Q: Is it normal to get nosebleeds during pregnancy? I've had two in the past few weeks, and I'm getting worried.
A: "Nosebleeds are a frequent occurrence among expectant women but are typically not something to worry about," says San Diego OBGYN Suzanne Merrill-Nach, M.D. "We usually chalk them up to simply being an annoyance of pregnancy. " Merrill-Nach says pregnancy hormones are likely to blame. "Hormonal influences cause a woman's blood volume to increase and her blood vessels to dilate and get closer to the surface of the skin," she explains. "When the lining of the nose dries out, cracks and tears develop, which can cause those vessels to bleed." Bleeding can happen almost spontaneously, Merrill-Nach adds: "Sometimes just wiggling your nose can lead to tearing of the tissues." The best way to treat a nosebleed is to simply pinch the nostril closed for a full five minutes. As for your grandmother's advice to tip your head back, don't: "All this does is drain the blood down your throat," Merrill-Nach says. If a nosebleed continues after five minutes of pressure, or if you are having them on most days, she recommends notifying your doctor.