Pregnancy Congestion: How to Get Rid of a Stuffy Nose

Have you been experiencing a stuffy nose since you found out that you were pregnant?

As an expecting mother, you are not alone.

In fact, about 30 percent of women who are pregnant experience a stuffy nose during the first trimester of their pregnancy.

These symptoms will typically subside once you give birth, but you are going to need a way to deal with the stuffiness during your pregnancy without taking medications to clear it up.

Not all medications are safe for your baby, so if you do decide to try a decongestant, take to your doctor first.

Reasons for a Stuffy Nose

While you are pregnant, the hormones in your body are elevated, especially estrogen.

This is part of the reason that you could be experiencing a stuffy nose.

The higher levels in your body are more likely to cause the membrane in your nose to swell. This is the same thing that occurs when you have a cold.

The membrane swells to protect your body against irritants in the air, but it can make it difficult to breathe.

When you are pregnant, you also have an increased volume of blood, which can cause some inflammation in the tiny blood vessels that are on the inside of your nose.

If there does not seem to be a reason for your stuffy nose, then the cause is most likely one of the two listed above.

If you have other symptoms like sneezing, coughing, a sore throat, a fever, or a headache, then it is possible that you have a cold or a sinus infection that is causing you to be congested.

Even if you have never suffered from allergies before, it is possible that you will experience some symptoms of allergen irritation while you are pregnant, which could be where your stuffy nose stems from.

How to Treat Your Stuffy Nose

The most effective way of getting rid of a stuffy nose is to blow it as much as necessary!

When the mucus is thick, it can be hard to blow out, but when it begins to thin, it will most likely become runny.

Having a runny nose does not mean that your nose will be clear of congestion, but when it is runny, you can blow out something.

If you are unable to blow your nose at all, you are going to want to loosen up the mucus in your nose so that it can be blown out.

Let’s take a look at some tips that can help you.

Utilize Steam

Steam is a great way to clear out your head when it is stuffed up; you can simply run hot water in the bathroom sink until it is steamy.

Once it is producing steam, then put a towel over your head and place your face above the steam. If you are having issues reaching the sink because you are pregnant, then you can do the same thing using a large bowl.

You can also make a hot steam bath for yourself. Be careful not to make the bath water too hot, but as long as there is steam in the bathroom, it should be an effective method of getting rid of your stuffy nose.

Use a Humidifier

Having moisture in the air is great for clearing your nasal passage. If you notice that the air in your home is affecting the way that you breathe, then using a humidifier can be really beneficial.

Adding moisture to the air will help minimize the irritation of your nasal membrane, which means that you will not be as congested.

This is great in general, but it will make it much easier to breathe while you are asleep.

Elevation is Key

The worst part of having a stuffy nose is trying to sleep comfortably. If you are finding that your stuffiness is getting worse when you lie down, try to elevate your head so that you can breathe as you rest.

Pillows are the best source of elevation, but if that is still not sufficient, you can try sleeping with a wedge or on a recliner where you will not be laying flat.

Sleep is important when you are pregnant, so you want to avoid losing as much as possible.

Saline Spray or Drops Can Help

Some doctors recommend using saline sprays to reduce your congestion while you are pregnant. Many of the over-the-counter nasal sprays are safe to use while you are pregnant, but make sure to ask your doctor before using them.

The best saline solution to use is one that you make yourself.

Add a spoon of salt and baking soda to a liter of water, and then mix it together. Sniff a little bit of the solution into each nostril a few times a day.

You should notice a difference in how congested you are after the first treatment.

Avoid Irritants

If you are already having issues with congestion, the last thing that you need is to trigger allergens that will make the congestion worse.

Stay away from cigarette smoke, strong smelling chemicals, excessive pollen, or anything else that you may be sensitive to.

If there are irritants in your home that may affect you, an air purifier might be able to help you get rid of the irritants in the air that are exacerbating your stuffy nose.

Stay Hydrated

When you are pregnant with a stuffy nose, it is important for you to stay hydrated so that the baby can continue to grow.

A great drink to have when you are experiencing a stuffy nose is ginger tea.

The anti-inflammatory properties of the ginger are great for relieving congestion. In addition, the steam can help to clear your airway. Add a little honey to the tea if you want a naturally sweet taste.

Vitamin C is also great for congestion, so if you can drink a little orange juice, it may help you feel better. You can also add fruits that are high in Vitamin C to your diet.


Going for a brisk walk can help clear your congestion so that you can breathe more easily.

Sometimes a little fresh air is good for you when you are carrying a child, just make sure that you are not walking in an area that is pollen filled. The last thing that you need is to make your stuffy nose worse.

Final Thoughts

Typically, having a runny nose is nothing to worry about.

If you are experiencing other symptoms that could mean that you have a cold, talk to your doctor, but if it is just a stuffy nose, try these tips for some comfort during your pregnancy.

  • Using a humidifier in your home can help.
  • Steer clear of any irritants in the air that could make your stuffy nose worse.
  • Staying hydrated is good for you and the baby.
  • Steam baths will be your new best friend.
  • If your nose becomes dry, Vaseline can help restore the moisture.
  • Keep soft tissues on hand for blowing your nose.
  • Elevating your head can help.


Kate Trout

Hi there, I'm Kate! I started Maternity Glow to be a place to learn all about practical parenting tips, baby care tricks, and healthy-living hacks for new and expecting moms.

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