Your nose is so stuffed, you can’t breathe. Your throat is so sore, you can’t even drink your morning cup of tea. And you have such intense sinus pressure, you can’t focus on a thing. Say hello to a sinus infection, a.k.a. sinusitis.
Sinusitis is bad enough as is, but when you’re pregnant, it can be even more miserable.
What causes a sinus infection during pregnancy? What symptoms do women normally experience, and is there any safe way to get relief? We answer all of these questions and offer five natural remedies to help you kick that sinus infection to the curb.
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What Causes a Sinus Infection When You’re Pregnant?
Why is sinusitis so common during pregnancy? You probably already know the answer: hormones. Doctors believe that progesterone, a vital pregnancy hormone, is responsible for those troubling sinus infections women get during their pregnancy. Progesterone causes the linings of your sinuses to swell – along with every other part of your body.
Yes, progesterone is the culprit responsible for your sinus headache during pregnancy.
In case you were wondering, your sinuses are small air pockets that surround your eyes, forehead and cheeks. The linings of these pockets create mucus, which naturally drains out of small channels. When these linings swell (thanks to progesterone), the mucus can’t drain and the channels become blocked. These blockages can cause an infection, also known as sinusitis.
Now, it is possible that your sinus infection is also caused by other factors aside from hormones. Pregnancy rhinitis can cause a stuffy nose, which can lead to sinusitis. You may also be coming down with a cold. If you also have a headache and runny nose, you may have the flu and should see your doctor right away, especially if you have a fever.
Signs and Symptoms of Sinusitis
Common symptoms associated with sinusitis include:
- Green or yellow discharge from your nose
- Pressure around your face
- Difficulty breathing through your nose
- A bad cough (It might be bronchitis?)
- Loss of taste and smell
The most glaring symptom that women notice is that “stuffed up” feeling you get once the infection sets in. Aches and fatigue are easy to overlook because you’re probably feeling exhausted and achy as is.
Does Sinusitis Affect the Baby?
The good news is that a sinus infection won’t affect your baby. But if you’re feeling under the weather, it’s important to see your doctor and make sure that you’re still getting enough nutrients, vitamins and rest to support your baby’s development.
5 Natural Sinus Infection Remedies
When searching for relief from sinusitis, many women wonder whether it’s safe to take sinus medication during pregnancy. The answer is yes and no.
Your obstetrician can prescribe a treatment that is safe for both you and your baby. But generally, you want to avoid taking Tylenol Sinus during pregnancy and other similar over-the-counter medications, like ibuprofen and aspirin. Many of these medications contain a decongestant known as phenylephrine, which is not safe for use during pregnancy.
If you’d rather take a natural approach, here are five remedies that are pregnancy-safe.
1. Nasal Irrigation
Nasal irrigation is an excellent way to clear a sinus infection and dislodge blocked mucus. But you need to ensure that you use a saline solution, or salt diluted in boiling water.
Neti pots can be used for this treatment, but you can also use a small container – preferably one with a spout. Make sure that the container is sterilized and easy to pour into your nasal passages.
To perform nasal irrigation, snort water up one nostril, and allow the water to run out in the other. It may run into your mouth, in which case you should spit it out. Finish up by blowing your nose.
If you use a Neti pot, follow the instructions on the packet.
2. Steam Inhalation
One trick that’s really effective at breaking up congestion is steam inhalation. Position your face over a bowl of boiled water, and place a towel over your head to create a tent. Inhale the steam for 5-10 minutes, taking care not to get too close to the pot or bowl.
The steam will open up your airways, and make it easier to breathe and move the mucus out of your body.
3. Saline Spray
Saline sprays are also great for breaking up mucus and helping clear a sinus infection. Choose a spray that’s 100% natural and safe for pregnant women to use.
4. Hot Bath
Much like steam inhalation, a hot bath will help open up your airways. It will relax you, too, which is always beneficial during pregnancy.
Recommend: Is it safe to take a bath while pregnant?
5. Rest and Sleep
If you’re dealing with a sinus infection, give your body the rest and sleep it needs to heal. Remember, your body is hard at work growing another human being. You need all the rest and relaxation you can get.