Pregnancy and birth

The bane of my life

When I wrote about common pregnancy symptoms a few weeks ago I forgot to mention the one that has been annoying me since early on in this baby-making adventure: pregnancy rhinitis (or ‘a really annoying blocked nose’, in layman’s terms).

My nose is driving me INSANE.  I’ve long maintained that a blocked nose is possibly the most irritating non-serious physical condition that I ever have to deal with, so this is like a little slice of hell for me.  For most of my pregnancy my symptoms have been bad only at night, but during the last couple of days I’m feeling congested all the time.  My nose feels permanently blocked, I’m blowing it constantly, it’s running endlessly, I can’t breathe properly, I’m having to sleep propped up, and it’s all giving me a headache.  I actually thought that I was getting a cold as well, but now I think that it is just rhinitis.  DAMNED rhinitis.

Apparently hormones are to blame:

When there are greater amounts of estrogen and progesterone in your system, it can cause congestion and swelling inside your nose. If you’re over producing these hormones, sometimes the condition can prevent you from breathing through your nose! Estrogen affects mucus production, causing it to become thick or very thin. Women taking birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy experience rhinitis, too.

When I’m not pregnant and have a blocked nose I deal with it by dosing myself with hardcore decongestants, but obviously that’s not an option these days.  Instead, I’ve been using Vicks Vap-o-rub on my chest at night, which has helped a bit.  Yesterday I also tried inhaling steam from Vicks in boiling water, but it didn’t have much impact.  A Vicks inhaler stick also hasn’t helped too much.

In a minute I’m going to call our obstetricians’s clinic and see if the midwife can suggest anything help.  I’m also going to call the HRV people and see if we can re-jig our set-up so the air is slightly less dry in the house (for those who don’t know what I’m talking about, the HRV system is a home ventilation system that helps to combat dampness in the winter and humidity in the summer – essential in Auckland’s sub-tropical climate).

Now I’m going to have a hot shower and see if I can clear my nose temporarily…

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5 thoughts on “The bane of my life

  1. Ugh that is the worst!! I had this problem too and I never snore but always did when pregnant. Try a humidifier near your bed and saline nasal spray. No guarantees but it might help.

    1. Thanks Kate – I’m going to see about the saline spray tomorrow. We’ve turned off our ventilation system, to see if that helps. Did you have problems throughout your pregnancy/ies, or did it come right eventually? (she asked, hopefully…!)

      1. The problem only appeared during pregnancy and sadly, lasted pretty much the whole time. This last time I was extra vigilant to make sure I did not catch any type of Cold as there was no chance it would go away. That said, as soon as I brought the babies home, I was able to breathe better (in many ways!). Another thing that I tried was acupuncture – that did seem to help a little too when it was really bad. Acupuncture in general was really great during pregnancy.

  2. Ugh yes the nasal stuff is an unexpected pain. I am having hayfever and a friend has very indly given me some drops and a gel (which you rub up your nostrils eww) that are safe for pregnancy. My number one question these days is “is it safe for pregnancy?”

    1. That’s good to hear – I’ll talk to the pharmacist about it when I’m out and about later on today, and see if they can suggest anything. Turning off the HRV system definitely helped, so now it’s a toss-up between having a clear nose or having a house that isn’t damp and cold. Hmmmm…

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