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Are you feeling more congested than usual? Pregnancy congestion, also called rhinitis of pregnancy, is a common pregnancy symptom that can last throughout your entire pregnancy. You may start to notice a stuffy nose as early as your second month of pregnancy, and your pregnancy congestion may plague you until you deliver your day.

What Causes Rhinitis of Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, hormonal changes and changes in your blood volume contribute to rhinitis of pregnancy.

First, you have higher levels of estrogen circulating in your body. This hormonal change can lead to swelling in the mucus membranes of your nose, which causes you to produce more mucus. Hence, stuffy noses are common in pregnancy. In addition, the amount of blood in your body increases during pregnancy, and your blood vessels expand when you’re expecting. These changes can also contribute to swollen nasal membranes and pregnancy congestion.

Roughly 20 to 30 percent of all expecting mothers will suffer from pregnancy congestion. Rhinitis of pregnancy can occur without any allergies or a viral infection – like the common cold or flu.

If you are suffering from pregnancy nasal congestion without any other cold symptoms – like a sore throat, extreme fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, mild aches and pains, fever, or coughing – you probably have rhinitis of pregnancy.

Pregnancy congestion can occur without any cause (other than pregnancy changes.) Sometimes, having a stuffy nose when pregnant is due to allergies.

Pregnancy Congestion Remedies

Although this pregnancy symptom is common, it is an annoyance. You can try to get relief from your pregnancy congestion and stuffy nose by drinking plenty of fluids and tucking extra pillows underneath your head when you sleep.

You may also find that steam can relieve congestion. You might want to sit in a warm shower, or just spend time in a steamy bathroom. You can also moisten a washcloth with hot water and hold it up to your face.

Some women find that saline nose drops or a nasal spray gives them relief from your pregnancy congestion. All you need to do is squirt it in your nose, and you should get some relief within five or ten minutes.

Sleeping with a humidifier or vaporizer in the room will moisten the air in your room and give you some relief.

If you’re suffering from pregnancy congestion, you’ll want to avoid any environmental irritants – like cigarette smoke.

* Don’t take any medication or decongestants without contacting your doctor. As a rule of thumb, you will want to avoid taking any medicine in the first trimester, since many of your baby’s major organs are forming at this time. No medicine is 100 percent safe during pregnancy, so you’ll want to weigh the risks versus benefits. *

Decongestants may help, if you find that your nasal congestion is severe or quite bothersome. However, don’t overuse decongestant nasal sprays, because it can cause rebound congestion – which is often worse.

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