Pregnancy: Nosebleeds and Bleeding Gums

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You may get nosebleeds during pregnancy. That's because there is more blood flow to the tissue inside the nose (mucous membranes) when you are pregnant. There are things you can do to help prevent nosebleeds, such as using a humidifier. Follow the directions for cleaning the machine.

You also have more blood flow to the mucous membranes of the mouth and gums when you are pregnant. This may also cause bleeding, especially when you brush your teeth. Your gums may be more swollen than usual. It may help to use a toothbrush with soft bristles.

Regular visits to your dentist during pregnancy are important to prevent problems. Tell your dentist that you are pregnant. Dental X-rays and local anesthesia are generally safe during pregnancy. So most dental work can be done while you are pregnant. Delaying dental care can make a problem worse.

Preventing nosebleeds

These measures can help prevent nosebleeds during pregnancy.

  • Do not use over-the-counter cold or allergy pills or nasal sprays.

    They can make your nose dry. If you have serious allergy problems, talk to your doctor.

  • Try using a humidifier.

    Use it at night. Follow the directions for cleaning the machine.

  • Don't blow your nose too hard.

    If you have to blow your nose, gently blow one nostril at a time.

  • Put a thin layer of petroleum jelly or a saline- or water-based nasal gel inside your nose.

    Put it on the septum, the wall that separates the nostrils.

  • Talk to your doctor about any medicines you are taking.

    Some medicines may make you more likely to get a nosebleed.

Stopping a nosebleed

Follow these steps to stop a nosebleed.

If you are helping someone else stop a nosebleed, avoid touching the other person's blood. Use gloves, if available, or layers of fabric or a plastic bag to protect yourself.

  1. Gently blow your nose to clear any clots.
  2. Sit up straight and tip your head slightly forward.

    Do not tilt your head back. This may cause blood to run down the back of your throat, and you may swallow it. Swallowed blood can irritate your stomach and cause vomiting. And vomiting may make the bleeding worse or cause it to start again. Spit out any blood that gathers in your mouth and throat rather than swallowing it.

  3. Use your thumb and forefinger to firmly pinch the soft part of your nose shut.

    The nose consists of a hard, bony part and a softer part made of cartilage. Nosebleeds usually occur in the soft part of the nose. Spraying the nose with a decongestant nasal spray like oxymetazoline (Afrin) before applying pressure may help stop a nosebleed. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label. You will have to breathe through your mouth.

  4. Keep pinching for at least 15 minutes.

    Use a clock to time the 15 minutes. It can seem like a long time. Resist the urge to peek after a few minutes to see if your nose has stopped bleeding.

  5. Check to see if your nose is still bleeding after 15 minutes.

    If it is, hold it for 10 to 15 more minutes. Most nosebleeds will stop after 10 to 20 minutes of direct pressure.

  6. Put a thin layer of nasal gel or cream inside your nose.

    Use petroleum jelly or a saline- or water-based nasal gel.

  7. Do not blow your nose or put anything else inside your nose for several hours after the bleeding has stopped.

Related Information


Current as of: July 10, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.