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Nosebleeds During Pregnancy: What to Know

By Marisa Iallonardo
Reviewed by Alyssa Quimby, M.D.
May 02, 2024

Like any blood loss, nosebleeds can be alarming when you’re pregnant. Fortunately, they’re usually nothing to worry about. Here’s why you may be experiencing nosebleeds, what to do in those cases, and how to help prevent future nosebleeds during pregnancy.

Are Nosebleeds Common During Pregnancy?

Research estimates that about 20% of pregnant people get nosebleeds, compared to 6% of people who aren’t pregnant.

That largely has to do with blood volume, which increases to support your pregnancy. “Blood volume can go up by as much as 50% during pregnancy,” explains Katie Rustici, M.D., a board-certified ob-gyn at Intermountain Health in Denver. “The blood vessels now have to accommodate all that extra blood flow.” She likens the extra blood in your vessels to stretching a balloon. At some point, a balloon can’t stretch anymore and bursts.

A nosebleed can happen at any point, but they may be more likely in the second and third trimesters. “You have a lot more blood at the end of pregnancy than you do at the beginning. And so the more blood volume you have, the more likely you are to get congestion, swelling, nosebleeds, and the symptoms associated with that,” says Nicole Nolan, M.D., a board-certified ob-gyn at UNM Health in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Also, hormonal changes (particularly in your progesterone levels) can relax blood vessels and increase nosebleed risk, Rustici says. And dehydration can cause dry skin in the nose that can lead to nosebleeds, she explains.

What to Do If You Get a Nosebleed

It’s important to stop the bleeding. First, sit or stand up so your head is higher than your heart. Then, pinch your nose closed with your fingers to put pressure on the blood vessels, Rustici says.

The blood vessels in the nose are small and clot easily, Nolan notes. But there are a lot of them, so you can bleed quite a bit.

Nosebleeds can last for a while, too. Don’t be alarmed if it takes up to 15 minutes of nose-pinching before the bleeding fully stops, Rustici says.

When Should I Be Worried About Nosebleeds During Pregnancy?

You may want to call your healthcare provider in some cases. These include if:

  • The nosebleed lasts longer than 30 minutes.
  • The bleeding is super brisk—meaning it’s a fast, steady flow versus slow.
  • You’re feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
  • You’re having multiple nosebleeds per day.

In any of these cases, your provider may want to look for other issues like anemia or problems with clotting.

Preventing Nosebleeds During Pregnancy

Keeping the inside of your nose moisturized with Vaseline or saline nasal spray can be helpful in preventing nosebleeds. Talk to your provider before using an allergy spray though—some may not be recommended during pregnancy.

Also, consider using a humidifier at night to combat dry air, and drink lots of water to prevent dehydration.