Many, if not all, women experience bleeding nose and bleeding gums during pregnancy (mostly second trimester onwards). There is absolutely no reason to worry about this. Bleeding gums and nose, triggered by hormonal changes, are common during pregnancy. In the case of extreme discomfort (though rare), it is advisable to consult your attending physician.
Bleeding nose during pregnancy
During pregnancy, hormonal changes take place in a woman. In this regard, progesterone and oestrogen deserve a special mention. These two hormones dilate the blood vessels. There is a progressive increase in blood volume and blood circulation during pregnancy. As expected, this exerts pressure on the tender veins of the nose, thus swelling and drying up the mucous membrane of the nose. The blood vessels of the nose ruptures, resulting in a bleeding nose.
Ways to stop the nose bleeding
Before trying out any tips or first aid, one needs to have patience and maintain their composure. Panicking will only make the situation messy.
1. Hold your head upright (whether in a sitting or standing position).
2. Press or pinch the soft part of your nose (just above the nostrils).
3. Do this for 5-10 minutes and repeat until the bleeding stops.
4. All the while, do not release the pressure at any point. You can breathe through the mouth.
5. For minimum blood to get back into your system, lean towards a basin and slowly release the pressure. The blood (or blood clots) will flow down the basin.
Prevention and treatment
A little care on your part can help improve the condition.
1. Increase your fluid intake. It is important to keep your body, including the tissues and mucous membrane, well hydrated.
2. Be gentle with your nose. Do not blow or rub your nose hard.
3. Keep your nose as moist as possible. Applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly can help.
4. Keep your fingernails short.
Immediately after the nosebleed, DO NOT DO the following.
1. Don’t indulge in tiring or strenuous work
2. Avoid consuming alcohol or hot beverages. These act as a catalyst, dilating the blood vessels further.
3. Avoid blowing your nose hard.
4. Rest as much as possible. However, do not lie flat.
Seek medical attention if:
1. There is profuse bleeding (more than 20-25 minutes), with blood oozing out from the mouth as well.
2. There are extreme weakness and dizziness.
In spite of the temporary discomfort, nose bleeding seldom (almost negligible) affects pregnancy or the baby.
Bleeding gums during pregnancy
Many women develop pregnancy gingivitis (a mild gum infection) during pregnancy. Hormones changes (mainly progesterone) and an increased flow of blood trigger the inflammation of the gums. The inflamed gums are easily affected by the bacteria in the plaque, resulting in red, swollen gums. The gums become so tender that they bleed when you brush (or floss) your teeth.
Bleeding gums can also be triggered by a benign pregnancy tumour on the gums (Pyogenic Granuloma).
Prevention and treatment
Pregnancy gingivitis, though harmless, needs medical assistance and treatment. If left untreated, it can develop into periodontitis. In periodontitis, the gums become highly infected and inflamed, pulling off from the teeth.
Some studies suggest that severe gum infection and bleeding may result in low birth weight and preeclampsia (though rare).
Practising good oral hygiene is important.
1. Use soft bristle toothbrush. Make it a habit of brushing your teeth twice daily. Floss daily.
2. Use a fluoride-based toothpaste and mouth rinse.
3. Go for dental check-ups at regular intervals.
4. Enrich your diet with vitamin A and C. Vitamin C is very effective against gingivitis.
5. To reduce the inflammation, gargle using sea salt (consult your physician).
6. In the case of severe gingivitis, antibiotics might provide some relief (as recommended by the doctor).
Consult a dentist at the earliest, in the case of:
1. Painful gums that often bleed
2. Bad breath, swollen, tender and receding gums
3. A toothache and extreme discomfort
Timely medical intervention can help improve the situation.