It’s scary and overwhelming when your body goes through unexpected changes during pregnancy. Don’t be alarmed if you experience nosebleeds and congestion – these are common symptoms caused by various factors. Learn more about the causes of nosebleeds and congestion during pregnancy to ease your worries.
There are a lot of strange signs of pregnancy. Two of these are stuffy noses and bleeding noses. So, don’t worry if you blow your nose and feel a little stuffy or see some blood on a tissue. Pregnant people often get nosebleeds and congestion, which can be annoying. Find out what causes nosebleeds and congestion during pregnancy, how to treat them, and how to avoid them.
Why Do Nosebleeds Happen During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, your body, including your nose, undergoes many changes. During pregnancy, your body makes much more blood than before. Epistaxis is the medical term for nosebleeds that happen when the tiny blood vessels in your nose swell up, dry out, and break. You may also notice that your nose is stuffier than usual. This is often caused by more blood getting to the mucus membranes.
During pregnancy, nosebleeds happen quite often. A 2019 study found that about 6% of people who aren’t pregnant get nosebleeds, but over 20% of those who are pregnant do. This means that you’re more than three times as likely to get a nosebleed when you’re expecting.
Why Do Pregnant Women Get Nasal Congestion?
Even more often than nosebleeds, pregnant women get stuffy noses. According to research, 65% of pregnant women say they had a stuffy nose at some point during their pregnancy. Things like allergies or infections can cause nasal congestion during pregnancy, but it can also be caused by the changes that happen during pregnancy.
About 30% of pregnant women get something called pregnancy-related rhinitis, which is a stuffy nose at the end of their pregnancy that doesn’t seem to be caused by an infection or an allergy. In these situations, the congestion could be caused by pregnancy-related fluid retention, inflammation, changes in hormones, or more blood flow.
How to Stop Nose Bleeds During Pregnancy
You can’t do much to stop nosebleeds when you’re pregnant, but dry air can make you more likely to get them. Use a humidifier in your bedroom during the winter to keep dry air from making things worse (indoor heating can dry out your nasal passages). Before going to bed, putting a little bit of petroleum jelly around your nose may also help. And be extra careful when you blow your nose. Now is the time to buy those really soft tissues.
Most of the time, you should handle nosebleeds during pregnancy the same way you do when you’re not pregnant.
When you have a nosebleed, press on your nostrils while you are sitting or standing (lying down or tilting your head back will make it worse). Try this first-aid trick if the bleeding is very heavy: Place a clean tampon just inside the opening of your nose. (You don’t need tampons for anything else anymore!) Even though it looks silly, a tampon is much better at soaking up liquid than a wadded-up tissue.
Most nosebleeds caused by pregnancy stop quickly. But if you are bleeding a lot and often, you should call your doctor.
How to Treat and Keep Congestion from Happening During Pregnancy
If you usually get a stuffy nose, there’s not much you can do to stop it while you’re pregnant. But avoiding sick people and big groups of people and washing hands often can make you less likely to get a respiratory infection that will worsen the problem. If your stuffy nose is caused by the flu, a cold, or another infection, getting enough rest can help you get better faster. If you have allergies, try to avoid things that worsen your symptoms, like pollen or pets.
Although you might not be able to completely get rid of your stuffy nose when you’re pregnant, you can do things to help ease your symptoms and feel better. If you have congestion, drink more water and try spraying saline nasal spray into your nose to clear things up. (Make sure it’s a simple saline spray because other types of nose sprays aren’t safe for pregnant women.) Taking a shower with a lot of steam can help fluid drain.
Don’t take over-the-counter decongestants because they might be unsafe for you to take while pregnant. Also, tell your doctor if you’re having trouble breathing, especially if it doesn’t go away.