Congestion and Nosebleeds During Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

During pregnancy, congestion and nosebleeds are much more common. About 20 percent of all pregnant individuals experience pregnancy-induced Rhinitis. Rhinitis is inflammation or swelling in the mucous membranes in the nose. It can cause things like congestion and nosebleeds, as well as postnasal drip and a runny nose. Although it is common, it is one of the least talked about pregnancy side effects. I remember thinking that I was consistently sick during my pregnancy with my third because I did not know Rhinitis was a thing, let alone that a lot of pregnant individuals experience it.

How to Deal with Congestion

There are a few things that might help with pregnancy-induced Rhinitis, but sometimes nothing will work. The good news is that even in the case that nothing takes away the annoyance of pregnancy-induced Rhinitis, it usually goes away pretty quickly once the baby is born.

Get Moving

One of the best ways to help reduce the symptoms of Rhinitis is to move your body and get a workout. Like many other things in pregnancy, movement can significantly impact this symptom. Movement also helps with better sleep, and a lot of individuals who suffer from Rhinitis struggle with sleep as that is when the symptoms can feel the worst.

Nasal Irrigation

Another thing that you can try is nasal irrigation. You can do this with a netti pot and saline sprays. For most individuals, this is a safe and simple thing that can reduce symptoms of Rhinitis. Like any intervention, clear this with your care provider before you begin. The netti pot takes a minute to figure out, but it can be an incredible option for any nasal congestion occurring. Saline sprays are a bit simpler and can be just as impactful.

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Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is another thing you can add to your day-to-day to avoid Rhinitis symptoms. The more fluid we intake into our bodies, the thinner the mucus that we create gets. Most of the annoyance that comes with Rhinitis is due to the mucus being thick and building up. Hydration can be a game changer when trying to cope with Rhinitis in pregnancy.

Sleep Elevated

Sleeping elevated can also be helpful. We know that sleep during pregnancy is a tricky thing as is, let alone when you are dealing with a consistent postnasal drip or congestion. Sometimes, propping yourself up and sleeping more elevated can allow that mucus to drain efficiently and get you the sleep you need. Sleep is a crucial part of pregnancy; lack of sleep can lead to many other unwanted symptoms. If nothing else, doing things to help promote better sleep will be a very impactful step in a healthier pregnancy.

Use a Humidifier

Lastly, getting a humidifier in your room or taking a very humid shower are two helpful ways of thinning and moving the excess mucus. You might want a humidifier when your little one arrives, so grabbing one for yourself during pregnancy is a valuable purchase. I enjoy starting my day and ending it with a friendly, humid shower to clear everything out when I am experiencing congestion or other rhinitis symptoms. 

How to Deal with Nosebleeds

Nosebleeds are another somewhat common symptom of pregnancy, and they occur because the blood vessels in the nose are expanding due to the pressure of moving all of the new blood through your nose. Along with the tips above, a few other things you can do to prevent these nose bleeds are to sneeze with your mouth open rather than shut. This takes the pressure off your nose, and blowing your nose gently and avoiding picking your nose can also be helpful but challenging if you have many Rhinitis symptoms.

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If you get a bloody nose, keep your head upright. We have been taught to tilt our heads back, which causes us to swallow the blood and increases the pressure in our nasal blood vessels. Apply a light squeeze to the part of your nose just below the bridge of your nose for about ten minutes. Place an ice pack on your nose; this can help constrict the blood vessels.

When to Contact Your Doctor

The bleeding should stop in the first half hour; if not, contact your care provider. Other reasons to call a care provider include frequent bloody noses, feeling lightheaded if the bleeding does not stop or gets worse, if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, and if you are having trouble breathing or chest pain.

Once you have had a nosebleed, take it as your sign to slow down. Your body is sending a message, and it is up to you to answer it by listening. Try to rest and take it easy the rest of the day, sit up straight or lay propped up, and avoid blowing your nose if possible so that the blood vessels can heal and you can prevent another nosebleed.

Remember that although Rhinitis and nosebleeds are common in pregnant women, you know your body best. If something feels off, it likely is off. There is no wrong or dumb time to contact your care provider. If nothing else, they might offer some other tried and true tips for lessening these pregnancy side effects. 


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