Stuffy Nose During Pregnancy

image001Women often think about things like morning sickness or backaches when they think of common pregnancy-related ailments. Another common symptom is a stuffy nose. During pregnancy, hormones can cause the nasal passages to become inflamed, giving the feeling of having a stuffy nose. Feeling stuffy and congested during pregnancy is common and called rhinitis of pregnancy. As many as 30% of women will experience this condition at some time in their pregnancy. So what to do when you have a stuffy nose during pregnancy? There are a number of different options to help relieve the discomfort.

Causes of Stuffy Nose During Pregnancy

Stuffy nose may be related to allergies or the common cold, but often times a pregnant woman suffers no other symptoms. Extra estrogen produced by the body during pregnancy can cause the nasal passages to become swollen and consequently, make more mucous, causing your nose to be stuffy. Additionally, the increase in blood volume during pregnancy can inflame the tiny blood vessels in your nose.

This symptom can start as soon as you reach the second month of your pregnancy and will normally worsen later in your pregnancy. Don’t worry because it will ease up immediately after you give birth and disappear two weeks after labor.

How to Relieve Stuffy Nose During Pregnancy

There are many ways to relive the symptoms of a stuffy nose. While there may not be many medications that are safe to take during pregnancy, there are various natural remedies that are safe for both you and your baby. Give it a try and you will find one method that works for you:

What You Can Do

Why and How

Steam to unblock your nasal passages

With the bathroom door closed, you can let the shower run hot while you sit and breathe in the steam. You can also place your head over a bowl of hot water. Breathe in and breathe out a few times; it will help you feel soothing and relive your congestion.

Try saline nasal spray or saline nose drops

Saline nose sprays contain salt water. By dripping a bit in your nostrils, you will feel it easier to blow your nose within 5-10 minutes.

Use a humidifier or vaporizer

Use a humidifier to add moisture to the room while you sleep. A stuffy nose can be particularly bothersome at night. Place the vaporizer or humidifier near your head. You should also clean the humidifiers accordingly and changer water daily so that bacteria does not grow.

Elevate your head

Prop yourself up when turning in for the night. Elevating you head can help relieve congestion.


A brisk walk or other light exercise can sometime clear nasal passages. Be careful not to go out on days where there is air pollution, which can worsen the congestion.

Avoid irritants

Avoid any behaviors or conditions that may make your stuffy nose worse. Cigarette smoke, strong-smelling perfumes, or fragrant household cleaners can make your stuffy nose worse.

Blow your nose correctly

To blow your nose more effectively, hold one nostril closed while gently blowing your nose. This will force the air out of one nostril at a time.

Make your own nasal douche

This can be achieved by mixing a small amount of purified water and baking soda. Then, rinse a little at a time up into your nose while standing over a sink or tub. Talk to your doctor about any supplements or medications that may be available. Some research has shown that adding 250 mg of vitamin C to your diet can decrease nasal stuffiness.

Can It Be Caused by Something Else?

  • Colds or infections. Generally, a stuffy nose caused by pregnancy hormones will not cause other symptoms. If you are suffering from a sore throat or fever, you need to be evaluated by a physician to rule out a more serious illness such as strep throat or the flu. If you suffer sneezing, a sore throat, coughing, mild aches and pains, fever or swollen glands, you could have a cold or some other infection.
  • Sinus infection. Also fairly common during pregnancy are sinus infections that need to be treated by a medical professional. If your stuffy nose is accompanied by green or dark yellow nasal discharge and/or severe pain in the face or behind the eyes, you may have a sinus infection.
  • Allergies. Allergies can cause a stuffy or runny nose during pregnancy and it is common for women who have never suffered from allergies before to experience them for the first time during pregnancy. If you experience stuffy or runny nose along with watery mucus, sneezing as well as itchy nose, eyes, throat, or ears, then you probably have allergies. Take caution when treating your symptoms at home. Many over the counter allergy medications are not safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Additionally, it is possible that your stuffy nose is caused by multiple factors. Allergies paired with a common cold can make for an uncomfortable and frustrated mommy! If you have any doubts or simply can’t find relief, consult with you physician.

Watch the following video to learn 10 remedies for stuffed nose in pregnancy:

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