Feeling a little stuffed up lately? Or perhaps you are constantly blowing a runny nose? If so, you are not alone. Many women experience symptoms of nasal congestion, coughing, and sneezing during pregnancy.
In fact, it is so common during pregnancy that the condition even has it’s own name – pregnancy rhinitis. Pregnancy rhinitis can really impact upon the quality of your life, making it difficult to sleep, breath comfortably, and just function from day to day.
Here is some information on what else you can expect with pregnancy rhinitis and some tips to help soothe that stuffed up nose!
What is Pregnancy Rhinitis?
Pregnancy rhinitis occurs when your nasal passageways become irritated and inflamed during pregnancy. As a result, you experience nasal congestion, sneezing, and a runny nose.
It is very similar to allergic rhinitis, except that it does not appear to be caused by any environmental allergens or toxins. Pregnancy rhinitis lasts for at least six weeks, and can occur at anytime throughout your pregnancy, although it commonly occurs in the first trimester. Symptoms of pregnancy rhinitis usually resolve on their own within two weeks of labor and delivery.
How Common is Pregnancy Rhinitis?
Pregnancy rhinitis is actually one of the most common discomforts associated with pregnancy. Like morning sickness and backaches, thousands of pregnant women experience pregnancy rhinitis every year. In fact, it is believed that between 20% and 30% of all pregnant women will suffer from pregnancy rhinitis to some degree.
How Does the Nose Work?
You nose and nasal passageways are a very important part of your body. Not only are they necessary for proper breathing, but they also help to protect you from dangerous environmental irritants and biological hazards.
The inside of your nasal passages are lined with special mucus membranes, called mucosa. It is mucosa that secretes nasal mucus, which flows out through the nostrils and down through the back of your throat. This mucus helps to catch any toxins that you breathe in, including pollen, dust mites, bacteria and viruses.
Sometimes however, the mucosa inside of the nasal passageway becomes irritated. As a result, they produce extra amounts of nasal mucus. This mucus can become thick and discolored, leading to nasal congestion. Or it can be extremely thin, leading to a runny nose and post-nasal drip. This is exactly what happens during pregnancy rhinitis.
Symptoms of Pregnancy Rhinitis
Symptoms of pregnancy rhinitis vary from woman to woman, however, they typically include:
- persistent coughing
- nasal itching
Some women will experience headaches associated with the nasal congestion caused by pregnancy rhinitis.