Difficulty in breathing

Osteopathy & Difficulty in breathing/ physiological chest tightness of the 3rd stage of pregnancy, London


  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling that you don’t take enough air
  • Difficulty taking a deep breath
  • Feeling a thightness in the chest


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Why do I have Difficulty in breathing?

The growth of your baby is a major factor on changes in your body and the chest cavity.
In fact, step-by-step the baby takes up more space. The uterus, extensible organ will pass from an intra pelvic place to an upward position under the chest.
However, this upward pressure of the uterus will at the same time squeeze the digestive system upward and to the right and left sides.
The uterus will stop this ascension thanks to the diaphragm and the costal system.

Reminder of the diaphragm function:

The diaphragm is a muscle whose links are on the chest. Its principal movements are up and down: it moves downward during the inspiration and upward during the expiration. Thus, a circulating pumping effect will apply on the digestive system.

Pregnancy: consequence on the diaphragm:

The upward pressure of the uterus squeezes the digestive system against the diaphragm. Therefore, digestive symptoms can appear such as difficulty digesting, heartburn… but also and above all a difficulty in breathing since the diaphragm can’t move downward as before as its course has become too short. You will feel bothered when breathing.

Those symptoms will appear mainly between the 2nd and the 3 rd trimester. But, this could appear earlier depending on the weight gain.

Influence of the stress?

Anxious and/or stressed people can reinforce this phenomenon of chest tightness.

Can osteopathy help me for chest tightness?

The answer is Yes. In fact, with soft techniques, your osteopath will work on the diaphragm, the rib/costal system by giving them a better mobility. At the same time, he or she will release the tensions around the uterus in order for it to be free of tension.

By rebalancing the spine, the chest and diaphragm, the respiratory functions will improve and your pain will be lessened.

Notes: Some chest tightness if they are associated with other symptoms, such as high blood pressure needs medical advice.

article by James Turgis Chartered Physiotherapist

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