12.4.5  Dyspnoea (shortness of breath)

Many women get short of breath (cannot breathe as deeply as usual) when they are pregnant. This condition is called dyspnoea.

Dyspnoea is pronounced ‘dissp-nee-ah’.

  • Why do you think shortness of breath is a common problem, especially later in pregnancy?

  • Breathlessness is because the growing baby crowds the mother’s lungs, and she has less room to breathe.


Reassure women who are breathless near the end of pregnancy that this is normal. But if a woman is also weak and tired, or if she is short of breath all of the time, she should be checked for signs of sickness, heart problems, anaemia, or poor diet. Get medical advice if you think she may have any of these problems.

12.4.4  Feeling hot or sweating a lot

12.4.6  Difficulty in getting up and down