Such an unpleasant condition as rhinitis is quite common in pregnant women and is accompanied by a cough, nasal congestion, and sneezing. Most expectant mothers blame various infectious diseases, allergies or are looking for other reasons. In fact, all these signs are so common that for a long time there exists such a name as pregnancy rhinitis or vasomotor rhinitis. It is associated with a violation of the state of blood vessels under the mucosa of the lower nasal passage. This problem is also known as a “hormonal” rhinitis.
It’s not a secret that during pregnancy the woman’s organism undergoes a huge hormonal reorganization (blood flow increases, the level of female sex hormones increases), which provokes swelling of the nasal mucosa. As a result, breathing becomes difficult and the woman often sneezes. Most often, pregnancy rhinitis begins in the second or third trimester. Almost every second future mother suffers from it. So, what one need to know about pregnancy rhinitis?
What Is Rhinitis of Pregnancy?
Runny nose, which most people are used to not paying attention to, is called rhinitis in medicine.
Rhinitis is an inflammation of the epithelial tissues of the nasal passages. As a rule, it is the main symptom of ARVI or allergy. Pregnancy rhinitis is a fairly common phenomenon. According to the reviews almost every second future mother experiences it. The main thing is to understand the causes of the rhinitis.
There are the following types of rhinitis in pregnant women:
- Pregnancy (hormonal/ vasomotor) rhinitis – it is caused by a change in the hormonal background in a pregnant woman;
- Allergic rhinitis – is the first manifestation of an allergic reaction.
- Viral rhinitis – also known as infectious, manifests itself as a symptom of the initial stage of acute respiratory viral infection.
Pregnancy rhinitis is a rather common problem of future mothers. Doctors call it vasomotor rhinitis, that is, associated with the state of the vessels. The fact is that during pregnancy, immunity and hormonal background change greatly. This affects the permeability of blood vessels. In addition, rhinitis can be caused by gestosis – the composition of the blood changes and the mucosal edema develops.
Symptoms of rhinitis are the following: suddenly appeared nasal congestion with a general normal state of health, liquid clear discharge from the nose, itching, sneezing, and watery eyes. This problem does not usually require treatment. One can only remove its unpleasant symptoms.
Pregnancy rhinitis mostly passes by itself within 7-10 days after delivery.
How Not to Confuse Pregnancy Rhinitis with a Cold?
It is important to distinguish between the physiological rhinitis of pregnant women and the common cold. If, in addition to the constant stuffiness of the nose and clear secretions do not appear such symptoms as temperature, chills, and sore throat, then it’s rhinitis. If you feel weakness, chills, fever and other signs of a cold, then you need to make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible so that he can make the correct diagnosis and prescribe a treatment.
Pregnancy Rhinitis: What to Do?
The main symptom of any rhinitis is nasal congestion and shortness of breath. If a woman breathes through the mouth, the nasal cavity cannot perform its basic function – to warm the air and protect the body from the penetration of microbes and viruses.
Therefore, it is better to treat rhinitis in pregnant women. The important thing is to do it right. Different types of rhinitis are treated differently. And if so, then you must always consult a doctor to clarify the diagnosis and the purpose of safe treatment.
Vasomotor Rhinitis in Pregnancy
Vasomotor rhinitis (or pregnancy rhinitis) is a condition of nasal congestion, the causes of which are not associated with infection or allergy. This form of rhinitis can arise from sharp odors, dust and smoke, alcohol, stress, certain medications, cold, spicy foods and, finally, pregnancy.
The cause of rhinitis during pregnancy is a significant increase of estrogen produced by the placenta in the blood of a woman. Therefore, pregnancy rhinitis is usually characteristic of the 2nd and the 3rd trimesters. However, the disease can begin from the first days of pregnancy and stay until childbirth.
A high level of hormones causes swelling of the mucous membrane and turbinal bone and increases the secretion of mucus.
Symptoms of Pregnancy Rhinitis
- nasal congestion, shortness of breath which is getting worse in a lying position and with physical exertion;
- profuse discharge of clear mucus from the nose (rhinorrhea);
- coughing, sneezing;
- itching in the nasal cavity;
Keep in mind that pregnancy rhinitis is never accompanied by fever, pain or a sore throat. If you observe these symptoms, then, most likely, you have another disease and you need to urgently consult a doctor.
How Does it Affect Health?
Pregnancy rhinitis does not have a serious effect on the health of the future mother, nor on the course of pregnancy, nor on the fetus. Sometimes it happens that because of a prolonged runny nose and severe swelling, sinuses become inflamed. As a result, the mucous membrane of the nose becomes more permeable for infections. In this case, you should always consult a doctor-otolaryngologist.
Pregnancy Rhinitis: Treatment
Vasomotor rhinitis in pregnancy, strictly speaking, does not require any treatment. As a rule, it passes itself in a couple of weeks after childbirth.
But here it is necessary to cope with its symptoms. In fact, a runny nose complicates a woman’s condition: it is difficult for her to breathe, she does not sleep well, loses her appetite, quickly becomes tired. In addition, the lack of oxygen may cause fetal hypoxia – because the baby gets it only from the blood of the mother. What’s more, breathing with the mouth opens the way for infections. Therefore, the main aim of pregnancy rhinitis treatment is to facilitate breathing.
For a start, be sure to consult your doctor. Vasomotor rhinitis is very similar to allergic one, but the treatment is different. The doctor should also exclude polyps, adenoids or an infectious cause of the rhinitis.
Since pregnancy rhinitis is a physiological feature of pregnancy in some women, it is spontaneously eliminated due to the normalization of the hormonal background after childbirth (approximately a week after delivery).
It is very important to differentiate pregnancy rhinitis from infectious vasomotor or allergic manifestations, therefore only a doctor can adequately assess the severity of the problem and suggest adequate methods for its resolution.
In most cases, it is better to try facilitate the situation by non-drug measures, for example, by:
- Raising the head end of the bed during sleep (or high pillow);
- Washing the nose with saline solutions;
- Ensuring a sufficient level of humidity in the room;
- Frequent walks in the fresh air.
In exceptional cases, the doctor can prescribe medications:
- Vasoconstrictive agents, for a short period of time short-term and in a child’s dosage (for example, based on oxymetazoline);
- Nasal corticosteroid sprays.
The use of traditional medicine methods in the common cold in pregnant women requires a doctor’s prior consultation because of the possible risk of adverse effects on the fetus and possible allergic reactions.
Similar techniques include:
- Aromatherapy (with the help of lime, sage, fir, pine, eucalyptus oils, etc.);
- Inhalation with mineral slightly alkaline water or soda solution;
- Point massage of the forehead, under the eyes, the wings of the nose.
Prevention of Pregnancy Rhinitis
There are no specific measures to prevent rhinitis of pregnant women. But the following tips may help reducing the risk of developing the condition:
- adherence to the rules of a healthy lifestyle;
- prevention of allergies and ARVI;
- exclusion of psychological and physical overload.