Dr I get breathless after a short walk yet I am only two months pregnant. Before I got pregnant, I was even jogging but now I get out of breath when I take a simple walk. What can I do because I like exercising? Amooti Nyinabarongo
Dear Amooti Nyinabarongo,
Whether pregnant or not, being breathless can be scary with the victim fearing for life.
However, many pregnant women may get mild breathlessness on even mild exertion which often times may be harmless. The breathlessness may happen for the first-time during pregnancy even when it had never happened before.
During early pregnancy there is an increase in progesterone hormone which in turn increases the frequency and depth of the breathing to take in more oxygen for the growing baby.
Later during the next middle three months as the womb grows it takes up more space, resulting in pressure against the diaphragm leading to breathlessness even on mild exertion. This is especially so if one has gained much weight, or is pregnant with twins.
Fortunately, later in pregnancy, the baby descends into the pelvis easing the breathlessness. Keeping upright when breathless, light exercise, such as walking or swimming instead of jogging can help ease breathing without keeping one out of exercise which is necessary to keep fit during pregnancy.
Mild breathlessness much as it may be harmless requires checking out by the antenatal clinic to rule out medical conditions such as anaemia, asthma or even blood clots in lungs that also lead to breathlessness and ill health.