Nosebleeds in pregnancy

Why am I having nosebleeds now I'm pregnant? And will they affect my baby?

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If you used to get nosebleeds when you were a kid at school, you probably thought they were a thing of the past. But, oh yes, nosebleeds can also make an annoying appearance during pregnancy.

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Having blood pour out of your nose is never a good look, but even though a nose bleed can leave you looking like you’ve had a bit of a misunderstanding with Tyson Fury, it’s rarely a sign of anything serious.

I’ve never had nosebleeds before. Should I be worried?

Concerned MFMer lisajane-35169 asked our forum, “For the last week my nose has been bleeding. Not badly, just a little at a time. Has anyone else had this problem? I’m now 33 weeks.

“I did tell the midwife and she said it was just a blood vessel that has burst, so when I blow my nose, it starts to bleed a little again. Another great thing to add to the list as well as not sleeping & being uncomfortable!”

Nosebleeds can happen because the blood vessels in your nose expand when you’re pregnant. The increased blood supply puts more pressure on the delicate vessels in your nose, causing them to rupture more easily. So even if you’ve never suffered from them before you could develop nosebleeds during pregnancy.

What about the baby? Are nosebleeds a sign that something’s wrong?

Nope. Or, at least, it’s extremely unlikely.

“If yours is an uncomplicated pregnancy and a nosebleed occurs during the first half of your pregnancy, just mention it to your midwife at your next appointment. If you get nosebleeds in the last half of your pregnancy or you already know you have raised blood pressure, get checked out straight away, dad and GP Dr Julian Osen suggests.

But fret ye not! “They’re rarely anything to worry about,” says Dr Osen. 

And could even be something you’ll laugh about…eventually! As MFMer emsyj says, “I’ve had terrible nosebleeds – some days I blow my nose and look like something out of a horror film – it’s awful, but it’s normal. Hubby doesn’t like it much, though. I spattered him with blood the other week when I blew my nose in bed – YUK!!!”

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How should I deal with them?

There’s no glamorous answer here. The best thing to do is be prepared and carry tissues or a hanky with you at all times because they will probably happen when you least expect it and in the most embarrassing situations.

Celeb mum, Myleene Klass was photographed stemming the blood flow of a pregnancy-related nosebleed with a tissue while out and about. Mortified, she then went on and tweeted: “OMG, just been papped with a wad of tissue hanging out of my nose as have pregnancy nosebleeds!”

And try this:

  • Sit down – this reduces pressure in the head (lying down will just make it worse!)
  • Lean forward – breathe through your mouth as you do and this will help the blood drain down your nose instead of your throat
  • Pinch the top – find the fleshy part near the bridge of your nose and gently squeeze with your thumb and forefinger for 10-20 minutes. This puts pressure on the broken vein and enables it to clot or scab.
  • Take it easy – avoid blowing your nose, bending down or doing any strenuous exercise for at least 12 hours after a nosebleed

Kelsy1978 also has a handy (or should that be nosey?!) hint: “Yes I’ve had them too, They started as soon as I got pregnant (although I didn’t know I was at the time) every other week and I get them quite bad, They are horrid, make me feel like I have no energy. My midwife suggested I carry a small bottle of Lucozade with me at all times, so that after the nosebleed it gives me a little pick me up. I’m now 22+3 and still getting them so looks like they are here to stay until baby arrives!”

My nosebleeds happen at night – does this mean they’re more serious?

Nosebleeds can happen at any time, day or night. They often feel worse at night because you tend to swallow some blood due to the position you’re in when they start.

The blood can trickle down your throat before it comes out of your nostrils. So, the best thing to do is to sit up and go through the steps above to try and stop your nosebleed. And try sleeping with a pillow to raise you up slightly when you go back to sleep.

And there’s absolutely no need to panic – nosebleeds will not adversely affect your unborn baby. They’re extremely common, so rest assured you are not alone!

Which came as quite a relief to MFMer lisajane: “At least I know I’m I’m not alone! I was worried at first – this is my 4th and I’d never had it with the others…”

Will they stop when I’ve had my baby? 

Yes. After you’ve given birth, when your blood supply returns to normal, they will stop.

Phew! 

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