Inflammation of the lung tissue and chest wall (pleura) can also cause sharp chest pain.
A condition where a collection of air flowing between the lungs and chest wall. The collected air can compress the lungs and make the lungs collapse (deflate). An increase in lung wall pressure will block the lungs from expanding when we take a breath. As a result, you will experience shortness of breath and other symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, coughing, and so on.
Pneumonia or infection in the lungs can also cause shortness of breath. Pneumonia is a disease that causes the air sacs in the lungs to become inflamed, swollen, and filled with fluid. This condition can be caused due to bacterial, viral, or fungal infections.
Shortness of Breath during Pregnancy
Shortness of breath can feel more severe because the diaphragm gets pressures from the uterus which continues to grow. However, your breathing has begun to improve a few weeks before labor, when the baby has begun to descend into the pelvis. By this time your body feels lighter than before.
Here are some of the causes of shortness of breath that occur during the second trimester of pregnancy:
The lungs are compressed by the uterus.
The body needs more oxygen, both for the mother and the baby. This can make the mother feel the need to breathe a lot of air by taking a deep breath.
The hormone progesterone can increase during pregnancy. This hormone can stimulate the respiratory center in the brain. As a result, the amount of air that is inhaled and thrown away when breathing is greater, even though the respiratory frequency does not change a lot.
Shortness of breath can be more severe if the baby is still in a high position, pregnant with twins or has abundant amniotic fluid.
Inflammation of asthma. If a pregnant woman has a history of previous asthma, she can experience asthma relapse during pregnancy and make her experience shortness of breath. This can also occur if the mother has a respiratory infection that further, makes her experience inflammation in the organ.
Too cold air can be one of the causes of shortness of breath during pregnancy. This cold air makes the body’s metabolism weaken and affects the lungs, so breathing activities become difficult.
How to Overcome Shortness of Breath during Pregnancy 2nd trimester
In order not to avoid having shortness of breath, it is recommended to do something without being in a hurry, for example when you are walking. Don’t also force yourself to do many things while on the move. Besides this, also do the following tips:
A not fit body can make you feel short of breath. So, it is recommended to do light exercise. When exercising the baby will also get enough oxygen.
When getting short of breath, try lifting your arms above your head. This movement can lift the ribs and make breathing more air.
Adjust the sitting position when shortness of breath occurs, sit in an upright position by pulling your shoulders back. This upright sitting position can provide enough space for the lungs to take the more oxygen needed.
Mothers do not need to worry too much if they experience shortness of breath or fear that the baby will not get enough oxygen. Remember, if you don’t experience shortness of breath accompanied by disturbing symptoms, feeling difficult to breathe is normal and will not harm the baby.