One BIG reason for shortness of breath during pregnancy is often due to weakness and poor coordination of the pelvic floor and diaphragm muscles. Carrying a child, labour and delivery are all extremely taxing on your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles. With each pregnancy those core muscles become a little bit more strained and a little bit weaker.
You wouldn’t think twice to rehabilitate your muscles after a trauma like a car accident or surgery? So why wouldn’t you after pregnancy and childbirth? Your diaphragm and pelvic floor work together to create strength and stability in your core. Weakness from the downward ⬇️ pressure and weight of a growing baby as well as postural changes from a growing belly can completely wreak havoc on this relationship. Your diaphragm flattens when you breathe in and your pelvic floor relaxes. When you breathe out your pelvic floor and lower abdominals contract and your diaphragm recoils up to bring that air out. Postural changes can affect the diaphragm’s ability to contract and flatten. And pelvic floor/abdominal weakness can affect the strength and stability created on your exhale. If you aren’t able to inhale and exhale well, of course you would experience shortness of breath! Always discuss any shortness of breath you are experiencing with your OB or midwife. But if everything is all clear from a medical perspective, working with a physiotherapist during your pregnancy can help you breathe easier, prepare you for a smoother labour and help you bounce back faster after delivery.