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Breathing Difficulties in Pregnancy

Stuffy Nose

A stuffy nose and constant breathing difficulty is common in pregnancy: it may be thought of as a minor ailment but, for many women it is very troublesome and irritating.

It can disturb sleep, affect taste, cause snoring, give headaches and sore throats and prove generally debilitating.

Added to all that, it is not recommended that products to alleviate the condition are taken in pregnancy.

Pregnancy creates a need for more blood to be circulating in the same space as usual, at least until the last few weeks.

The blood itself becomes more concentrated and iron-rich, and it is this that ‘feeds’ the baby. At the same time, hormones relax all the ligaments and soft tissues, making them feel more sensitive or swollen.

The lining of the nose and throat is made of very thin tissue and the blood vessels are tiny and the sensation of a stuffy nose is due to the delicate linings being congested with blood.

The combination of factors mean the nose is more sensitive to irritants while at the same time less able to accommodate them.

Most medicines work by shrinking the lining tissues and drying up the secretions, and if taken in pregnancy, could have the same effect on the placenta, which might be harmful.

If you already suffer from a blocked nose or sinusitis, it may get much worse in pregnancy, and made worse still because you have had to stop taking medication.

What Treatment is Available?

Acupuncture is already successfully used in treating sinusitis and is ideal when pregnant. As is has a low side-effect rate (refs) it is less likely to cause harm to the placenta than medicines, and will certainly improve your overall sense of well-being. It can help you get a good sleep, and – if you snore – your partner may benefit too!