Nosebleeds During Pregnancy

image001Nosebleed is one of the common complaints during pregnancy. These nosebleeds may start with a sinus headache and nasal congestion or with slightly elevated blood pressure due to more circulating fluid volume in your body. It is helpful to know why you get nosebleeds during pregnancy and what you can do to stop or prevent them. Read on to find out the answers.

Why Do You Get Nosebleeds During Pregnancy?

There can be a number of reasons that you may have more frequent nosebleeds during pregnancy:

Possible Causes

Description

Expanding vessels

As the blood volume in your body increases, the vessels in your body tend to expand and thin. The vessels in your nose may rupture when the pressure from the increased volume stretches the vessels.

Allergies

If you are prone to allergies, you may be more likely to get a nosebleed. With allergies, the mucous membranes in your nose tend to dry out. This can cause the blood vessels to rupture more easily.

Colds and infections

Likewise, if you get a cold or any kind of infection in your nose or sinuses, the mucous membranes may dry and vessels may rupture. The irritation from an infection can also lead to nosebleeds.

Dry environment

If you live in a particularly dry region, you may find that your nasal membranes become even drier during pregnancy leading to a greater chance of nosebleeds.

How to Stop Nosebleeds During Pregnancy

There are several steps you can take when your nose starts to bleed.

  • First, get an ice pack and sit down in a comfortable chair with your head above the level of your heart. With your thumb and index finger, put very firm pressure on the lower part of your nose right below the bones of your nose. Squeeze tight for at least five minutes and avoid the urge to see if the bleeding has stopped.
  • You will have to breathe through your mouth during this time – if you are doing this right, you will not be able to breathe through your nose! If you are taking aspirin, ibuprofen or any kind of anticoagulant, you will need to hold the pressure for at least twice as long.
  • Cold can help constrict the blood vessels in your nose so it is very helpful to hold an ice bag over the bridge of your nose above the area you are pinching. Be sure to wrap the ice pack in a thin kitchen towel to avoid “burning” your skin – and do not leave the ice on for more than 20 minutes.
  • After 5 to 10 minutes, check and see if the bleeding has stopped. If it has not stopped, continue the pressure and ice for another 10 minutes. If the bleeding does not stop in 20 minutes, call your healthcare provider for further instructions. Be sure your provider knows if you have frequent nosebleeds.

The following video provides clear steps on how to stop a nosebleed and precautions you should take along the process:

How to Prevent Nosebleeds During Pregnancy

Of course, the best way to avoid the hassle of nosebleeds during pregnancy is to prevent it! There are several steps you can take to prevent nosebleeds:

  • Avoid using nasal sprays and nasal decongestants. These medications can dry your nasal membranes.
  • Try a gentle, over-the-counter nasal lubricant to moisten the nasal membranes.
  • Be gentle on your nose. Avoid blowing your nose aggressively and open your mouth when you sneeze to decrease pressure in your nose.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water each day to keep your membranes moist.
  • Humidify the air in your home. If your nose feels dry or congested, stand in a steamy bathroom and breathe in the humidity.
  • Avoid environmental irritants such as smog, smoke, chemicals, and perfumes that can irritate your nose. These can also cause other issues in your pregnancy.

Will Nosebleeds Affect Your Pregnancy?

Typically, an occasional nosebleed during pregnancy is no cause for alarm. If you have frequent nosebleeds, particularly during the last trimester of your pregnancy, it may indicate other problems. You should always let your healthcare provider know if you have frequent or very heavy nosebleeds. Research indicates that there may be a higher risk of postpartum vaginal bleeding for women who have frequent nosebleeds during pregnancy.

When Should You Worry About Nosebleeds During Pregnancy?

When should you worry about a nosebleed during pregnancy? There are a few situations in which you should seek help:

  • If you have maintained pressure on your nose for at least 20 minutes without cheating, and you are still having active bleeding, it is time to call your healthcare provider.
  • If the bleeding is excessively heavy and is running down your throat and out of your mouth, you are probably bleeding from the back of your nose – and you may not be able to stop it without assistance.
  • If you are on anticoagulants, call your healthcare provider immediately since you may not be able to stop the bleeding.

Your doctor may advise you to go to an Emergency Department. Once there, the clinician may pack your nose. While uncomfortable, a nasal packing will usually stop the bleeding. If it does not, the provider may cauterize the vessel by using heat or a chemical cautery. Cauterization burns the vessel and stops the bleeding by closing the vessel. This is an uncomfortable procedure, but it should not harm you or your pregnancy. In the case of a very severe nosebleed that cannot be managed, you may be admitted to the hospital; however, this is a rare occurrence. The good news is that once your baby is born, the cause for your nosebleeds will probably go away and your nosebleeds will stop!