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Nasal Congestion During Pregnancy

Nasal congestion is one of the most commonly faced condition during pregnancy. To know all about the causes and treatments for nasal congestion during pregnancy, read on...
Some common discomforts are faced by pregnant women all over the world. Like backache, fatigue, morning sickness etc. nasal congestion is also one of them. Women who hardly get a cold or congested nose, face the problem of nasal congestion during pregnancy every now and then. Before moving to its causes, let us first understand what nasal congestion is. Nasal congestion is a medical condition which can faced by anyone, at anytime. The nasal passages get blocked due to the lining of the membranes as they swell due to inflamed blood vessels. For everyone except infants, a nasal congestion is not a harmful condition. It just causes a lot of irritation.

Causes of Nasal Congestion in Pregnancy

Nasal congestion during pregnancy is so common that it is known as pregnancy rhinitis! As we know that nasal congestion is caused due to inflammation of the nasal passages. But why do these nasal passages inflame? Well, during pregnancy, the amount of the hormone estrogen becomes high which causes the mucous membrane lining the nose to swell. This swelling leads to nasal congestion, irritation and sneezing accompanied by headaches sometimes. Pregnancy rhinitis generally occurs during the first trimester and lasts for about six weeks. Nasal congestion in early pregnancy cannot be considered a cold unless it is accompanied by any other symptoms of cold such as a cough or sore throat. Though pregnancy rhinitis is quite different from allergic rhinitis, certain allergens can sometimes worsen the situation.

Symptoms of Nasal Congestion in Pregnant Women
  • Stuffy nose
  • Cough
  • Constant sneezing
  • Headache
  • Itchiness in the nose
These were the common symptoms of pregnancy rhinitis or nasal congestion. If one experiences sore throat along with these symptoms, it is a cold and not pregnancy rhinitis.

Treating Nasal Congestion

Steam: Steam is one of the safest and most effective nasal congestion relief methods during pregnancy. All you need to do is set the shower to hot in the bathroom and keep the door closed so that steam build ups. Spend just about 10-15 minutes in the steam, taking deep breaths. Steam helps to open the nasal passages which helps clear out the sinuses.

Decongestants: Decongestants are effective treatments for pregnancy rhinitis. Oral decongestants help in reducing the irritation caused due to the congestion. However, it is advisable to ask your gynecologist before starting the oral decongestants treatment, as earlier it was claimed that women who had oral decongestants throughout pregnancy gave birth to children with some birth defect. However, according to a recent study which was performed in Sweden, oral decongestants are completely safe.

Saline Drops: Saline drops are said to be very effective, and a safe way of treating nasal congestion during pregnancy. These solutions are available at any pharmacist, you can even make saline drops at home itself. At first you might find it a bit uncomfortable but the benefits will surely make you forget the discomfort.

Apart from the other remedies, you can also try simply remedies like installing a humidifier in the room, doing easy exercises like taking a walk etc. So now that you know everything about nasal congestion, you can deal with it with ease. Take care!
By Girija Shinde
Published: 4/16/2010
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