This is a disclaimer that this post is not written by a medical professional and that the hints and tips are of my own personal experience. If you are at all concerned about your congestion or cold symptoms please get in touch with your midwife/GP as I cannot be held responsible for any health problems.
Since about week 14 (today marks week 16, woohoo!) of pregnancy I have developed a slight annoyance in my right nostril. The feeling of extra hard and sharp boogers has me blowing my nose constantly and it can lead to very very light nose bleeds. I’ve even been one to unashamedly have a feel around with a finger (please don’t judge me… I’m pregnant) and become disappointed at there appearing to be a lack of anything of substance within the endless nostril. It begs the question, how long is my nostril??
Well my pregnant friends, this is common and should not be something you are embarrassed about- it’s Pregnancy Rhinitis. While it may seem like I am calling you a large, beautiful and endangered animal with a portruding horn in the middle of your face, I am not. Pregnancy Rhinitis is a common side affect of pregnancy which can cause your nasal passages to become congested or runny and it goes hard on whichever option it is to be.
Personally, I have always had a runny nose, especially when its windy outside or I have been running, without being pregnant- so when the plus sign appeared on that test, it didn’t really phase me that the running of my nose could just be my normal nasal patterns and nothing to do with carrying a baby within.
But something changed for me during week 14 when I felt that my left nostril was congested and my right nostril was full to the brim of boogers. Ugh, is there a better word for them? *searches the Thesaurus and finds nothing nicer* Never mind then, boogers it is.
How do I know if its Pregnancy Rhinitis?
- You will feel like you have the beginning stages of a cold, but that it doesn’t turn into anything ever ie your throat isn’t sore, your voice isn’t hoarse and you avoid other cold-like symptoms
- You might feel a slight popping in the top of your nose and then a sudden blockage appearing at random points during the day or night
- Your nose is running slightly more than usual
- You find yourself carrying lots of tissues and running out of clean ones frequently
- Your nose might bleed slightly upon blowing too many times
Why why why is Pregnancy Rhinitis a thing?
I hate to say it, but it is the usual culprit… hormonal changes during pregnancy.
A higher level of Estrogen can lead to a swelling of the nasal passages and sinuses which can lead to an overractive production of boogers and mucus. The tiny explosion sounding pops that can happen in the top of your nose could be due to the small blood vessels swelling up inside your nostrils which then causes you to be congested.
Oh Clueless Mama, how can I stop Pregnancy Rhinitis?
Well, I am glad you asked. It can start super early in the pregnancy and unfortunately it can tend to get worse during the later stages (please don’t shoot the messenger). The good news is that it should reduce the annoyance factor post-birth and then it should be completely gone within about 2 weeks of your bambino gracing this earth with his/her presence.
In the meantime though, you might like to try the few tips I have been trying desperately to help the rather dire situation to make yourself more comfortable in the nasal department…
- Prop yourself more upright when first lying in bed with pillows. Of course, sleeping during pregnancy can be hard enough already but if you perhaps lay another pillow under your head, the more upright you are positioned, the bigger the chances are that gravity will help you out- just be prepared with tissues on standby
- Use soft, aloe-vera or Olbas Oil tissues on your nose to keep the skin around your nostrils lacking in the obvious pink colour and to keep the discomfort of dried out skin at bay. Your little sniffer will be left feeling soft and less abused by the tougher, sandpaper-y tissues
- Take as many outdoor walks as you can without doing yourself in- the fresh air will help your congestion in normal circumstances
- Steam your head every night before bed with a bowl of boiled water, a teaspoon of Vicks Vaporub or Olbas Oil and a towel to place over your head when you are breathing in the hot, moist air
- Sleep with air circulating through the bedroom- open a window, or if its too cold, open a window of another room in your house and leave your door ajar so that you are getting some fresh air into your body while you sleep. I always find congestion to be the biggest pain in the butt at night when you are stationery and lying down getting ready to kip away.
- Keep a tissue with a smudge of either Vicks Vaporub or Olbas Oil within it, fold it up and hold it within your bra, you will get occasional wafts of the menthol and it will help to clear your airways too.
- Rub Vicks Vaporub under your pillows at night
- Keep a jar of Petroleum Jelly or Aloe Vera nearby so that you can top up the tip of your nose with moisture
Things to be aware of:
Its important to know that if your congestion develops into other symptoms of a cold, you are most likely not suffering from Pregnancy Rhinitis and instead, you have been caught with the common cold. If you have a cold but don’t want to take any medication to ease it, please check out this awesome article about how to naturally cure a cold!
Keep an eye on whether or not there is any discomfort in your sinuses under your eyes and at the top of your nose as it can be common for pregnant women to get sinus infections and if you are at all concerned about it, please get in touch with your midwife or GP for advice. Do not take any medication that your Doctors have not suggested to you as you don’t want to harm the bambino baking away, so please please take care of yourself.
Other tips of Pregnancy