Friday, April 5, 2013

More Weird Pregnancy Stuff

Pregnancy is weird. If you read my post on New Weird Pregnancy Pain then you already know that I have run into some unexpected side effects of growing a life inside me. My most recent discovery is the occasional bloody nose. This is highly unusual for me since I have never had a bloody nose before in my life. I had never experienced the sudden dripping that feels like a runny nose only to wipe it away and find a bright red smear on my tissue.
It started off harmless enough, sometimes when I would blow (I am getting over a cold so I have been blowing my nose more frequently of late) there would be bloody mucus. Then the amount of blood increased until one day it just started pouring from my nostril. Super weird for me. So of course I looked up the explanation to make myself feel better (I also looked up what to do about it because I had a sudden panic attack - do I tilt my head back or down?? Spoiler alert: it isn't back.)

Apparently while pregnant, both your hormone levels and your blood volume are increasing, which can cause changes throughout your body — even in your nose! Your nasal mucus membranes become swollen, dried out, and even bleed. I had been experiencing the stuffiness for quite some time, but apparently once exacerbated by my cold, my poor swollen nasal mucus membranes couldn't take it anymore.

When you get a nose bleed you are supposed to:
  • Sit upright and lean forward. By remaining upright, you reduce blood pressure in the veins of your nose. This discourages further bleeding. Sitting forward will help you avoid swallowing blood, which can irritate your stomach.
  •  Pinch your nose. Use your thumb and index finger to pinch your nostrils shut. Breathe through your mouth. Continue to pinch for five to 10 minutes. Pinching sends pressure to the bleeding point on the nasal septum and often stops the flow of blood.
  • NEVER tilt your head back. This will only make the blood flow down the throat to the stomach, or into the lungs. You may vomit blood later due to irritation of blood in the stomach.

And to help prevent future nose bleeds make sure you:

  • Use a humidifier.
  • Drink plenty of liquids every day.
  • Put a little petroleum jelly around the edges of your nostrils.
  • Use saline nose drops or spray.
If a nosebleed isn't stopping (for 20 min or so), or if you get frequent nosebleeds, let your health care provider know.


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