During pregnancy, it is usual to feel more congested. This disorder is also known as pregnant rhinitis or non-allergic rhinitis. The rhinitis of pregnancy is characterized by congestion or a blocked nose that starts during pregnancy, is not caused by disease or allergy, and lasts at least six weeks. If you had underlying problems like asthma or allergies before becoming pregnant, you may notice that they worsen during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester.
Causes of Nasal Congestion
Previously, if you were already prone to feeling stuffy and congested before pregnancy, you're likely to experience it much more so now. In addition, your allergies may be acting up, exacerbating your nasal problems.
Congestion and nosebleeds are common during pregnancy due to increased vascularity or blood flow and swelling of the mucus membranes, also known as pregnancy rhinitis, which can be attributed to higher-than-normal amounts of the pregnancy hormones estrogen and progesterone flowing through your veins.
This increased blood flow and swelling weaken the nasal membranes, causing congestion. Furthermore, repeated sneezing and blowing might dry up your nose, leading it to bleed readily. You may also develop postnasal drip, which can cause nighttime coughing or choking.
Pregnancy rhinitis symptoms vary from person to person, but the major symptoms include increased mucus in your nasal passages, pressure, and a sense of being "stuffed up."
It's crucial to note that pregnant rhinitis is characterized not only by increased mucus, but also by increased blood flow to the nasal passages, which causes congestion and pressure.
The following are the most prevalent pregnant rhinitis symptoms:
- Postnasal dripping
- Mucus production has increased.
- Nasal congestion has increased.
- Throat discomfort
- Congestion impairs one's sense of smell.
- Sleep disturbances are caused by congestion or postnasal drip.
Pregnancy rhinitis is an inconvenience for many pregnant women, but it can also be concerned.
However, if your symptoms are significantly interfering with your life, you should consult a doctor about available therapies. Some of these therapies may consist of:
- Maintaining a healthy level of hydration
- Avoiding nasal irritants such as cigarette smoke and excessive smog
- Regular physical activity (to decrease congestion symptoms and increase your quality of sleep)
- Elevating your head while sleeping or reclining—sometimes simply a couple of additional pillows can be enough.
- When using nasal strips, saline spray/drops, or other nasal irrigators, always consult with a healthcare physician before using them.
Pregnancy Rhinitis: How Long Does It Last?
Pregnancy rhinitis may appear and disappear throughout pregnancy, although it usually lasts just a few days or weeks at a time. However, some pregnant women feel it consistently throughout their pregnancy. Symptoms of pregnancy rhinitis should go away soon after giving birth, generally within a week.
When you experience an extremely stuffy nose during pregnancy, you are not alone! It's a fairly common and, at times, highly inconvenient ailment. You should be confident that, in most situations, there is nothing significant and will pass on its own, as is the case with most annoying pregnancy symptoms.
However, if your symptoms are severe, appear to be abrupt, and are accompanied by any other concerning signs, you should consult with a healthcare expert. Whenever your symptoms are interfering with your sleep or interfering with your daily life, speak with a healthcare professional about safe and effective treatment options so you can start feeling better.