Help me breathe without decongestants!
May 5, 2006 11:42 AM   Subscribe

I'm 3 months pregnant and suffering from massive congestion, sinus headaches, ichy eyes, runnynose, and in the past week it's beginning to keep me up at nights. Help!

I've talked to other pregnant women about this and found out that it isn't uncommon, but the thought that I'm going to be stuffy like this until the baby's born is unbearable.

I have spring allergies to begin with, but never THIS bad before. Every few hours I'm awoken by my nose. I would awake with a start because I'm not breathing. Then the congestion, sneezing, and runny nose would hit, and it would take me a while to get back to sleep. This would repeat a few times every night. Already been hit by first trimester fatigue, this cuts down on my sleep on top of it, and I have 0 energy during the day.

Allergies meds never did quite work on my allergies, and I use to take Benedryl with decongestants to clear my nose up on the really bad days. Now that I'm not really allowed to take decongestants, what can I do to make life a bit easier? Or are there alternative ways / types of meds that can help?
posted by Sallysings to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
It is totally normal, unfortunately.

My doctor prescribed Rhinocort Aqua for me when I was pregnant, both times. It wasn't an absolute cure, but it definitely saved me.

Beyond that, steam with a little bit of eucalyptus oil was a pretty good fix. Go easy, things tend to smell different when you're pregnant and sometimes things that never bothered you before make you nauseated when you're pregnant.

I found a bottle of eucalyptus spray that I would spritz into the steam when I took a shower every day, and that was really helpful.
posted by padraigin at 11:55 AM on May 5, 2006

Talk with your Midwife or OB about this. (If you're using a Midwife, you'll want to do this in conjunction with your regular MD/Allergist).

There are drugs they can give you that are "not unsafe" for the baby, and it becomes a risk/benefit calculation.

The bottom line is, if you're suffering, your baby will not be as healthy.
posted by anastasiav at 11:59 AM on May 5, 2006

My wife, who's 8 1/2 months pregnant, recommends using a humidifier at night to help alleviate some dryness and allergy-like symptoms. Keeping the mucous membranes hydrated will make them less irritable.

Bonus: It has also really helped my allergies subside too.
posted by fenriq at 12:33 PM on May 5, 2006

Based on my experience with my wife's pregnancy... I'd recommend a "neti pot" its a small clay or metal tea-pot-looking thing you actually use to flush out your nasal cavity. It sounds horrific to most westerners, but I assure you that it isn't painful or anything. Search google for more info.
posted by JFitzpatrick at 12:54 PM on May 5, 2006 [1 favorite]

If allergies are the problem: Do you have an air purifier in your bedroom? Can you keep the door closed? There are a lot of non-drug strategies for helping with allergies. If you can do the steam thing before bed, then have an allergen-free bedroom, that might help.

Apologies if you're already doing all this, or if it's not really about allergies. If you are interested, there are resources out on the web that talk about things like hypoallergenic bedding casings, hard wood floors (extreme in your case), etc. What will help you depends on your specific allergie(s).

I find that unscented shampoo and conditioner helps me. It can be hard to find, but completely worth it. If I have to put scented products in my hair during the day (gel, spray), I wash and dry my hair before bed.
posted by amtho at 1:06 PM on May 5, 2006

It's pregnancy rhinitis, so I'm just mucusy in general. I'm eating a lot of hot and sour soup and that seems to help as long as I'm sipping. That, of course, will work until uh, mid-June, when it gets too hot to have hot drinks all the time.

The dry bedroom could be a problem; we don't have a humidifier, and the bedroom is kinda dusty. (The first three months of pregnancy is extremely brutal when it comes to how little I want to do ANYTHING, cleaning being one of them) However, I'm like this everywhere I go - at home, at work, outside, in the country, in the city.

But I guess a humidifier is a must, huh.

Amtho/ everything I have it already unscented, but my SO's isn't. I take the bus to work and it seems like everybody around me is wearing some sort of strong perfume.

JFitzpatrick/ will definitely look into this. I read about it on lifehacker a while back and my memory of it (oh yeah, that's fading too - being pregnant just rocks...) just came back to me.

Thank you all for your answers! I hope trying these few things might help me out. :S
posted by Sallysings at 2:23 PM on May 5, 2006

Also try breatheright strips - they really helped me a lot during my pregnancy. Saline gel and vicks inhalers also are great!
posted by OhPuhLeez at 4:34 PM on May 5, 2006

Saline sprays like Ocean Spray are safe.
posted by IndigoRain at 5:13 PM on May 5, 2006

High tech neti pot: Grossan Hydro Pulse Nasal/Sinus Irrigation System.

I swear by mine.
posted by seymour.skinner at 7:39 PM on May 5, 2006

If you use an anti-allergy eye drop, it will also help your nose (eye drops drain through the nasolacrimal duct into the nasal passages). Eye drops are also better than systemics (pills) in your case, because of the pregnancy. The drop I'd probably recommend is Patanol - it's a prescription drop that has been shown to be long lasting, very effective and safe. If you don't want to go that route, try Visine-A or just a simple artificial tear (washes out the pollens temporarily), or even just warm compresses on your eyes and nose.
IANAD but I work for one, and she specializes in allergy.
posted by acridrabbit at 8:37 PM on May 5, 2006

A humidifier does wonderful things for my frequent sinus problems. Another thing to do is alternate between pressing the bridge of your nose (like where glasses would sit) and pushing your tounge or thumb on the roof of your mouth. This will move the cartalidge in your sinuses, and will help any congestion loosen up. I totally thought it wouldnt work but it's fantastic. I think I read about it in a pressure point book.
posted by gilsonal at 9:00 PM on May 5, 2006

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