Steam Inhalation During Pregnancy – Is it Safe?

6 min read

Written by Ambili Kartha

Ambili Kartha

Steam Inhalation During PregnancySteam inhalation is a common home remedy used to relieve congestion and respiratory symptoms associated with colds, flu, or sinus issues. The practice involves breathing in warm, moist air to help soothe the airways and loosen mucus. Steam inhalation is generally considered safe for most people. Pregnant women who come down with cold or congestion, and can’t take medication can also opt for this remedy. But, steam inhalation during pregnancy may need to be done carefully. 

Each pregnancy is unique, and it’s crucial to gain knowledge about any procedure or remedy that one does while pregnant. Steam inhalation although is an age-old and relatively safe method to get rid of cold symptoms, there are some precautions to keep in mind as regards the temperature, duration, etc. In this article, we will discuss whether steam inhalation during pregnancy is safe or not, and also share its benefits etc. So read on.

In This Article

What is Steam Inhalation?

Steam inhalation is a therapeutic procedure that involves inhaling warm, moist air to help alleviate congestion and respiratory symptoms. It is a common home remedy used to provide relief from cold, flu, sinus infections, and other respiratory issues. The process of steam inhalation is relatively straightforward.

  • First, boil water in a pot. You can also use a steam vaporizer or electric kettle, if available.
  • Now, carefully transfer the boiling water to a large bowl. Some people may add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the water. But during pregnancy it is better to check with your doctor first, as some essential oils are not considered safe during pregnancy.
  • Sit comfortably with your face above the bowl and your head covered with a towel to create a tent-like enclosure. This helps trap the steam and direct it toward your face.
  • Now, just take slow, deep breaths, inhaling the warm, moist air. Exercise caution when near hot water to avoid burns.

The warm steam helps to loosen mucus and phlegm, soothes irritated airways, and relieves nasal congestion. It may also promote better blood circulation in the respiratory tract.

Steam inhalation can be helpful, but it is essential to remember that it is not a substitute for medical treatment. If you have severe respiratory symptoms or any underlying health conditions, it is crucial to consult with a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. 

Additionally, pregnant women or individuals with certain medical conditions should exercise caution and seek medical advice before using steam inhalation or any other home remedies.

Is Steam Inhalation Safe During Pregnancy?

Is Steam Inhalation Safe During Pregnancy_

Steam inhalation is considered safe for most pregnant women when done correctly and cautiously. However, there are a few points to keep in mind while doing steam inhalation during pregnancy-

1. Temperature 

The steam should not be too hot to avoid the risk of burns or scalds. Test the steam’s temperature before using it and make sure it is comfortable and not overly hot.

2. Duration 

Prolonged exposure to steam can lead to dehydration, which is not ideal during pregnancy. Keep the sessions short, typically around 5 to 10 minutes, or even shorter if it causes discomfort, to avoid excessive fluid loss. Prolonged exposure to steam may also cause fainting-like symptoms in some people. It is best to stop if you experience any such symptom.

3. Additives 

Adding essential oils or other substances to the steam may not be safe during pregnancy, as some essential oils can be harmful to the developing fetus. It’s best to use plain water for steam inhalation.

4. Preexisting Conditions

If you have any preexisting respiratory conditions or complications in your pregnancy, it’s essential to consult your doctor before using steam inhalation.

As with any treatment or home remedy, before trying out steam inhalation during pregnancy, it is better to consult with your doctor first. Always prioritize the guidance and recommendations of your doctor to ensure the safety and well-being of both you and your baby throughout the pregnancy.

What Are The Benefits of Steam Inhalation During Pregnancy?

What Are The Benefits of Steam Inhalation During Pregnancy_

Steam inhalation during pregnancy may help to relieve certain respiratory symptoms and discomforts. Here are some potential benefits of steam inhalation during pregnancy-

1. Relieves Nasal Congestion 

Steam inhalation can help to moisten and soothe the nasal passages, making it easier to breathe and reducing congestion. This can be very helpful for pregnant women facing issues like nasal congestion due to allergies or colds.

2. Helps to Loosen Mucus 

Inhaling warm, moist air can help to loosen mucus in the respiratory tract. This may help pregnant women dealing with issues like chest congestion or coughing.

3. Soothes Irritated Airways 

The warm, moist steam can have a soothing effect on irritated airways, providing some relief from respiratory discomfort.

4. Enhances Relaxation

Steam inhalation can be a relaxing and calming experience, which may help pregnant women manage stress and promote a sense of well-being.

5. Supports Hydration 

While excessive steam inhalation may lead to dehydration, short and controlled sessions can help add a small amount of moisture to the respiratory tract and support hydration.

How to Use a Steam Inhaler During Pregnancy?

How to Use a Steam Inhaler During Pregnancy_

Using a steam inhaler during pregnancy can be a great option to relieve nasal congestion and respiratory discomfort. Here are the general steps to safely use a steam inhaler during pregnancy-

  • Choose a safe steam inhaler
  • Boil water
  • Transfer water to the inhaler
  • Keep the inhaler on a table
  • Position yourself so as to bring your nose close to the inhaler
  • Take slow, deep breaths
  • Do the inhalation in short sessions. Remember to not overdo it
  • Hydrate
  • If required, repeat the process again after a gap of some time

To ensure safe and effective use of steam inhalation during pregnancy, it’s essential to-

  • Use steam inhalation in moderation and for short durations. Try to limit each session to around 5 to 10 minutes to prevent dehydration
  • Test the steam’s temperature to prevent burns or scalds
  • Avoid adding essential oils or other substances to the steam
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids after each session
  • Seek medical advice before using steam inhalation, especially if you have any preexisting health conditions or complications during pregnancy
  • Remember to exercise caution and consult with your doctor before using a steam inhaler while pregnant

What Are The Risks of Steam Inhalation During Pregnancy?

What Are The Risks of Steam Inhalation During Pregnancy

While doing steam inhalation can be beneficial during pregnancy, there are also certain risks and precautions to consider. It’s essential to consult with your doctor before using steam inhalation or any other home remedy during pregnancy. Some potential risks of steam inhalation during pregnancy include-

  • Dehydration
  • Burns or scalds
  • Temperature sensitivity
  • Essential oil safety
  • Preexisting conditions
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Infection risk

Steam inhalation is a relatively safe method to get rid of mucus and phlegm. Cold and cough are some common problems that pregnant women face. Steam inhalation can come in very handy for them, especially since they cannot take too many medicines. But, as always they should exercise caution while doing it. And, just as a safety measure, consult the doctor before doing any remedy, be it as simple as taking steam. 


1. Is Steam Good For Cough in Pregnancy?

Yes, if done with proper care and caution, steam inhalation can be very helpful for cough and cold during pregnancy. Steam loosens the mucus, and helps the body to get rid of it easily. This may help to reduce cough.

2. Is Steam Safe During Pregnancy?

Inhaling steam to get rid of cold and congestion symptoms is considerably safe during pregnancy. But, one needs to take certain precautions like not doing steam inhalation for longer period, taking care to avoid burns etc. from the hot water, etc. Also, it is best to consult the doctor first before doing steam inhalation.

Reference links:-,go%20ahead%20and%20add%20them.

Ambili Kartha,B. Sc Zoology (St Xavier’s college for women)

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