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Nosebleeds during pregnancy

6-minute read

Key facts

  • Nosebleeds can happen often during pregnancy.
  • This is partly due to changes in your hormones during pregnancy.
  • In most cases, there's no need to worry about a nosebleed.

What are nosebleeds during pregnancy?

Nosebleeds during pregnancy are a common problem. Nosebleeds are also called ‘epistaxis'.

Although nosebleeds can be alarming, in most cases there's no need to worry. You should be able to treat a bleeding nose yourself at home.

What causes nosebleeds during pregnancy?

There are several reasons why nosebleeds are more common during pregnancy. These are related to the changes in your hormones during pregnancy.

How do hormone changes cause nosebleeds?

Increased oestrogen levels during pregnancy causes extra blood supply to the lining of your nose.

Progesterone also increases your blood volume. This may damage the tiny blood vessels in your nose and may cause them to burst, resulting in a nosebleed.

How do hormone changes affect my nose?

Hormonal changes in pregnancy can cause other changes related to your nose.

  • They may make your nose feel more congested (stuffy) than usual.
  • You may get pregnancy rhinitis — a stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and post-nasal drip.

Some people notice a change in the shape of their nose during pregnancy. This is called pregnancy nose. This change is only temporary and your nose will return to its normal shape about 6 weeks after the birth of your baby.

Other causes of nosebleeds

Like at other times in your life, nosebleeds can also be caused by other things.

This may be damage to the inside of your nose by:

  • picking your nose
  • blowing your nose too hard
  • the inside of your nose being too dry — due to a change in air temperature

Nosebleeds can also be due to accidents and medical conditions such as:

  • an injury or broken nose
  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • conditions that affect your blood vessels or how your blood clots
  • certain medicines

How long will my nose bleed last?

Your nosebleed may last from a few seconds to more than 10 minutes.

Nosebleeds can be very different.

  • You may lose blood from one or both nostrils.
  • Your blood flow can be light or quite heavy.

Nosebleeds sometimes happen while you're sleeping. You may wake up feeling the blood going down the back of your throat. When you sit up, the blood will then come out of your nose.

Are nosebleeds during pregnancy a cause for concern?

Nosebleeds can be upsetting, but generally they're nothing to be worried about.

As long as you don't lose a lot of blood, you can treat your nosebleed at home. In most cases, a nosebleed won't harm you or your baby.

How do I stop a nosebleed?

Nosebleeds can be easily stopped with first aid. To take care of your nosebleed:

  1. Sit up and lean forward slightly
  2. Firmly pinch your nose below the bridge (the bony part)
  3. Breathe through your mouth
  4. Keep pinching for 10 minutes
  5. If any blood enters your mouth spit it out
  6. You can put an ice pack on your forehead and the back of your neck
  7. Then let go, and see if the bleeding has stopped

If bleeding starts again, get medical advice.

In the past other ways of dealing with nosebleeds were often used. It's suggested that you don't:

  • tilt your head backwards — the blood may go down your throat and make you sick
  • lie down
  • put tissues or cotton wool up your nose

FIND A HEALTH SERVICE — The Service Finder can help you find doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and other health services.

What should I do after a nosebleed?

In the 24 hours after a nosebleed, you should try to avoid:

  • blowing your nose
  • bending down
  • vigorous exercise
  • picking your nose
  • drinking hot drinks
  • drinking alcohol

When should I see a doctor?

If the bleeding doesn't stop, get medical advice — call your midwife or doctor urgently.

You should go to hospital if:

  • your nosebleed lasts longer than 15 minutes
  • there seems to be a large amount of blood
  • you've swallowed a lot of blood and vomited more than once (been sick)
  • your nosebleed started after you hit your head
  • you're having trouble breathing
  • you feel weak or dizzy

You should speak with your doctor or midwife if you are getting nosebleeds frequently. They will check to see if there are any underlying issues causing your nosebleeds.

If you're getting severe nosebleeds your doctor may refer you to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist.

ASK YOUR DOCTOR — Preparing for an appointment? Use the Question Builder for general tips on what to ask your GP or specialist.

How can I avoid having a nosebleed?

You should avoid rubbing or picking the inside of your nose.

You may find that you get more nosebleeds in winter when the air is dryer. Try using a humidifier in your home to help moisten the air. Saline spray and saline nasal gel may also help.

Will my nosebleeds stop when I give birth?

Your nosebleeds will probably stop once you have your baby.

Resources and support

Talk to your midwife or doctor if you're worried about your nosebleeds.

For more information, or to discuss any concerns you might have about nosebleeds, call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: June 2022


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Need more information?

Nose bleeds

Nose bleeds can occur when the blood vessels or the lining or the nose become damaged.

Read more on WA Health website

Nosebleeds - Better Health Channel

Bleeding from the nose is common in children and is usually not severe or serious.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Nosebleeds in children: what to do | Raising Children Network

Nosebleeds in children are very common. Nosebleed treatment starts with staying calm and applying pressure to the nose. Nosebleeds aren’t usually serious.

Read more on raisingchildren.net.au website

Nosebleed

First aid fact sheet

Read more on St John Ambulance Australia website

Nosebleeds - MyDr.com.au

What causes nosebleeds? How can I prevent them? What first aid measures can I use to stop a nosebleed? Find out here.

Read more on myDr website

Common concerns in pregnancy

Read more on NSW Health website

Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

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