Are nasal sprays safe during pregnancy?
Topical or nasal spray decongestants, such as Afrin, were once thought to be safe for most pregnant women. However, these sprays work by constricting blood flow to the sinuses, and it is now thought that it can be absorbed systemically.
However, decongestant nasal sprays are all applied to the nasal passages as tiny droplets of liquid, and the liquids in each medication are quite different. The four types of decongestant nasal sprays are antihistamine, topical, corticosteroid and natural (saline). Each has a different effect:
Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed): Constricts the flow of blood to the nasal passages, can be absorbed systemically
Loratadine (Claritin): Antihistamine that is usually considered safe to take during pregnancy
Saline-Only Nasal Sprays: Considered safe during pregnancy
Like all other medications, nasal decongestants should be used only as directed during pregnancy, and use should be limited to three days (more than three days can lead to rebound nasal congestion). Speak with your doctor or midwife before choosing an over-the-counter decongestant nasal spray.
Is it a cold or something more?
Nasal congestion can be a sign of an underlying infection. Before using a decongestant nasal spray during pregnancy, talk with your physician about the symptoms you are experiencing. This is especially important if you have multiple symptoms, including fever, chest congestion, headache, and other body pain.
Can I use nasal sprays when trying to conceive?
While nasal sprays don’t necessarily alter fertility, the drying action of the active ingredient could affect cervical mucus. Drying of the cervical mucus could impair fertility. There is no evidence that decongestant nasal sprays affect male fertility in any way.
Are nasal sprays safe while I'm breastfeeding?
As long as decongestant nasal sprays are used as directed for no more than three consecutive days, there are no reported side effects on the infant while breastfeeding. If there are other symptoms associated with your illness, like fever or body pain, contact your physician as there could be an underlying condition causing the nasal congestion.