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Feeling congestion during pregnancy is a super common experience and the condition is sometimes referred to as pregnancy rhinitis or rhinitis that is non-allergic.
It is the experience of feeling congested or stuffy during pregnancy which is not linked to an allergy or infection and can last for six weeks at the most.
On the other hand, if you have underlying conditions like asthma or certain allergies prior to becoming pregnant, you may experience that these symptoms get worse during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester.
Congestion Nasal - How To Treat Nasal Congestion During Pregnancy?
The nasal symptoms that are caused during pregnancy are typically resolved within 10 days after the birth of your baby
Rhinitis of Pregnancy
Also considered to be true rhinitis of pregnancy or the allergies or upper respiratory infection that can cause the symptoms.
The symptoms of rhinitis during pregnancy include:
- Congestion that often causes difficulty in breathing and also while sleeping
- Runny nose
- Postnasal drip
- Ear infections
- Fluid in the ears
- Sinus infections
As per studies, pregnancy-related nasal congestion can help you decrease the quality of life in those pregnant. So much so that, in severe cases, it can also be dangerous for the fetus, particularly if you are an expecting mom with underlying asthma.
On the flip side, there are researches that suggest that approximately 39% of people who were pregnant experienced nasal congestion with additional rhinitis symptoms.
The cause of pregnancy-induced nasal symptoms is not entirely understood but has been thought to be caused as a result of the changes in the hormones, particularly progesterone and estrogen. This could be supported by the fact that most people often report nasal symptoms that coincide with menstrual cycles. These symptoms have also been reported with the use of birth control pills.
Nasal Congestion During Pregnancy - How to Manage Congestion Nasal?
Nasal congestion could lead to many other serious conditions like sinus infections or even ear infections that must be treated using antibiotics. Keeping it in control can prevent infections like these.
Nasal irrigation with a neti pot is a first-line treatment so you must make sure to use boiled or distilled (and cooled) water instead of water you get straight from the tap.
Here are a few tips that can help you manage congestion during pregnancy:
- Consuming plenty of water
- Make use of a cool-mist humidifier placed on your bed when asleep
- Participate in light exercise (make sure to not engage yourself in certain types of exercises when pregnant, especially without prior approval from the doctor)
- Keep the bed head elevated with the help of an extra pillow or a wedge
- Using saline nasal spray to help keep the secretions thin
- Avoid certain “known” allergy triggers such as polluted air, cigarette smoke, or chemicals
Congestion Nasal - Medications for Severe Cases
In case the measures listed above are not enough to help keep the symptoms under control, you can also choose to talk to a healthcare provider about using the following medications (one or more) that can help manage more severe cases of pregnancy rhinitis.
1) Nasal Corticosteroids (Inhaled)
Inhaled nasal corticosteroids are the most often used medication to control asthma during pregnancy. These can be used to help control the nasal symptoms that are pregnancy-induced.
The first choice here is the Rhinocort or budesonide. According to studies, it is the safest medication to use during pregnancy. Nevertheless, if it is not effective, you may want to switch to other nasal corticosteroids as well.
2) Nasal Decongestants
There aren’t many nasal decongestants that are considered to be safe to take during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Some decongestants like Afrin or oxymetazoline are known to be the most effective at temporarily relieving congestion. However, these must be used sparingly if at all during pregnancy and not advised in the first trimester since animal studies have observed potential risks to the fetus.
On the flip side, in some cases, there are nasal decongestants that do help treat pregnancy rhinitis that can also make the symptoms rather worse, especially when used for a prolonged period. Using these decongestants for anything more than three days could lead to rebound congestion.
Additionally, to avoid unnecessary risk to the baby, you can avoid using a new medication, whether prescribed by the doctor or sold over-the-counter, including herbal supplements, homoeopathic, and other dietary supplements.
We hope the blog above has helped you understand the symptoms, reasons, and medications to take when experiencing nasal congestion.
While the idea of inclining towards medication during pregnancy could be frightening, you must always remember that leaving the symptoms untreated could lead to serious conditions which can pose a threat to your little one’s health.
Adding here, any sign of pregnancy rhinitis must be made sure to be reported to the healthcare provider to manage any escalation in the symptoms and to treat it properly and well in time.