Runny nose

Having a runny nose, and other congestion symptoms, is fairly common during pregnancy.

Why does it happen?

Like with other illnesses, having a runny nose from a cold or sinus infection is more common during pregnancy than it is the rest of the time, since pregnancy lessens the effectiveness of the immune system. This means that, if your runny nose or congestion goes along with normal cold or sinus symptoms, it’s probably just a normal, un-pregnancy-related illness.

If a runny nose or congestion doesn’t come with any other symptoms, it’s probably caused by pregnancy. Pregnancy rhinitis occurs when physical changes from pregnancy inflame the nasal passages and cause congestion. Pregnancy rhinitis can start at any point during pregnancy, and disappears on its own after delivery.


During pregnancy, it’s a good idea to check in with your healthcare provider before taking cold medication during pregnancy, especially combination medications, since it’s not always known what effect all of the active ingredients might have on the fetus.

Natural remedies for congestion like steam, saline nose drops, and using a humidifier in your home, and keeping your head elevated when you’re sleeping can help to relieve congestion from pregnancy rhinitis. Especially during the first trimester, taking decongestant medication isn’t recommended unless it’s suggested by your healthcare provider, since it’s not known whether the active ingredients in most decongestants can pass through the placenta to affect the fetus.

  • Edmund F. Funai, et al. “Respiratory tract changes during pregnancy.” UpToDate. Wolters Kluwer, June 5 2015. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Nonallergic rhinitis.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, January 26 2016. Web.
  • Michael Schatz. “Recognition and management of allergic disease during pregnancy.” UpToDate. Wolters Kluwer, October 20 2016. Web.

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