Pregnancy can be one of the most exciting experiences in a woman’s life, but with it may come a slew of surprises for which you weren’t quite prepared. “Rhinitis of pregnancy,” as physicians refer to it, or just feeling as if you are producing more mucus than any one single person ever should, is one distinct possibility. According to NYC Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, Anthony F. Jahn, MD, “Pregnant women commonly develop rhinitis (cold-like symptoms). This may begin in the first trimester, but is usually worse in the second trimester. It usually resolves after delivery.”
The symptoms may mimic a cold and can include swelling of the nasal passages and obstruction. They also mimic allergy symptoms with itching and sneezing. Because Mom is breathing for both herself and the baby, it’s important that she maintains an open airway during pregnancy. The cause of rhinitis of pregnancy is hormonal. Mucous membranes may become engorged and swollen. “However, because the mother is intimately connected with the baby, through the placenta, the medical treatment options for nasal obstruction of pregnancy are limited.,” Dr. Jahn notes.
“Sleep with the head of the bed slightly elevated,” suggests Dr. Jahn. “Don’t try to do this by propping your head up on several pillows, since this can cause a pain in your neck, but with a wedge (a couple of hard cover books) under the mattress.”
This tactic will decrease nasal congestion and may also help with reflux, common in later pregnancy, Dr. Jahn advises. Another simple measure is opening the nose mechanically with the use of nasal strips.
“Frequently use a saline spray like Ocean® Saline Nasal Spray, which is non-medicated, to help moisturize and decongest your nose,” he adds. “The spray is not a risk to you or the baby, since you are using a substance (physiologic saline) that already makes up a large part of your body.”
He adds because saline sprays like Ocean’s contain no medication, nothing passes into the circulation. “It stays locally in the nose, and will not harm the baby,” the good doc adds.
Good luck moms-to-be!