5 ways to reduce shortness of breath during the third trimester

Posted on February 8th, 2019

Here are five easy ways to reduce shortness of breath in the third trimester. By Lebogang Madileng


Reaching the third trimester is an important milestone in your pregnancy. Now more than ever your body is working hard to cater for your baby’s needs, but this can also cause unwanted symptoms such as feeling short of breath. This is normal and there are several reasons why breathing seems a little harder.

ALSO SEE: What’s normal and what’s not during pregnancy

What causes shortness of breath during pregnancy?

Your oxygen intake increases by about 20% when you’re pregnant. This is to ensure that there’s enough oxygen transferred to your placenta, uterus and baby. It might feel like you’re taking more breaths per minute, however, the amount of air you are inhaling increases, which means you’re taking deeper breaths. Your uterus puts pressure on your diaphragm, and this reduces lung capacity. Most women find that breathing improves during the last few weeks of pregnancy, because of their babies dropping in preparation for birth.

5 ways to reduce shortness of breath during the third trimester:

  1. Good posture: Keep your back and shoulders straight to give your lungs room to expand as much as possible.
  2. Extra pillows: If breathlessness is disturbing your sleep, prop yourself up with more pillows.
  3. Lift your arms up: This will take pressure off your rib cage and allow you to breathe easily.
  4. Eat healthily: Being overweight can make breathing even harder, so eat a healthy diet to maintain a healthy pregnancy weight.
  5. Yoga: Breathing exercises that are taught during yoga classes may help you control your breathing better. Yoga is a gentle exercise that will also keep you fit.
Living And Loving Staff

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Our experienced editors work with trained journalists and qualified experts to compile accurate, insightful and helpful information about pregnancy, birth, early childhood development and parenting. Our content is reviewed regularly by our panel of advisors, which include medical doctors and healthcare professionals.