In pregnancy, the blood volume increases – Occasional or frequent epistaxis in pregnancy plagues a lot of women. It is annoying but not dangerous for the mother or the child. As with many other pregnancy complaints, the effect of the hormones plays a central role.
The nose – a sensitive and well-perfused organ
The nose is a very well-perfused organ and has to be that to fulfill its various functions. The surface of the nasal mucous membrane moistens and warms the inhaled air while exhaling it recovers most of its heat and moisture.
The regeneration of the mucous membrane is regulated by the so-called nasal cycle, in that one nostril is more heavily loaded and the mucous membrane of the other nostril can recover during this time.
The nasal hair and the nasal secretion ensure that fine foreign particles do not get into the respiratory tract, the cilia in the nose transport them permanently in the direction of the throat. The olfactory mucosa (regio olfactory) clothes the nasal cavity in its uppermost areas.
In humans, there are about ten to thirty olfactory sensory cells, which open into the olfactory nerves and are connected by them to the brain. The nasal mucosa runs through a network of fine capillaries, in the anterior region of the nasal septum – the so-called locus Kiesselbachi – they are particularly close to that of the mucosal surface. This region is therefore often the starting point for nosebleeds.
Causes of nosebleeds during pregnancy
The causes of frequent epistaxis in pregnancy are found in two primary factors: First, the pregnancy hormone progesterone and the increased secreted estrogens (female sex hormones) relax the body tissue – and the blood vessels are affected.
Second, blood volume increases during pregnancy. The increase in blood volume begins already in the 6th week of pregnancy, from the 30th week of pregnancy circulate in the circulation of a pregnant woman by 50 percent more blood than in non-pregnant times.
Blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate also increase gradually during pregnancy. The pregnancy-related changes in the circulation of course burden the vessels. Therefore, in the susceptible blood vessel system of the nose, a capillary will burst from time to time.
The climatic conditions act as an additional trigger of nosebleeds: Winter cold or dry indoor air dry out the nasal mucosa, which promotes bleeding.
How dangerous are nosebleeds during pregnancy?
You do not have to worry about frequent nosebleeds during pregnancy. There is no danger to you or your child. The blood loss is shallow – the bleeding usually looks worse than it is.
A rare exception is bleeding from arterial vessels in the back of the nose, which can become very strong and, especially in connection with blood coagulation disorders or the use of anticoagulant drugs sometimes challenging to breastfeed.
Arterial hemorrhages from the nose, however, are not typical for nosebleeds during pregnancy. Their cause is usually liver damage or very high blood pressure.
First aid for nosebleeds
In acute nosebleeds, it is essential to stop the bleeding quickly. For this you take an upright posture and bend your head forward – the blood drips through the nose in this way. Then gently squeeze the nostrils for five to ten minutes.
A cold washcloth or a wrapped ice pack in the neck also helps to stop the annoying bleeding. Another home remedy for nosebleeds during pregnancy is to sprinkle a fresh handkerchief with lemon juice and gently introduce it into the nose.
You should not lie down or put your head back. In doing so, blood can run into the gastrointestinal tract or be inhaled. Swallowing blood triggers nausea and dizziness.
When do nosebleeds require a doctor’s visit during pregnancy?
If these measures do not help, you should opt for a doctor’s visit. Nosebleeds can be treated well and with different methods. For example, the doctor uses a tamponade or obliterates the bleeding vessels with electrocoagulation tweezers.
If you have severe or persistent nosebleeds during pregnancy, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible to rule out hypertension and other causative disorders.
The early detection of hypertension plays a unique role in pregnancy, as it may conceal an incipient pre-eclampsia (hypertensive gestosis, formerly also “pregnancy poisoning”), which can lead to severe pregnancy complications untreated.
For prevention: gentle whining and a lot of moisture
To prevent nosebleeds during pregnancy is the observance of a few simple rules: Brush your nose carefully and carefully – too strong blowing may trigger nosebleeds. Keep your nose moist. In winter or very dry climates, you prevent the nasal mucosa from drying out by regularly treating the sides of your nostrils with a cream containing fat and moisture.
Excessive drinking also helps to keep the tissues of your body – and thus the nasal mucous membrane – moist. If you have a history of nosebleeds during your pregnancy, you can try out whether regular inhalation with water vapor relieves the symptoms.
If you suspect that too dry indoor air is a trigger for nosebleeds, you should consider buying a humidifier. The devices are not expensive, but can sustainably improve the climate in your home or office.
Nosebleeds during pregnancy is a common symptom:
- The causes for this are the tissue and vessel-loosening effect of the pregnancy hormones as well as the blood volume increased by the pregnancy.
- Nosebleeds during pregnancy do not endanger your baby or yourself.
- Simple home remedies can usually stop the acute bleeding.
- You should go to the doctor if your nose is very or very often bleeding during pregnancy. It is also about reliably excluding a possible high blood pressure.
- To prevent nasal bleeding during pregnancy helps the particularly careful handling of your nose and plenty of moisture – by regular creaming the nostrils, plenty of drinking and adequate humidification of the indoor air.