Are nosebleeds during pregnancy a reason for concern?

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.