Women's Healthcare Topics

Is it Normal to Have Nose Bleeds During Pregnancy?

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Nose Bleeds (Epistaxis) Are Common In Pregnancy

Many women will develop nosebleeds during pregnancy. For the most part nosebleeds are common and quite harmless. If nothing else many women find them inconvenient and surprising at best.

Nosebleeds during pregnancy are more common as the blood vessels in the body expand and the volume of blood pumping through the body expand during pregnancy. Being pregnant can increase the pressure in the blood vessels in your nose, contributing to nosebleeds.

Nosebleeds are also common when a woman has a cold or when it is particularly dry out, as these conditions can contribute to membrane irritation.

Rough blowing or use of harsh products to blow the nose can also contribute to irritation and may lead to more frequent nosebleeds. Pregnant women experience stuffy noses more often than their non pregnant counterparts, hence are more likely to blow more frequently. If you find this is the case, indulge in a fancy box of moist tissues. Your nose will ultimately thank you for your concern and treat you well for your efforts!

Treating A Nosebleed

If you develop nosebleeds during pregnancy, there are several simple steps you can take to stop them. The moment you notice a nosebleed starting, make sure you sit up, then apply pressure to your nostril for up to ten minutes. It will take a while for you to produce enough pressure to stop the nose bleeding. You can pinch your nostrils together by applying pressure to the outer nostrils.

Keep in mind it typically takes a full five to ten minutes to stop a nosebleed, so if you release pressure prematurely you will probably have to start all over again. Some women find that applying an ice pack over the nose helps speed along the process. Ice tends to constrict the flow of blood through blood vessels (just as it helps reduce dilation of the blood vessels during a headache). While you are treating your nosebleed, you want to be sure to avoid laying down or tilting your head back. This will allow blood from your nose to drip into your throat and stomach. That can produce nausea and vomiting, something you definitely won't want on top of a nose bleed.

Pregnancy Health Section

Preventing Nosebleeds

Learn simple steps to help prevent or minimize the number of nosebleeds in pregnancy.

There are some simple steps you can follow that may help prevent or minimize the number of nosebleeds you experience during pregnancy. Here are some simple strategies you can follow to help protect against nosebleeds.

  • Try using a humidifier in your room at night to keep the air moist in your room. Dry air can dry out mucous membranes and contribute to nosebleeds.

  • Avoid blowing too hard particularly when you have a cold. Use soft tissue products like those with aloe to help soothe your nose.

  • Be sure to drink plenty of fluids during the day to keep your mucous membranes functioning properly. Dry mucous membranes are more likely to bleed than well hydrated ones.

  • Try an over the counter nasal lubricant if you experience frequent nosebleeds. As an alternative you may try a little dab of petroleum jelly on the inside of your nose to help prevent the membranes from drying out.

If you find that your nosebleeds occur frequently or that you are not able to stop a nosebleed within ten minutes of applying direct pressure, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider. Fortunately most nosebleeds during pregnancy are minor annoyances at best, rather than the sign of something more insidious occurring. By taking care of your nose and minimizing nasal irritation, you may find you escape this pregnancy side effect all together throughout your pregnancy!


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