Pregnancy and motherhood transform a woman's life completely. A woman's body undergoes changes right from the time of conception, and these changes occur throughout the nine months. The changes are not restricted to her body. Pregnancy also changes the way a woman thinks. Her thoughts revolve around the new life that is growing in her womb.
Estrogen and progesterone are both hormones that prepare a woman's body from the time of conception till childbirth. The interactions between these hormones bring about the necessary bodily changes, one of them being an increase in the total volume of the blood that is pumped by the heart. The changes in the levels of certain hormones, however, may be responsible for certain distressing physical and emotional symptoms that a woman may experience. An increase in blood volume can make a pregnant woman more susceptible to nosebleeds. In the first trimester of pregnancy, the bodily changes may even cause headaches. Here's some information on the causes of nosebleeds and headaches during pregnancy, along with the steps that may help in alleviating these symptoms.
What Causes Nosebleeds and Headaches in Pregnant Women?
Wondering why do nosebleeds occur during pregnancy? Well, let me give you a comprehensive answer to this question. As mentioned earlier, pregnancy is characterized by an increase in the blood volume. The increase in blood volume is the body's way to deal with pregnancy. A pregnant woman has to make changes to her diet as the fetus gets all the nutrients through the mother's blood. This is the reason why the cardiac output also increases during these nine months. As the amount of blood in the body increases, the blood vessels expand to adjust the increased blood volume. At times, blood may start exerting more pressure on the walls of the delicate blood vessels located in the nose. This may cause the membrane that lines the nasal cavity, to swell up or even bleed.
The membrane can also get irritated if a woman suffers from common cold, inflamed sinuses or allergies during pregnancy. Such infections can dry out the membrane that lines the nasal cavity. A dry nose can particularly make one susceptible to nosebleeds during pregnancy. Women suffering from high blood pressure are also likely to suffer from nosebleeds. As mentioned earlier, most of the symptoms experienced by pregnant women are attributed to the changes in the levels of estrogen and progesterone. The resultant changes in blood circulation may also cause headaches. Pregnancy can also stress women out. Poor dietary habits can cause low blood sugar, which in turn, may cause headaches. Dehydration, lack of sleep, fatigue, tension and emotional stress, are some of the common contributory factors when it comes to headaches in pregnant women.
How to Prevent Nosebleeds and Headaches During Pregnancy
Now that you know why pregnant women are at an increased risk of suffering from headaches and/or nosebleeds, let's move on to precautionary measures that can be taken to tackle these problems. Nosebleeds are usually harmless, and not really a cause of serious concern. Women, however, must ensure that the medical conditions that may make one susceptible to nosebleeds are treated at the earliest. Blowing the nose vigorously can also cause trauma to the nose, and must, therefore, be avoided. Drinking fluids is essential to ensure that the membrane that lines the nasal cavity is moist at all times. If the membranes have become dry, they are more likely to bleed. Pregnant women must, therefore, drink plenty of fluids. Pregnant women who do suffer from nosebleeds, can try certain simple remedies to stop the bleeding. Pinching or pressing the nose for about five to ten minutes under the ridge can help. Applying ice over the nose may also prove useful. One must, however, make sure that the ice is not applied directly. It must be wrapped in a clean soft cloth before it is applied over the nose. This should help in stopping the bleeding.
High blood pressure is one of the common causes of headaches and nosebleeds. Since hypertension can have an adverse effect on the pregnancy, it's essential to follow the guidelines given by the medical experts to restore blood pressure back to normal. Since stress is believed to contribute to headaches, one may benefit by following relaxation techniques. These will certainly calm your nerves and make you feel relaxed. This will help in lowering stress and thus, lower the incidence of headaches as well. Following a healthy diet is of utmost importance. Pregnant women need to be aware of the complications that may arise, if they make poor lifestyle choices. One must refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol or caffeinated drinks. This is a time, when you not only need to take care of your health, but also need to nourish the life that is growing within you.
On a concluding note, pregnant women can reduce the incidence of nosebleeds and headaches or prevent them by following certain precautionary measures and making healthy lifestyle choices at this time. Though an isolated episode of a headache and nosebleed is not really a cause of serious concern, it would be best to consult a doctor if these symptoms persist.