Sinus Infection While Pregnant: What to Know When You're Stuffed Up

Sinus Infection While Pregnant: What to Know When You're Stuffed Up

There’s nothing fun about having a sinus infection while pregnant, but fortunately, these infections are usually harmless and should clear easily.

If you feel like you have a head full of cotton wool, and are battling a stuffy nose, a sore throat, a headache, and even a slight fever, you could have a sinus infection.

While getting sick is never fun, having a sinus infection while pregnant can make you feel quite rough—after all, your body’s pretty busy as it is, mama.

Fortunately, sinus infections during pregnancy, although unpleasant, are usually harmless, and should pass within a week or two.

Let’s take a closer look.

In this article 📝

  • What is a sinus infection?
  • Am I more likely to get a sinus infection while pregnant?
  • Can a sinus infection during pregnancy hurt the baby?
  • How can I treat a sinus infection while pregnant?
  • Are there home remedies that can help me?
  • When should I call a doctor with a sinus infection while pregnant?

What is a sinus infection?

Your sinuses are the air-filled pockets around your nose and eyes.

A sinus infection—also known as sinusitis—is when your sinuses become inflamed, swollen, and infected.

Some of the symptoms you might experience include:

  • Pain, swelling, and tenderness around your cheeks, eyes, or forehead
  • A blocked nose (also called rhinitis)
  • Green or yellow mucus
  • A reduced sense of smell
  • Headaches
  • Fever

Sinus infections are usually caused by viruses, such as the common cold, but can also be caused by bacteria and fungi.

There are two types of sinus infections:

  • Acute sinusitis is temporary, and typically comes after you’ve battled a cold or had an allergic reaction to something, like the changing of the seasons. In fact, this happens six times more often in pregnant women.
  • Chronic sinusitis can last quite a bit longer than acute sinusitis—anything from a few weeks to a few months. Chronic sinusitis symptoms can vary in intensity, and tend to come and go.

Am I more likely to get a sinus infection while pregnant?

Yes, maybe.

When you’re pregnant, your hormones increase the circulation of blood to all of the blood vessels and membranes in your body.

Everything’s working harder to make sure you and your little peanut stay healthy.

But this means that even the mucous membranes in your nose start to swell (which is probably the last thing you thought of when your pregnancy test came back positive!).

Having swollen mucus membranes in your nose can make you more congested, and can cause postnasal drip.

A sinus infection on top of that can make the swelling even worse.

Some studies have looked into pregnancy-induced rhinitis, which isn’t usually related to allergies and typically appears in the second or third trimester.

It can last quite a while—six or more weeks—but is usually totally gone two weeks after you’ve given birth.

Not ideal, but at least you know there’s an end in sight!

Can a sinus infection during pregnancy hurt the baby?

The good news is that a sinus infection isn’t likely to cause any harm to your baby.

Very rarely, though, some of the symptoms can lead to complications.

One study, for example, has suggested that nasal congestion could affect the growth of the baby because of a gradual decrease in oxygen.

But this was linked to other contributing factors, including a higher body mass index, a higher gestational age, gestational diabetes, and multiple pregnancies.

Overall, the risk is rare, though, and your growing babe should be fine.

How can I treat a sinus infection while pregnant?

If you’re wondering what you can take for a sinus infection while pregnant, there are quite a few OTC medications you can take to make yourself feel better, mama.

As always, though, we recommend that you speak to your doctor first, as some drugs aren’t suitable for pregnancy, or for all the different stages of pregnancy.

Remember that aspirin, for example, is a pregnancy no-no.

Your doctor might prescribe low doses of aspirin to treat or prevent preeclampsia.

But higher doses have been linked to the possible development of rare kidney problems in babies, and are best avoided.

Only take aspirin if it’s been specifically prescribed by your doctor.

Instead, you can try to relieve some of the nastier symptoms of sinus infections by taking medications like Cefprozil, Amoxicillin-Clavulanate, and Tylenol.

Using certain decongestants, antihistamines, and cough suppressants can also help if you take them in limited amounts.

But speak to your doctor, they’ll be able to advise you.

Are there home remedies that can help me?

Yup, there are a few home remedies that you can try that can help you to feel a bit better.

  • Drink lots of fluids. Staying hydrated can help to alleviate quite a few symptoms, especially a sore throat and stuffy nose. Water should be your first port of call, but you can also enjoy a nutritious broth (chicken broth is a famous cold, flu and sinusitis comfort food) and real citrus juices. Decaf tea is also an option.
  • Don’t forget to eat. You might find that you don’t feel particularly hungry when you’re not well, but your body needs a steady supply of immune-boosting food to help it on its way. Dose up on fresh fruit and green leafy veggies, and make sure your meals also incorporate ingredients like honey, lemon, and garlic.
  • Use a humidifier. Placing a humidifier in your bedroom at night can help to clear your nose and ease your breathing.
  • Make your own saline nose drops. One cup of warm water, ⅛ teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of baking soda gives you a saline solution you can use to flush out your nose.
  • Prop yourself up when you sleep. Using an extra pillow or two might help you to breathe better when you’re lying down.
  • Rest. When your body is battling an infection, one of the best ways you can support it is by sleeping. This gives your immune system plenty of time to do its job.

And be patient, mama.

Most of the time, a sinus infection just needs to run its course.

When should I call a doctor with a sinus infection while pregnant?

If you’re really battling to shake your sinus infection with a few home remedies or some OTC options that you know are safe, give your doctor a call.

Remember, these symptoms should be able to recede in about a week to 10 days.

But if they last any longer, it could be a bacterial infection (rather than viral), which could mean you need antibiotics to kick it to the kerb.

So that call to your doc should be when your symptoms get worse, or if you start developing a high fever.

Feel better soon, mama! ❤️


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