Pregnancy Rhinitis: What You Should Know

No matter how beautiful and meaningful pregnancy can be, there's no denying the physical difficulties that accompany it for most women. It's no wonder that mothers are revered for their strength worldwide! It takes incredible strength just to endure the journey between conception and motherhood. One of the many ailments many pregnant women can suffer from is pregnancy rhinitis.

Pregnancy rhinitis can cloud an otherwise healthy pregnancy with complicated breathing and associated pain. Understanding what pregnancy rhinitis is, as well as its causes and acceptable treatments during pregnancy will help you to safely manage it while you're nurturing the growing baby inside of you.

What is pregnancy rhinitis?

Pregnancy rhinitis is, at its core, an inflammation of mucous membranes in the nose. When the mucous membranes that line the nose are inflamed, congestion and swelling occur. This pregnancy symptom is inconvenient at best and is often accompanied by a change in mucus production - whether thinner or thicker. Pregnancy rhinitis essentially manifests itself as a nasty common cold, along with the associated symptoms - a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, congestion, sinus pressure, itchy and watery eyes, and aggravating headaches.

What are the causes of pregnancy rhinitis?

This pregnancy ailment is caused by an increased amount of hormones, specifically, estrogen and progesterone. Because of this core cause, it's also common for women who undergo hormonal therapy or take birth control pills to experience pregnancy rhinitis, as well. Pregnancy rhinitis can also be caused by other hormonal changes that occur in the body during pregnancy - like the placental growth hormone.

Another contributing factor is the increased amount of blood pumping through a pregnant woman's body. This can swell the small blood vessels inside of the nose, which can contribute to the symptoms of pregnancy rhinitis.

When does pregnancy rhinitis typically occur?

Although pregnancy rhinitis can begin at any point during pregnancy, it seems as though the symptoms most typically arrive during the second trimester. Sometimes the congestion from pregnancy rhinitis doesn't let up until weeks after delivery.

What are some home remedies for pregnancy rhinitis?

Pregnant women have been seeking relief from rhinitis for ages. As most pregnant women are understandably cautious about taking unnecessary medications, many women who suffer from rhinitis during pregnancy turn to home remedies as a first line of defense.

Some of the most common home remedies and over-the-counter treatments for pregnancy rhinitis include:

  • Drinking lots of water to thin mucous secretions

  • Eliminate or reduce caffeine intake

  • Take steamy showers

  • Place a hot wash cloth over the face, focusing at the site of the sinus pain

  • Use a humidifier when sleeping at night

  • Try to keep your head elevated above the rest of your body when sleeping, perhaps through propping up pillows

  • Use an OTC nasal saline spray for temporary relief, but do not use this method of treatment long-term as it has been shown to actually worsen symptoms over time

  • Avoid any irritants, like cigarette smoke

  • Exercise regularly