Do you have stuffed sinuses? If you do, you are not alone. Nearly every woman will suffer sinus congestion during pregnancy. Sinus congestion during pregnancy is extremely common. Nearly 1/3 of all pregnancies are affected by sinus congestion without any link to nasal allergies or other infections. Some researchers believe this congestion of the nasal membranes is related to the increase in estrogen and blood flow.
Why Am I So Congested?
Estrogen is one of the hormones of life during pregnancy, which can translate to side effects. The nasal membranes swell when a large amount of estrogen is in the body.
Blood volume is another reason for sinus congestion during pregnancy. There are many tiny blood vessels in the nose, and with blood volume increasing up to 40%, the nose will have more than its share of blood. In addition to the swelling and sinus congestion felt during pregnancy, there could be an increase in nosebleeds, especially in women who have frequent nosebleeds before they are pregnant.
Treating Sinus Congestion
Sinus congestion can be treated during pregnancy, but don't expect a complete recovery until after the baby is born. Treatments to relieve the symptoms include:
- Steaming showers or face mask: Steaming the nose will reduce the swelling. However, after the steaming is complete, the sinus congestion will most likely return.
- Increase humidity: A humidifier or vaporizer can increase the relative humidity in a room, which can decrease the swelling of the nasal passages and help to relieve the pressure. It's important to change the water in the machine every day and follow the bacteria treatment guidelines. Pushing bacteria into the air and breathing in the bacteria is not a good idea for anyone, especially a pregnant woman.
- Environmental factors: Smoke and sudden changes in the temperature can increase the amount of swelling in the nose. Some of these factors can be avoided. It's better to wait for friends who smoke to finish their cigarette and then join them than it is to place yourself and your baby in a position that could cause sinus congestion or other fetal complications. Alcohol also increases swelling during pregnancy.