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Shortness of breath during pregnancy
Q: I am pregnant for the first time and have been experiencing shortness of breath. Should I be concerned that something is wrong or is this a common symptom of pregnancy?
Madison Lakeview
A: Shortness of breath is an annoyance but a healthy sign in most pregnancies.

In fact, it is a misnomer to call the sensation you’re probably experiencing shortness of breath. When I ask patients to clarify their symptom, most descote it as needing to take a big sigh, like they can’t quite get a full breath. We call it “air hunger.” It occurs due to the increased amount of hormones circulating in the blood during pregnancy. This sensation tends to wax and wane throughout the pregnancy.

That said, you should contact your doctor if you are:
  • Experiencing shortness of breath with minimal activity or exercise;

  • Feeling very fatigued;

  • Experiencing significant swelling in your hands or feet and are fatigued.
Craig L. Bissinger M.D.