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Pregnancy

What are common respiratory system changes during pregnancy?

Pregnant women experience nasal stuffiness due to estrogen-induced hypersecretion of mucus. Epistaxis is also common. The safest treatment of these symptoms is a saline nasal spray. The following is a summary of respiratory changes:

- Respiratory rate does not change.

- Tidal volume increases 0.1-0.2 L.

- Expiratory reserve volume (ERV) decreases 15%.

- Residual volume decreases.

- Vital capacity does not change.

- Inspiratory capacity increases 5%.

- Functional reserve capacity decreases 18%.

- Minute volume increases 40%.