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Pregnancy: Nosebleeds and Bleeding Gums

Topic Overview

Nosebleeds during pregnancy may be caused by increased blood flow to the tissue lining the inside of the nasal passages (mucous membranes).

To prevent nosebleeds

  • Avoid using nonprescription nasal decongestants, such as allergy pills or sprays. If you have serious allergy problems, talk to your doctor.
  • Use a humidifier in your house or office and in your bedroom at night.
  • If you have to blow your nose, gently blow one nostril at a time.
  • Apply petroleum jelly to the inside of each nostril.

To stop nosebleeds

  • Sit up straight, and tip your head slightly forward. Do not tilt your head backward—this will cause the blood to drip down the back of your throat.
  • Pinch the nostrils tightly shut between your thumb and forefinger for 10 full minutes without stopping.
  • If your nose is still bleeding after 10 minutes, hold the nostrils shut for another 10 minutes. Most nosebleeds will stop after 10 to 30 minutes of pressure.
  • Avoid blowing your nose for at least 12 hours after a nosebleed.

Increased blood flow to the mucous membranes of the mouth and gums during pregnancy may also cause bleeding, especially when you brush your teeth. Your gums may appear more swollen than usual. Try using a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Regular visits to your dentist during pregnancy are important to prevent problems. Inform your dentist of your pregnancy. Some dental work (usually any dental procedures requiring anesthesia or X-rays) may be postponed until after you deliver.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised July 23, 2012

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