Congestion in mums-to-be

What is it? What are the symptoms? What are the treatments?

Congestion in mums-to be

When you’re pregnant you may find your nose gets runny or bunged-up more often.

Known as rhinitis of pregnancy – the cause can be blamed on those pregnancy hormones which have been produced by the placenta. The main culprit is oestrogen, which increases mucus production. This has a knock on effect in your nose and causes the mucous membranes found inside your nasal passage to swell.

Although this nasal congestion can occur at any time of the pregnancy it usually begins in the first trimester and can last from a few weeks to the full nine months. However, there’s no need to worry - it’s a niggle that one in five mums-to-be experience and although it can be irritating, it won’t be harmful to you or your growing little one.

What are the symptoms of Congestion in mums-to be?

You may find you’re sneezing more than usual and your nose becomes twitchier and itchier. Some mums-to-be may find themselves reaching for the tissues to wipe their constantly streaming nose, while others may just feel stuffy and bunged up.

If your runny or stuffy nose comes with itchy eyes then you may have developed an allergy during your pregnancy so take a trip to the doctor to rule this out, or for advice on what you can take to help ease these symptoms.

Likewise, a green or yellow mucus may also suggest a virus or a bacterial infection - sinus infections are common in pregnancy- so seek medical advice if you are concerned.

What are the treatments and remedies of Congestion in mums-to be?

It’s advised pregnant women steer away from using decongestants, however if you’re really suffering speak to your GP who may be able to prescribe you something suitable.

In the meantime why not try steam inhalation, which is said to help congestion by loosening mucus and making it easier to blow your nose. It’s also a great way to give yourself a mini facial!

Sit with your head over a bowl of hot water and place a towel over your head, close your eyes and breathe deeply.

Gargling with salt water could also help settle nasal congestion. If you don’t fancy getting vocal then try nasal saline drops, which contain salt water and can work in a similar way to gargling.

This guide 

The information in this Bounty A-Z of Family Health is not a substitute for an examination, diagnosis or treatment by a doctor, midwife, health visitor or any other qualified health professional. If in doubt, always speak to a doctor.

Bounty will not be held responsible or liable for any injury, loss, damage, or illness, however this occurs or appears, after using the information given on this website and in particular the A-Z of Family Health.

Further help

For health advice and information 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the NHS offers call and web services. You can also visit NHS websites for services, health information and health news at nhs.uk 

  • England – call 111 from any landline or mobile phone free of charge, or visit nhs.uk 
  • Scotland – call 111 from any landline or mobile phone free of charge, or visit nhs24.com 
  • Wales – call 0845 4647 , or visit nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk 
  • Northern Ireland – visit hscni.net


Congestion in mums-to-be