Have you noticed an increase in runny nose or nasal congestion while pregnant? Is your sleep being affected? The number one cause of these symptoms is still allergic rhinitis, meaning symptoms are caused by an allergen (see Allergic vs Non-Allergic Rhinitis blog from September 14, 2021). Allergic symptoms can worsen in 1/3rd of pregnant patients.
However, a non-allergic form of rhinitis can occur called pregnancy induced rhinitis. Pregnancy induced rhinitis occurs in about 1 out of 5 pregnant women (20-30%). It does not occur prior to pregnancy and resolves within 2 weeks postpartum. It typically does not present prior to the second trimester. The exact cause of this type of rhinitis is unknown and research is needed to further study this. Hormonal changes such as estrogen and human growth factor levels could play a role. Having a history of allergies (except possibly dust mite allergy) or asthma does not raise your risk of having pregnancy rhinitis. Smoking can be a risk factor as well.
In pregnancy induced rhinitis, intranasal steroids, like fluticasone, budesonide, etc. are not effective in pregnancy induced rhinitis. They do work for increased allergic rhinitis in pregnancy though. It is not recommended to use oral or nasal decongestants during pregnancy and should be discussed with your physician. Nasal decongestants are not a long term treatment option given the increased risk of nasal dependency. The best treatment options are nasal strips and nasal saline lavages. Symptoms typically resolve within 2 weeks after infant delivery.
Do you or your family members have persistent nasal congestion or runny nose? Allergy Associates of Utah is an allergy, asthma, and immunology specialty clinic serving the greater Salt Lake City, Utah area with 2 convenient locations in Murray and West Jordan. Led by specialists Andrew Smith, MD, MS, and Tara Sarin, MD, the practice strives to help people of all ages and background achieve success. Request an appointment by phone or online at either Allergy Associates of Utah location for expert allergy and immunology care today.