Question: I’m in my eighth month of pregnancy. From time to time, I have trouble breathing. Could this mean that my baby’s not getting enough oxygen?
Answer: Shortness of breath doesn’t mean that you’re short on oxygen, or that your baby is. During pregnancy, your respiratory system changes to allow women to take in more oxygen so they can use it more efficiently. In the last trimester, many women do find that they have difficulty breathing. Some describe it as a feeling a need to breathe more deeply. Relief happens once “lightening” occurs and the fetus settles down in the pelvis (usually two to three weeks before delivery). In the meantime, you could try to sit straight up, which will be easier on your back, too. You might also try sleeping in a semi-propped-up position with two or three pillows, and avoid too much hard work.
If your shortness of breath is severe, though, and accompanied by rapid breathing, blueness of lips and fingertips, chest pain, and/or rapid pulse, immediately call your doctor or go to the emergency room.