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Stuffy Nose in Pregnancy

The feeling of nasal congestion during pregnancy is associated with the appearance of rhinitis. It occurs in about 30% of women. This symptom is manifested by swelling of the nasal mucosa, difficulty breathing, and the presence of mucous secretions.

Rhinitis does not pose a danger to the fetus. It just adds unnecessary discomfort to the expectant mother during gestation. A woman has to endure this symptom because it has hormonal reasons for its appearance. They are difficult to correct and treat.

When Does Stuffy Nose Start in Pregnancy?

Nasal congestion symptoms begin to appear in the second trimester. They weaken for some time but then again may appear in the third trimester. Prolonged congestion can persist for more than 6 weeks.

The appearance of rhinitis at such times is associated with hormonal causes and an increase in the volume of circulating blood. Sometimes rhinitis is associated with a woman’s allergic sensitivity. Then it will start along with allergy season.


Nasal congestion overtakes a woman at the 14th week of pregnancy. It manifests itself in the 19th week and can occur episodically up to the 38th week.

If the causes of rhinitis lie in problems with hormones (progesterone and estrogen), then they appear in weeks of their highest concentration in the blood. Rhinitis appears during the period of greatest pressure of the uterus on the stomach if this is a consequence of gastroesophageal reflux.

Stuffy Nose pregnancy weeks

When will it end?

The first symptoms of rhinitis may disappear 2-6 weeks after their onset. Its manifestation usually ends at the 20th week of pregnancy. Further, everything will depend on the hormonal background of the woman. The size of her belly and the presence of viral or infectious diseases. Rhinitis at 38 weeks most often occurs as a result of reflux. It can drag on until childbirth and pass after 2 weeks.

How Does it Feel?

Nasal congestion is felt by swelling of the mucosa, sometimes by a feeling of itching, burning, difficulty breathing, and the presence of detachable mucus. The severity of the symptoms will depend on the cause of the rhinitis and the health of the woman. Breathing problems will become much more complicated in the presence of curvature in the nasal septum. The symptom manifests itself in an acute and mild forms.


A woman feels severe congestion, swelling, copious mucus secretion, and itching in this condition. She may constantly sneeze and rub her nose. It will be red, irritated, and painful. Headaches and throbbing in the nose area may appear.


Nasal congestion in a mild form is of a short-term nature. It is expressed only by a slight swelling of the mucosa, which makes it difficult to breathe. The nose remains moist and without much mucus. It does not hurt and almost does not cause discomfort.

Do not confuse hormonal nasal congestion with an allergic reaction!

Prevention methods

Preventive measures for nasal congestion should begin before conception. Then they will be most effective. You need to monitor the health of your nose, visit an otolaryngologist and try to treat the diseases that have appeared in time. We offer some of the most effective means of preventing rhinitis in pregnant women:

Prevent the chronic form of nasal diseases

Rhinitis, sinusitis, and other diseases can complicate the condition of the nose during the gestation period. Try to carry out therapy and treatment before pregnancy. If the disease has already acquired a chronic form, do not let it worsen. You should visit an otolaryngologist regularly if you are prone to nose problems.

Nasal lavage

Prophylactic rinsing of the sinuses with saline will help reduce the risk of swelling, viral influence, and the spread of a bacterial infection. Rhinitis will appear less often or completely disappear. It is better to use a special solution from a pharmacy. There is the correct concentration of salt and a convenient dispenser.

Allergy testing

Even light sneezing near flowers, animals, or dust can indicate an allergy. It is better to find out your predisposition to such reactions to allergens. You will know exactly what to avoid and will not allow the accumulation of an irritating factor.

Why Stuffy Nose Occurs in Pregnancy?

An increase in progesterone and beta-estradiol stands out among the main causes of nasal congestion during pregnancy. They enhance the expression of histamine receptors in the nasal cavity. There is swelling and increased secretion of mucus. Another main reason is an increase in circulating blood. Its volume becomes large enough and increases the blood filling of the lower turbinates.

A less common cause is gastroesophageal reflux. The acidic contents of the stomach enter the esophagus with it. This can spread to the respiratory tract, including the nasopharynx in severe form. Reflux during pregnancy is a consequence of increased pressure of the uterus on the stomach.

Mucous edema can be a side effect of the body’s stress during pregnancy. A common cause of nasal congestion is allergies. Symptoms will be seasonal or directly dependent on antigens and irritants in this case.


Pregnancy rhinitis can be completely avoided by taking preventive measures. It is necessary to know exactly the causes of the symptom if nasal congestion is already a concern to apply remedies. This cannot be determined without the help of a specialist. Consider the main remedies for nasal congestion:


The use of certain groups of drugs is permissible during pregnancy. These include corticosteroids, antihistamines, and cromoglycates. All risks must be assessed before they can be accepted. Only a doctor can prescribe the drug. He will identify the cause and prescribe treatment. The danger of using medications is hidden in the fact that their effect on pregnancy is poorly understood.


This method of protection is safer for the fetus. It is used for a complex form of nasal congestion or related breathing problems. Photochromotherapy or the method of irrigation with drugs can be used to eliminate the symptoms of congestion. These methods of treatment give a stable positive result after 7-10 procedures.

Remove allergens

This remedy helps with mild allergies. Do wet cleaning every day. Ventilate the room and use special air purification devices. Take your pets to your relatives. Do not use perfumes, air fresheners, or other potentially allergenic products. This will help get rid of many potential allergens during pregnancy.


A good reason to see a doctor is an acute manifestation of the symptom of nasal congestion. Especially if it is accompanied by a high fever, pain in the head, and bridge of the nose. This indicates a complex form of the disease that can be caused by a virus or infection of the nasopharynx. Discharge from the nose of a bright yellow or greenish color should alert the pregnant woman.

You need to see a doctor if nasal congestion is permanent. It should pass after 6 weeks.

What Not to Do

It is better to immediately undergo an examination by an otolaryngologist when nasal congestion appears to exclude the presence of serious illnesses. Do not neglect the symptoms and refuse the examination. Much can be prevented with quick action. Do not panic if an advanced form of rhinitis is found. Everything is treated and safe for your child.

Do not use vasoconstrictor drops

These drugs quickly relieve swelling in the sinuses, but they are contraindicated during pregnancy. Vasoconstrictor drops do not eliminate the underlying cause of rhinitis.


Cold provokes the development of inflammatory processes. Mucus secretion increases and edema appears. Do not go outside without a warm hat in autumn and winter.


It is impossible to independently diagnose the cause of chronic rhinitis. This can only be done by a doctor after a thorough examination. Do not take any medication without a doctor’s prescription.

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