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Symptom Checker

Step 4: Read and complete the decision guide to learn more about your symptoms.

Shortness of Breath In Pregnancy

If you do find yourself more short of breath when you are active, there are other possibilities to explore.


The shortness of breath could be just related to the pregnancy. But we better consider some other possibilities. Most of these problems are uncommon:


- Heart problems, such as an abnormal heart valve or impaired heart muscle contractions

- Blood clots in the lung's blood vessels (pulmonary embolism)

- Fluid in or around the lungs (pleural effusion)

- Very low red blood cell count (severe anemia). The mild anemia that often occurs during pregnancy does not usually cause significant shortness of breath.

- Weak diaphragm and chest wall muscles that can't pull enough air into the lungs (muscle or nerve diseases)


Now let's answer some questions to see if any of the conditions listed above might be causing your shortness of breath.


Many women retain fluid during pregnancy and their legs swell. Usually, this is not anything to worry about. But its presence or absence does help us think about your shortness of breath.


Which of the following best describes your legs?

I have no ankle or leg swelling.

I have some swelling in both legs; it is about the same in each

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