Why do I have a hard time breathing during my third trimester?
Many pregnant women experience breathing difficulties, particularly in the later part of their pregnancy. By around the 35th week for most women, the uterus is pressing the diaphragm up towards the lungs, leaving much less room for the diaphragm and the lungs to expand. It can be particularly difficult to find a comfortable position at night.
There are some things you can do to help your breathing in late pregnancy:
- Slow down. Take things slower so you don’t get winded as quickly.
- Remember your posture, to give your lungs as much room as possible to expand.
- Sleep propped up with pillows.
- Hold your arms over your head. This raises your rib cage and gives you more space to breathe, at least temporarily.
- Practice slow, deep breathing while relaxing. Your physician may also be able to help you identify breathing exercises.
In the last few weeks of pregnancy, the baby will begin to drop (lightening). Once this occurs, the baby is moved lower into the pelvis, taking pressure off the diaphragm and leaving the lungs with more room. Breathing usually becomes much easier at this point.