Dealing with pregnancy congestion that you just can’t seem to shake? Is it normal? Is there anything you can do to relieve it? In this post, we review pregnancy rhinitis and simple ways you can ease your uncomfortable symptoms. This post may contain affiliate links which means we may receive a small commission at no cost to you if you make a purchase using one of these links.
Whether you are pregnant, have been pregnant, or are trying to conceive, you are well aware of the fact that there can be many symptoms associated with carrying a baby. From nausea and aches and pains to fatigue and funny cravings, it’s amazing what we go through! But there are some conditions that aren’t as common and therefore talked about much less. So, if you experience them, they may catch you by surprise and get you wondering if they are normal, or even related to your pregnancy.
By the time I reached the last few weeks of my second trimester, I found myself mouth breathing and with a stuffy nose every. single. night. At first, I thought was dealing with the common cold and that it would pass after a few days, but it stuck with me for such a long time that I realized I was completely wrong. It just didn’t get better.
Little did I know, congestion during pregnancy is not only a normal pregnancy symptom but one that I’d probably be dealing with until after this little bean made her arrival.
Introducing pregnancy rhinitis, one of the more frustrating long-term ailments I have ever experienced (after months of 24/7 “morning” sickness, of course, because that was ROUGH).
If you have or are dealing with pregnancy rhinitis, you know exactly how annoying and difficult it can be. And, if you haven’t heard of it, better to be in the know should you find yourself feeling congested for what feels like forever during your pregnancy.
What is Pregnancy Rhinitis?
Pregnancy Rhinitis is the technical term for nasal congestion or a stuffy nose while pregnant. This pregnancy symptom is similar to the congestion you experience during a cold but is caused by all of the hormonal changes your body goes through during your pregnancy. And it can last a ridiculously long time.
With these hormonal changes, there is an increase in blood volume and estrogen, which can lead to swelling in your nasal passages, and thus, more mucus. Hello, nasal congestion! As if pregnancy isn’t uncomfortable enough!
Is nasal congestion common in early pregnancy? Yes! About 30% of expecting mama’s deal with congestion at some point, some as early as the first trimester and others later in their pregnancy. And that’s not all! Stuffiness may be accompanied by a runny nose, postnasal drip, and sneezing, which should improve a couple of weeks after delivering your baby.
How To Treat Nasal Congestion During Pregnancy
As always, it’s important to remember that every pregnancy is different. What works for one mama may not work for another. The following suggestions are a combination of what worked wonders for me personally and what didn’t, but may for others.
What can I take for congestion during pregnancy? It is generally recommended that you avoid taking medications during pregnancy, particularly during your first trimester when your baby is in full-on development mode. If any of the following recommendations do not help, seek the advice of your medical provider.
1. Nose Strips
Personally, nose strips provided the most consistent relief from my nighttime nasal congestion. They are pregnancy-safe and one of the best natural treatments for this pesky problem, working by holding open your nasal passages.
I didn’t give them a try until I was about four weeks into having regular discomfort, something I was both bummed and amazed by. Bummed because I hadn’t tried it sooner (all those hours of missed sleep!), and amazed because of how much better I felt when I wore one.
I slapped one of those bad boys across my nose for the first time and the relief was almost immediate, which made breathing and falling asleep so much easier.
2. Sleep Upright
For me, one of the other methods that helped ease my congestion was sleeping sitting up. I wish I was kidding because I know this does not sound even remotely comfortable or possible. I also wish there was a universally accessible and comfortable way to do this.
We have a split king with an adjustable base, so whenever breathing was just too difficult, I would grab my remote and sleep as upright as I could manage. I understand that many do not have this option, so as an alternative, I would recommend stocking up on extra pillows and a pregnancy body pillow so you can get yourself into a position that is most comfortable for you. Prop them up beneath your back and neck in the same way that you do when you have a nasty cold.
Sleeping with your head elevated can help drain and relieve any mucus build-up you may have,
3. Stay Hydrated
Anyone who has come to know me knows that I am a firm believer in staying hydrated as a solution for most issues. No, I am not naive enough to truly believe that it can fix anything, obviously, but I do know that hydration is key in alleviating and/or avoiding many common minor issues. Congestion included.
Drinking water helps to loosen any mucus you’ve got blocking your nose, so if you find it difficult to blow it all out in a tissue, it should help make it easier.
4. Use a Humidifier
If your pregnancy congestion tends to rear its ugly head when you are trying to sleep at night, try introducing a humidifier to your bedroom to add moisture to the air. I like this one because it comes with a small try for essential oils.
In addition to congestion, you may, ironically, experience a stingy dry sensation in your nostrils when you aren’t feeling totally clogged up. Humidifiers are beneficial when you are feeling this way too. Just be sure to follow the cleaning instructions as they can create bacteria over time.
5. Slap on some VapoRub
VapoRub is a very common topical analgesic used to relieve cold symptoms, so it would make sense that it is helpful for similar symptoms caused by pregnancy hormones. Fortunately, it is safe for moms-to-be, so you can rest comfortably knowing that you aren’t harming your baby!
Rub some on your chest, back, or throat when your congestion kicks in to get a bit of relief! I liked to use mine in conjunction with other items on this list.
6. Take a Warm Shower
Warm showers aren’t a long-term fix but they are a simple way to get rid of the snot that you just can’t seem to blow out in a tissue. No, I was not opposed to blowing my nose in the shower when my pregnancy congestion was at its worst (sorry, hubs), because it seemed to be the only way to clear myself out without feeling like I was going to burst a vein in my eye or pop something important in my belly. Steam is soothing and relieving for stuffiness and that feeling of fullness in your head.
I know this stage isn’t easy. Just know that it isn’t permanent. Good luck!
SAVE THIS POST FOR LATER: