A pregnant woman holding tissues, experiencing pregnancy rhinitis with nasal congestion and runny nose due to hormonal changes.

When Does Pregnancy Rhinitis Start

If you’re an expectant mother experiencing nasal congestion, sneezing, and a runny nose, you might be wondering if you’ve caught a cold or if it’s something related to your pregnancy. Pregnancy rhinitis, also known as nasal congestion of pregnancy, is a common condition that affects many pregnant women.

Understanding Pregnancy Rhinitis

Pregnancy rhinitis is a condition characterized by nasal congestion and inflammation of the nasal passages during pregnancy. It occurs due to the hormonal changes that take place in a woman’s body during this time. The increased levels of estrogen and progesterone can cause the blood vessels in the nasal passages to swell, leading to congestion and a stuffy nose.

Symptoms of Pregnancy Rhinitis

Pregnancy rhinitis shares some similarities with the common cold, which can make it challenging to distinguish between the two. The symptoms may include:

  1. Nasal Congestion: Feeling that your nose is blocked or stuffy, making it difficult to breathe comfortably.
  2. Runny Nose: Experiencing a discharge of clear and watery mucus from the nose.
  3. Sneezing: Frequent sneezing due to nasal irritation.
  4. Itchy Nose: Feeling an itching sensation inside the nasal passages.
  5. Postnasal Drip: A feeling of mucous pouring down the back of your throat.
  6. Reduced Sense of Smell: Difficulty in detecting odors as effectively as before.

When Does Pregnancy Rhinitis Start?

Pregnancy rhinitis can start at different times for different women. Some may experience it as early as the first trimester, while others might notice it later in their pregnancy. Generally, it is more common during the second and third trimesters.

Causes of Pregnancy Rhinitis

Pregnancy rhinitis is primarily caused by hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy. Oestrogen and progesterone are the two primary hormones responsible for this disease. As an expectant mother’s body goes through various changes to support the developing baby, the levels of these hormones increase significantly.

  1. Estrogen: During pregnancy, estrogen levels rise substantially, leading to increased blood flow throughout the body, including the nasal passages. This increased blood flow can cause the blood vessels in the nose to swell and become congested, resulting in a stuffy nose and nasal discomfort.
  2. Progesterone: Another hormone that plays a role in pregnancy rhinitis is progesterone. This hormone is responsible for relaxing the smooth muscles in the body, including those in the nasal cavity. As the nasal muscles relax, the airways may narrow, making breathing difficult and contributing to nasal congestion.

Factors That Can Aggravate Pregnancy Rhinitis

While hormonal changes during pregnancy are the primary cause of rhinitis, certain factors can worsen the symptoms and make the condition more uncomfortable for expectant mothers. These aggravating factors include:

  1. Allergens: Exposure to allergens such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and mold can trigger allergic reactions in some pregnant women. When these allergens are inhaled, they can lead to further inflammation of the nasal passages, exacerbating the congestion and discomfort associated with pregnancy rhinitis.
  2. Environmental Irritants: Strong odors, air pollution, smoke, and other environmental irritants can irritate the sensitive nasal lining and intensify the symptoms of pregnancy rhinitis. Avoiding exposure to these irritants can help reduce nasal congestion and improve overall comfort.
  3. Weather Changes: Extreme temperatures and sudden weather changes can impact the nasal passages and worsen pregnancy rhinitis. Cold and dry air, common in certain weather conditions, can cause the nasal membranes to dry out, leading to increased congestion and nasal discomfort.
  4. Upper Respiratory Infections: It can make the nasal passages more susceptible to infections. If an expectant mother contracts an upper respiratory infection or a common cold, it can further irritate the nasal lining and aggravate the symptoms of rhinitis.
  5. Hormonal Fluctuations: While hormones like estrogen and progesterone are the main culprits behind pregnancy rhinitis, fluctuations in hormone levels during pregnancy can also influence the severity of the condition. Certain periods of hormonal surges might lead to more pronounced symptoms.

Tips for Managing Pregnancy Rhinitis

Dealing with pregnancy rhinitis can be challenging, but there are several ways to alleviate the symptoms and improve your comfort:

  1. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to help thin the mucus and reduce congestion.
  2. Use a Humidifier: Using a humidifier in your bedroom can add moisture to the air and ease breathing.
  3. Nasal Saline Rinse: Rinsing your nasal passages with a saline solution can help clear mucus and reduce inflammation.
  4. Elevate Your Head: Prop up your head with an extra pillow while sleeping to promote better nasal drainage.
  5. Avoid Triggers: Identify and avoid allergens and irritants that worsen your symptoms.
  6. Steam Inhalation: Congestion can be relieved temporarily by inhaling steam from a bowl of hot water.
  7. Consult Your Healthcare Provider: If your symptoms persist or become severe, consult your healthcare provider for appropriate guidance.


It is a common discomfort experienced by many expectant mothers. It typically starts during the second or third trimester due to hormonal changes, leading to nasal congestion, runny nose, and other related symptoms. While it may not be entirely preventable, following the management tips mentioned above can help ease the symptoms and improve your overall well-being during this precious time of pregnancy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *