HomeHealth-and-wellnessHealth ConditionsIs Shortness of Breath an Early Pregnancy Sign?

Is Shortness of Breath an Early Pregnancy Sign?

Every woman’s pregnancy is a different experience with varying degrees of pregnancy symptoms. Some may experience more of an incident, while others may not experience it at all. Some pregnancy symptoms may start early for some people, while others only notice changes when they miss their menstruation dates. Even if early pregnancy signs are not experienced, the embryonic heartbeat can be detected through ultrasound by the 4th week.

shortness of breath

Almost 50% of women experience zero pregnancy symptoms as early as the 5th week of conception. However, more than 80% of women have agreed that their bodies showed noticeable early signs of pregnancy by the 8th week of conception. Medical conditions like Cyptic pregnancy result in women not experiencing any pregnancy symptoms until the 20th week. Hence the experience varies for different individuals. Some of the most commonly noticed pregnancy symptoms are discussed below.

Shortness Of Breath – Pregnancy Symptom

Progesterone is a hormone that is released to help the body maintain pregnancy. It is produced in high quantities a few days before menstruation and during the entire period of pregnancy.


Progesterone tends to make women breathe slightly faster and more often. This early sign of pregnancy is mostly undetectable. But some women might experience difficulty breathing, but progesterone does not confirm anything, as progesterone levels hike just a few days before menstruation, causing similar breathing problems, especially in women who experience PMS (premenstrual syndrome). However, shortness of breath cannot be deemed reliable for pregnancy symptoms, as multiple phenomena can cause it. Looking out for other symptoms that are onset with breathing problems can help get more accurate pregnancy predictions.


Some women experience breathing problems during early signs of pregnancy because the progesterone hormone induces an increase in lung capacity to accommodate a higher, sufficient oxygen supply for the mother and the baby. Some women have trouble breathing in week 1 of pregnancy, as their body might have difficulty quickly adapting to oxygen supply for two. Breathing problems and shortness of breath are common and very early signs of pregnancy one week. A sudden peak in progesterone levels causes this symptom. Paying close attention to breathing patterns and menstruation dates can help you detect very subtle pregnancy symptoms in week 1.


Sometimes, Women have difficulty breathing in their later stages of pregnancy too. Again, it results from the growing fetus pushing against the lungs, obstructing complete and free lung expansion.


early pregnancy sign 1

Detecting Early Symptoms Of Pregnancy 

Most women do not experience any pregnancy symptoms until their 4th week, while they only experience prominent pregnancy symptoms by the 8th week. Some of the common early symptoms are as follows:

1. Missed period 

The first and most evident pregnancy symptom is the missed period. The biological clock gives out clear signs that there are hormonal imbalances or, in this case, conception. In cases where the woman does not have a history of PMS or PCOD, a delayed period or menstruation is a clear early sign of pregnancy.

2. Breast tenderness and enlargement 

Upon fertilization, the hormone progesterone is issued in high quantities. The hormone is known for altering the body to better support fetal development. One of the main side effects of progesterone is breast tenderness and enlargement. It is the most common first-week pregnancy symptom. The veins around the nipple region tend to get more visible. But this is also a sign of PMS, as progesterone levels are high a few days before menstruation.

3. Nausea and morning sickness 

Almost 50% of women have admitted to experiencing ‘morning sickness, but it is known to prolong throughout the day. It usually begins around the 6th week for most women. But some might develop repulsion to certain smells and food substances in the earlier weeks.

4. Breathlessness 

Breathlessness is a mostly undetectable symptom. But for women with previous breathing trouble or low BP levels. Also caused by progesterone levels, women who have difficulty breathing with no apparent reasons can look out for other early symptoms of pregnancy to support the suspicion.

5. Fatigue 

Progesterone slows the metabolism, making women experience weariness and exhaustion. Iron deficiencies can also result in severe cases of fatigue during pregnancy. Fatigue is familiar and easy to notice as a very early symptom of pregnancy.

6. High urine excretion 

The uterus begins to swell with inner linings development to support implantation of the fertilized egg. A sudden increase in uterus size can press against the bladder, causing the frequent urge to urinate. The increase in body fluid content also requires frequent urination to expel unnecessary fluid accumulation. Frequent urination is mostly a pregnancy symptom in the 1st month.

7. Increased appetite 

The body begins to prepare for drastic biological changes and support the growth of another living entity by storing up on calories and nutrients. Thus increasing the average appetite and inducing specific cravings.

8. Significant vaginal discharge 

The dynamic activity of the inner uterine walls tends to produce sticky white vaginal discharge, which is also an early pregnancy symptom. The release tends to be more common in the later stages of pregnancy. Any abnormalities in the odor, consistency, quantity, or colour of the discharge need to consult with the doctor immediately as it can indicate other complications like yeast infections.

Confusion With Pregnancy Symptoms 

Other ailments that have posed high similarities with pregnancy symptoms include obesity, PCOD (polycystic ovary disorder), and PMS (premenstrual syndrome). These conditions mimic some of the early pregnancy symptoms and are often confused with being caused by pregnancy. Some tumors and cancerous developments also have reports of pregnancy symptoms. Consulting a doctor for a thorough check-up in the event of any abnormalities experienced is mandatory.


The only sure step to confirm pregnancy is through doctor consultation. Early symptoms can only be considered as possible indicators. Every woman’s body is unique and reacts differently to hormonal changes that may be caused due to pregnancy. The pregnancy symptoms mentioned may be easily detected in some individuals, while it may not even be a symptom in other women. Hormonal imbalances are also contributors to the mentioned symptoms. Taking pregnancy tests is the preliminary step to confirm these pregnancy symptoms. If the symptoms prolong even after a negative pregnancy test, consult with your doctor as it may indicate PCOD, severe vitamin deficiencies, or hormonal imbalances. Refrain from exciting yourself about being pregnant until a doctor confirms your early pregnancy symptoms.


early pregnancy sign 2



When does shortness of breath occur during a pregnancy?

Shortness of breath can occur at any stage of pregnancy. In early pregnancy, it can occur due to the elevated levels of progesterone in the body. In the later stages, shortness of breath can be due to the pressure of the growing foetus on the diaphragm and the lungs, which can make it difficult to breathe deeply.

Can an early pregnancy cause shortness of breath?

Yes, shortness of breath is possible in the early phases of pregnancy, although it is more frequently experienced later in pregnancy, particularly during the third trimester. If it occurs early on, it is probably due to an elevated level of hormone progesterone, which begins to rise at the start of your first trimester.

Is shortness of breath a sign of pregnancy?

By itself, shortness of breath does not indicate pregnancy. It is typically not one of the early signs of pregnancy; however, some women may notice shortness of breath shortly after conceiving; this may be due to the increased levels of progesterone hormone during initial conception.

When should one consult a doctor concerning shortness of breath during pregnancy?

Consult your doctor if you are consistently experiencing shortness of breath. Anaemia during pregnancy can result in breathlessness due to a decrease in oxygen-carrying RBCs; therefore, your doctor might want to evaluate your iron levels. If you have asthma, you should also visit your doctor.

If you are experiencing breathing difficulties and your lips or fingertips appear to be becoming bluish, or if you are experiencing a rapid pulse and chest pain, contact your doctor right away.

About The Author

Dr.William Lewis Aliquam sit amet dignissim ligula, eget sodales orci. Etiam vehicula est ligula, laoreet porttitor diam congue eget. Cras vestibulum id nisl eu luctus. In malesuada tortor magna, vel tincidunt augue fringilla eget. Fusce ac lectus nec tellus malesuada pretium.

MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery) Gold Medalist (2009-2015) M.D In General Medicine (2016-2019), CCID (Infectious Diseases)

PG Diploma In Clinical Endocrinology v& Diabetes, Clinical Associate in Non-Invasive Cardiology

Dr.William Lewis Aliquam sit amet dignissim ligula, eget sodales orci. Etiam vehicula est ligula, laoreet porttitor diam congue eget. Cras vestibulum id nisl eu luctus. In malesuada tortor magna, vel tincidunt augue fringilla eget. Fusce ac lectus nec tellus malesuada pretium.

MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery) Gold Medalist (2009-2015) M.D In General Medicine (2016-2019), CCID (Infectious Diseases)

PG Diploma In Clinical Endocrinology v& Diabetes, Clinical Associate in Non-Invasive Cardiology

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