Sneezing in Pregnancy – Causes, Effects and Treatment

A pregnant woman sneezing

Sneezing during pregnancy is common and normal. Although it is troublesome, there is nothing to be worried about. According to doctors, this condition is called pregnancy rhinitis. During pregnancy everything becomes very sensitive including your nasal passage and your respiratory system. You could get allergic to things around you which when you were not pregnant probably did not matter much. The increase in the volume of blood can trigger swelling of the capillaries in your nose which results in the congested nasal passage. Moreover, the pregnancy hormones can cause more mucus production which can also aggravate a “cold-like” condition resulting in nasal congestion, sniffles, and continuous sneezing.

Is Sneezing Harmful during Pregnancy?

Every women’s’ immune system faces an all-time low during pregnancy. Low immunity causes an increase in sensitivity which results in allergic reactions which may cause inflammation in the nasal passage, throat and respiratory system along with the other parts of the body. However, although continuous sneezing during pregnancy or when not pregnant can be troublesome and tiring, it is not harmful.

What Causes Sneezing in Pregnancy?

Cold, sniffling and sneezing go hand in hand during pregnancy. There are many reasons for it.

  • Pregnancy rhinitis is one of the reasons behind the cold and sneezing during pregnancy. During pregnancy, the volume of blood increases making the blood capillaries swell up in the nose and the increase in mucus production makes the nasal passage swell resulting in sniffles, nose congestion and inflammation in the nasal passage and respiratory system.
  • Pregnancy brings along a lot of health issues. The common cold is one of them. This is caused due to a weak immune system during pregnancy which makes the body incompetent to fight against a cough and cold.
  • Allergies are another reason for cold and sneezing in women during pregnancy. Women who suffer from allergies before pregnancy continue suffering even during their pregnancy. In fact allergies in such women may aggravate even more when they are pregnant.

Why does Sneezing hurt during Pregnancy?

The pain when sneezing while pregnant is chiefly due to the stretch in the round ligament that connects the groin to the front of the uterus. It is one of the ligaments that support and surround the uterus. When a pregnant woman sneezes, the round ligament tightens quickly as a counter-reaction to the sudden movement. This causes a sharp pain which is common and nothing to be worried about.

However, in some rare cases, the pain while sneezing during pregnancy can be due to some underlying health condition like a cyst. Pregnant women who suffer from sciatica or pain in the pelvic girdle may also experience a sharp pain while sneezing.

Does Sneezing Affect the Pregnant Mother and her Baby?

A pregnant woman sneezing

Sneezing during pregnancy is due to the inflammation of the mucous membranes. The inflammation causes irritation resulting in continuous sneezing, cold-like symptoms, and coughing. If it is not accompanied by body ache and fever, it may just be a case of pregnancy rhinitis which usually starts around the 8th week of pregnancy.

Sneezing during pregnancy can be termed as safe for the mother as well as the baby in the womb. It usually disappears in a couple of weeks after the delivery. Although it is absolutely normal and nothing to be worried about, in some rare cases it can trigger back pain, stiffness in the jaw and injury in the respiratory tract. The baby, however, is very well protected in the womb. She may feel like being rocked when her mother sneezes which comforts her inside the womb all the more.

Urine Leakage due to Sneezing during Pregnancy

Urine leakage is a very common thing when one sneezes while pregnant. This happens due to the growing uterus which rests on top of the bladder and gets pressed every time a pregnant woman sneezes. This may be embarrassing as well as uncomfortable for most. There is very little that one can do about it. However, practising Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles may help to stop it. One may even use panty liners to prevent the panty from getting wet time and again.

How should you Deal with Sneezing?

Sneezing is troublesome at all times. A person suffering from it can get tired and feel drained out on account of continuous sneezing. Therefore, finding ways to combat it is necessary. Listed below are some of the ways to treat it.

1. Medical Treatments

To treat sneezing in pregnant women can be quite a task because a pregnant woman cannot take all types of medicines. However, a doctor when consulted may prescribe the following.

  • Analgesics are found in cold medications acetaminophen, ibuprofen and acetylsalicylic. Ibuprofen and Acetylsalicylic are non-steroidal and used in treating inflammation. Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen if taken in early pregnancy does not cause any complications or risk of birth defects in the baby. However, Acetylsalicylic acid has been seen to cause complications and adverse effects in newborns.
  • Antihistamines are prescribed to cure inflammation and allergies.

2. Natural Treatments

During pregnancy, it is best to try out natural remedies before taking any kind of allopathy medication. Here is a list of some natural home remedies that one could try to cure sneezing during pregnancy.

  • Taking steam inhalation using either peppermint oil or eucalyptus oil will give relief from sneezing caused due to congestion in the nasal passage. It helps in clearing the nasal passage.
  • Boil some water and add 2 tsp. of roughly crushed fennel seeds and put a lid. After about 15 minutes, strain the liquid and drink it. You should drink 2 cups of this liquid daily. Fennel which is loaded with antibodies and antiviral components is helpful in curing all types of upper respiratory infection and that includes sneezing too.
  • You can make soups and salads having black pepper or drink lukewarm water mixed with one tbsp of pepper powder 2-3 times a day. Gargling with warm water mixed with pepper powder also helps in controlling cold and sneezing.
  • Chamomile tea which has antihistamine properties is a great way to cure sneezing caused by allergies.
  • Ginger is the most sought-after thing in Indian kitchens due to its medicinal properties. Boil water in which roughly crushed raw ginger has been added and on cooling add a spoonful of honey. Drinking a cup of this before going to sleep at night will stop sneezing at night.
  • Eating garlic raw or cooked helps in combating infection. You can also crush some cloves of garlic and inhale it. This help in opening up the nasal congestion by reducing the inflammation inside.

When should you Consult a Doctor?

Continuous sneezing during pregnancy is quite bothersome, but sneezing should not cause any worry. However, if you have the following symptoms along with sneezing, call for your doctor immediately.

  • You are experiencing respiratory problems and chest pain as well.
  • You are down with a temperature which is more than 100 degrees.
  • You have loss of appetite.
  • You are unable to sleep.
  • You are wheezing while speaking or breathing.
  • The colour of the mucus that you are coughing up is either yellow or green in colour.

How to Prevent Sneezing during Pregnancy?

Sneezing during pregnancy in the first trimester is most common because that is when your body is very low on immunity. Sneezing in pregnancy in the second trimester causes sharp round ligament pain while the sharp shooting pain while sneezing in pregnancy in the third trimester gradually seems to disappearUrination while sneezing is also one of the uncomfortable situations that pregnant women face due to the growing of the uterus. However, listed below are few ways in which sneezing during pregnancy can be prevented.

  • Using a neti pot, you can clear the nasal passage. However, this Ayurvedic practice requires time to master.
  • Using a humidifier at night can help in adding moisture to the dry air especially during winter.
  • An air purifier is most helpful when people suffer from environmental allergies like dust, pollen or mould.
  • Taking in saline water can help in clearing your nasal passage and the salt in it can help in reducing the inflammation in the nasal passage.
  • Avoiding things that may aggravate allergy can prevent sneezing.
  • Taking Vitamin C rich fruits like kiwi, citrus fruits etc can help to combat cold and cough.
  • Consult a doctor and ask him about what can be done to cure your allergy/cold.

Sneezing is due to an infection in the upper respiratory tract. It is caused by viruses and usually there is nothing to be worried about but at times, the infection could spread to the other parts of the body resulting in bacterial infections. Therefore, care should be taken to avoid it.

Also Read: Home Remedies for Cough during Pregnancy