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Can I Use Decongestant Nasal Spray When Pregnant?

By Julie Christensen ; Updated August 14, 2017

Many women experience chronic feelings of congestion and nasal stuffiness during pregnancy, even in the absence of other cold symptoms. The increase in blood flow and mucous production during pregnancy, as well as hormonal changes, is probably responsible for this condition. Consult your doctor, though, before taking nasal decongestant sprays, since some are not safe for use during pregnancy.

Safety

Most nasal decongestant sprays are made from the same ingredients and are generally considered safe during pregnancy for short periods of time. Consult your doctor, though, before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications during pregnancy. Do not use nasal decongestant sprays for more than a few days to minimize the risk of injury to your baby. Nasal decongestant sprays may cause a rebound effect, according to Dr. Aida Erebara, MD, causing symptoms to reappear.

Relieving Chronic Congestion

Before reaching for an over-the-counter decongestant nasal spray to relieve congestion, try a few natural remedies. These remedies are often just as effective, without the possible side effects to you or your baby. Use saline nasal drops two or three times daily to moisten the nasal passageways and reduce congestion. Run a humidifier in your room at night or use a facial steamer to relieve congestion.

Relieving Cold Symptoms

If your nasal congestion is due to a cold, treat the cold symptoms along with the nasal congestion. Try saline sprays and increased humidity to keep nasal passages moist. Go to bed for a day or two to allow your body to heal. Drink lemon honey or ginger tea and eat simple, nourishing foods, such as chicken soup, oatmeal or buttered toast. Add some lavender oil to a warm bath. Rest is often the best cure for a cold, especially during pregnancy.

General Recommendations

When taking medications during pregnancy, always consider the potential benefits weighed against the potential harm. Seek out natural solutions for problems, such as nasal congestion, and always consult your physician before taking any medications.

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