Pregnancy comes with many different types of symptoms, not just the aches and pains. Unfortunately, there are other symptoms associated with pregnancy that are less well known. For example, up to 30 percent of pregnant women say they have an increase in sneezing, nasal congestion and nasal stuffiness. Sneezing during pregnancy is not harmful but can be really annoying and may last for the duration of the pregnancy.
What Causes Sneezing During Pregnancy?
There are many possible reasons why a woman can get sneezing when she is pregnant. It may be from an exacerbation of asthma or allergies. However, there are two common reasons why a woman might suffer from it.
1. Pregnancy Rhinitis
This is what they call the nasal and respiratory symptoms often seen in pregnancy. It is similar to allergic rhinitis but doesn’t mean you are allergic to your fetus. It simply means you have become more sensitive to environmental allergies. When this happens, you can have symptoms of runny nose, sneezing, congestion, and sinus headache.
Many times, the allergies you experience in pregnancy are those you don’t have when you are not pregnant. This is why it is so confusing to have sudden sneezing during pregnancy. Part of why the allergies become so prominent is because there is an increase in blood volume in pregnancy. The capillaries in the nose can swell, resulting in an increase in sniffling and congestion seen in pregnancy-associated rhinitis. The hormones of pregnancy are also part of the problem. They result in an increase in the production of mucus in the membranes that line the nose, contributing to nasal passage swelling.
If you have had allergies prior to becoming pregnant, they may likely worsen during the period of time you are pregnant. If you become exposed to the allergen you are allergic to, the symptoms of nasal congestion and sneezing will be worse than when you were not pregnant.
What to do: If this is the cause of your sneezing, decongestants, antihistamines, and saline drops can help relieve the symptom. Taking a warm bath or placing a humidifier in the room can also help control the condition. Always avoid any caffeinated drinks.
2. Common Cold
When you are pregnant, your immune system is not as strong as it is when you are not pregnant. This happens because you don’t use your immune system to fight off the fetus, which is a foreign agent in your body during the pregnancy. This suppression of the immune system has its downsides, however.As you become a little bit immunosuppressed, you can’t get rid of colds as well as you are used to. You become more vulnerable to the common cold and have more instances of sore throat, cough, runny nose and sneezing.
You can’t take most of the typical medications to handle cold symptoms while you are pregnant, but there are things you will be able to do. Many home remedies will do help you fight off the cold and will help relieve sneezing during pregnancy, such as
- Get some rest. If you rest, you may not lessen the cold duration, but if you feel you need to rest, do so as you will likely feel better.
- Remain active. If you aren’t already suffering from a severe cough or fever and you feel you have some energy, engage in some exercise that has been found to be okay for pregnancy, which may help you feel better.
- Eat healthy foods. Even if your appetite has been lessened because of the cold, you should still eat healthy foods. Eating foods high in vitamins may improve your ability to fight off the cold and will help get rid of some of the cold symptoms.
- Take in more zinc. Zinc is notorious for improving the immune system while you are suffering from the cold virus. Zinc can be found in pork, oysters, beef, turkey, yogurt, eggs, oatmeal, and wheat germ.
- Drink plenty of fluids. When you have a cold, you can become dehydrated, which is not healthy in pregnancy. Try drinking warm drinks, keep a hot beverage next to the bed and drink hot soup so that you can keep ahead of the dehydration.
- Take supplements in safe amounts. Go ahead and take your prenatal vitamin, which should have both zinc and vitamin C in it. If you want to take any other supplements for the cold, you should talk to your doctor before taking them.
- Sleep well. You’ll breathe better if you sleep with your head up on several pillows. You can also use nasal strips, which open the nasal passages and make it easier for you to breathe.
Will Sneezing During Pregnancy Hurt Your Baby?
Having this common symptom will not be harmful to you or the baby.
If you sneeze during pregnancy, however, you might feel a sudden, sharp pain on one or both sides of your pelvic area. This is from sudden stretching of the round ligament of the uterus. It hurts a lot but is completely harmless.
The round ligament is one of several ligaments that support the uterus when you are pregnant. It connects the groin area to the front part of the uterus. In pregnancy, the round ligament is stretched out more than it is when you’re not pregnant, so it can become strained when you sneeze or cough, causing the pain. The round ligaments tightens suddenly during the sneezing process, similar to a rubber band snapping. You’ll feel it as a sudden jabbing pain on either side of the lower abdomen. While it’s painful, you need not be worried about it.
Below is a video about round ligament pain if you are concerned about it: