Whether your gas is too heavy to control at your desk or your water breaks at the post office, pregnancy can provide you with some embarrassing and messy public moments. Luckily, people are always forgiving when you’re showing, but you’ll always be left with an uneasy feeling. Unfortunately, these public mishaps are impossible to predict, but there are some common pregnancy side effect that you can try preparing for. One such mishap is a bloody nose.

During pregnancy, your blood volume increases and your blood vessels change size to match it. Most of your vessels are malleable enough to do so without incident, but the vessels in your nose are tiny and sensitive to change. When you become pregnant, they’re under a lot of pressure and it’s more likely that they’ll burst. You’ll be especially susceptible when you have a cold or when you’re exposed to dry weather or air.

Occasional nosebleeds during pregnancy are common and completely harmless, but they can be messy if you’re not prepared. Try carrying around a packet of tissues as your pregnancy progresses, as these will be the only method of stopping the bleed immediately. Otherwise, you will quickly be covered in blood and you might cause a scene as it starts to pool on the floor. With your tissue, you can stop the bleed by tilting your head back and applying light pressure for up to ten minutes, or until the bleeding stops. If you’re in a place where ice is available, applying it to your nose will also help stop the bleeding. If you can’t get the blood to stop, you might be having a problem scabbing, and you should call your general practitioner right away.

To prevent nosebleeds, you should try keeping yourself and the air around you well hydrated. Using a humidifier at home will help moisten the membranes, as will drinking more than the recommended 8 glasses of water every day. Also, treat your nose gently when blowing it or sneezing, as increased pressure will make nosebleeds more likely.

Unless your nose is bleeding after a head injury, there’s no need to call your doctor and you can easily treat them on your own. Nosebleeds during pregnancy are common, and they’re a result of one of the many changes your body goes through in preparation for delivery. To prepare, you’ll need to carry around extra tissues at all times.

Source: Gregg Goldstein et al: Rhinologic Issues in Pregnancy. Allergy and Rhinology Volume 3 Issue 1 pp. 13-15 June 2012

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