Stuffy Nose During Pregnancy – Causes and Home Remedies

5 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

woman having stuffy nose during pregnancy

A stuffy nose is an inflammation in the lining of the nose that causes nasal congestion during pregnancy. Around 30 percent of women suffer from a stuffy nose during pregnancy which is also known as Pregnancy Rhinitis. This generally tends to occur in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

A stuffy nose during pregnancy is sometimes confused with the cold, flu, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, or COVID-19. But, these conditions can lead to other symptoms like fever or itchy eyes and nose. You can use a humidifier and exercise regularly if you are suffering from this during pregnancy.

In This Article

What is Pregnancy Rhinitis?

Pregnancy Rhinitis usually occurs during the gestation period. It involves a stuffy nose, post-nasal drip, and itchy eyes during pregnancy. This is not a life-threatening disease but one out of five pregnant women suffers from this. There are various factors responsible for rhinitis during pregnancy and it also has a non-allergen variant.

One among those factors is hormones which increase the chance of rhinitis during pregnancy. Another factor may be smoking. It is better to quit smoking before you conceive. It is never too late to quit smoking before you assume parenthood.

Is a Stuffy Nose Common During Pregnancy?

woman having pregnancy rhinitis

A stuffy nose during pregnancy is one of the common symptoms in pregnant women. As already mentioned above, 1 out of 5 women gets this during their pregnancy. People who don’t normally struggle with allergies or nasal congestion may also get the disease. It only happens in pregnant people. Pregnant women in the second trimester may experience this as it is the time when it typically happens and can last through delivery.

Causes of Stuffy Nose During Pregnancy

The exact reason for pregnancy rhinitis is still unknown. 

Here are a few triggers

  • An increase in blood volume may cause the tiny vessel in the nose to swell and lead to nasal congestion.
  • Fluctuations in hormones like estrogen, progesterone, placental growth hormone, and human growth hormone may cause inflammation and nasal mucous membranes.
  • This may lead to increase blood flow to nasal passages. Consequently, the nasal veins may get enlarged and lead to nasal congestion.
  • Other risk factors are smoking or developing acute rhinitis before pregnancy.

Pregnancy rhinitis is diagnosed by doctors only after they are confirmed that the nasal congestion is not due to other factors such as allergies, viral or bacterial infection, or any other respiratory issues.

[Read : 10 Most Common Infections During Pregnancy]

Treatment Options For a Stuffy Nose During Pregnancy

pregnant woman holding nasal drops

While you can’t take any OTC medications during pregnancy, you can try avoiding some triggers that can cause pregnancy rhinitis or stuffy nose.

  • If you get pregnancy rhinitis through some allergy, then it is better to avoid or reduce the exposure.
  • Do nasal irrigation, which can help clean the allergens and the stubborn mucus from your nose.
  • You can use saline water and spray it on your nose. It will provide relief and heal nasal blockage.
  • For itchy-watery eyes during pregnancy, you can use eye drops that doctors approve. It is one of the symptoms of a stuffy nose.

Pregnancy is a sensitive time, and keeping that in mind you should always consult your doctor before administering any kind of medication to yourself.

Home Remedies For a Stuffy Nose During Pregnancy

woman taking steam inhalation

A stuffy nose can be cured with some home remedies which are discussed below

1. Drink Plenty of Fluids

It will help to clear a stuffy nose and fight infection. Stay hydrated by taking more fluids like water, broth, and citrus juice.

2. Use Saline Nasal Drops

Make a nasal drop on your own by mixing 1 cup of warm water with 1/8 tsp salt and a tiny pinch of baking soda.

3. Take Steam Inhalation

You can take a pan, boil some water in that, take that off from the stove, cover your head with a towel, and take in the steam. This will help in opening nasal passages and loosening mucus in your chest.

4. Elevate Your Head While Sleeping

You can elevate your head with a couple of pillows while lying down. It may make breathing easier.

5. Use Nasal Strips

You can also use nasal strips. It helps in opening nasal passages.

6. Get Good Sleep

You should sleep plenty as it will help your immune system to fight against the infection.

7. Avoid Exposure to Irritants

Avoid going to places that can trigger nasal irritation. These irritants may trigger your symptoms.

Can You Take Medication For a Stuffy Nose During Pregnancy?

Many women choose to go for some over-the-counter (OTC) medication or non-prescribed medicines like decongestant spray. But it only gives temporary relief. It may with time worsen the condition and lead to complete nasal blockage. So never go for OTC medication.

Instead of medicines, it is good to use home remedies to clear a stuffy nose. A stuffy nose gets better after you deliver your baby.

[Read : Drugs And OTC Medicines During Pregnancy]

When Should You Consult a Doctor?

You should let your doctor know if you experience any of the following

  • Fever with a stuffy nose
  • Nasal discharge with a foul smell
  • The color of the nasal discharge is other than white or yellow.
  • Facial swelling and blurred vision
  • If the cough persists for more than 10 days or the mucus is yellow-green or gray

If you have any symptoms that bother you, never hesitate to consult your practitioner and take precautions while you are pregnant. A stuffy nose can affect the quality of your sleep during pregnancy.


1. What Week of Pregnancy do You Get a Stuffy Nose?

While pregnancy rhinitis or stuffy nose can occur at any time during your pregnancy, it occurs mostly during the first trimester.

2. Does Pregnancy Rhinitis Affect The Baby?

Allergic rhinitis during pregnancy may not directly affect the fetus. However, it can indirectly affect the fetus if left unchecked. Especially, when signs of insomnia, stress, or fatigue are seen in the mother. It can cause severe infection leading to chronic rhinitis, and pharyngitis. Pregnancy rhinitis for a prolonged period can lead to a decrease in oxygen supply in pregnant women while sleeping.

3. How Can I Sleep With Pregnancy Rhinitis?

Due to pregnancy rhinitis, your sleep may get disturbed due to breathing difficulties. If that is concerning you then you should visit your doctor. They can help you to improve your sleep by clearing the breathing passages.

Read Also: Cold And Flu During Pregnancy

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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