One of the best phases in the life of a woman, pregnancy does come with a few hitches here and there, one of them being nose bleeds. Nose bleeds, medically known as epistaxis, are a common occurrence during pregnancy. The pregnancy hormones, estrogen and progesterone cause expansion of nasal blood vessels. This leads to increased blood supply and subsequently increased pressure on delicate blood vessels resulting in a tendency to rupture. Minor bleeding can also occur due to changes in climatic conditions or fluctuations in air pressure. Although frightening, they can be easily treated at home.
Stopping a nose bleed
- Keep your head in an elevated position and higher than your heart
- For the nest 10 minutes, apply continuous pressure by firmly pinching the soft part of the nose.
- In case bleeding persists after 10 minutes, continue to apply pressure for another 10 minutes
- Further bleeding would require immediate medical attention
- Leaning forward and breathing though the nose will drain blood down the nose rather than the back of the throat.
- An ice pack applied to the bridge of the nose helps in constricting nasal blood vessels and stops bleeding.
Preventing a nose bleed
- Avoid lying down flat or tilting your head backwards to reduce blood pressure and discourage further bleeding
- Do not blow or pick your nose, bend down or undertake any strenuous activity for at least 12 hours immediately after a nosebleed.
- Avoid alcohol or hot drinks as they cause dilatation of blood vessels in the nose.
- Do not allow the membranes of the nose to dry up due to the heat. Moisturize the insides of the nose with petroleum jelly or saline nasal drops.
- Prevent dehydration of tissues. Consume extra fluids to prevent the mucous membranes and other tissues in your nose from getting dehydrated.
Effect of nasal bleeding on pregnancy:
- Nose bleeding rarely affects child birth.
- A severe bleeding in the 3rd trimester will necessitate childbirth through caesarean
Nasal bleeding and medical help
Contact your doctor urgently in the following case scenarios
- Nasal bleeding persists even after 20 minutes of pressure has been applied on the nose.
- Heavy bleeding from back of the nose and blood pouring out of the mouth
At the Hospital
- Nose shall be packed by doctor using a nasal tampon, special gauze or an inflatable pack.
- May be admitted to ENT ward for observation
- In case of discharge, return to hospital to get the pack removed.
- Doctor may cauterize the bleeding blood vessel either chemically using a silver nitrate swab or resort to electro cautery in case of heavier bleeding
- Severe nosebleed might warrant surgery.
Although none of these measures are risky for the baby, surgery is normally avoided till after childbirth as far as possible. Nose bleeds have a high nuisance value but are temporary problems that will stop with childbirth. However, do take necessary precautions in case of occurrence of nose bleeding and avoid undue stress.
If it’s your first pregnancy, read as much as possible so that you know what minor problems can happen and how to deal with it. This will also help the sudden panic situation and sail you smoothly through the entire pregnancy.