Sinus Infection While Pregnant

Woman with a sinus infection while pregnant

Sinus pressure, a stuffy nose, and a sore throat?  Welcome to a sinus infection during pregnancy.  Sinus infections while pregnant at the same time makes being sick even worse.

Sinusitis occurs when there is an infection in the lining of one of the four nasal cavities, which can cause inflammation and a nasal obstruction inhibiting the proper drainage of mucus. This can result in symptoms such as a stuffy nose and painful pressure around your cheeks and eyes. Such infections may be caused by a bacteria, virus, or fungus, although the cold is the most common contributing factor of sinus infections.

If you have a sinus infection during pregnancy, you may be tempted to take some medication for a quick fix. However, while certain medications are safe to use during pregnancy, other commonly used medications may not be safe to take while pregnant.  You may also find that some home remedies may be just as effective in alleviating your symptoms and helping you recover.

Medication: How to Alleviate a Sinus Infections While Pregnant:

 

Medications used to treat acute sinus infections include cefprozil (Cefzil) and amoxicillin-clavulanate. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is also regarded as safe to use during pregnancy for pain relief and/or headaches. Additionally, short-term use of decongestants, antihistamines, expectorants, and cough suppressants for upper-respiratory infections are generally regarded as safe during pregnancy in limited amounts. However, you will need to avoid aspirin, and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc…).

You may want to talk with your doctor for specific information on which medications pose the least risk for you and your baby. Overall, while there are some safe medications to take during pregnancy, it is best to limit your use of medication while pregnant and opt for other safer remedies.

Home Remedies: How to Alleviate a Sinus Infection During Pregnancy Naturally

Humidifiers are a good home remedy for sinus infections

There are many safe home remedies you can use to alleviate your symptoms and recover from a sinus infection:

  • Drink plenty of fluids such as water, broth, and citrus juice. Staying hydrated is important for helping you fight an infection and for clearing a stuffy nose.
  • Use saline nasal irrigation or saline nose drops. You can make your own saline drops by combining 1 cup of warm water with 1/8 tsp salt and a tiny pinch of baking soda.
  • Use a humidifier at night. This will help clear nasal passages. You may also lean over a pan of boiling water taken off the stove, place a towel over your head, and breathe in the steam. This helps open your nasal passages and loosens mucus in your chest.
  • Elevating your head with a couple of pillows while lying down may make breathing easier. Using nasal strips also helps open nasal passages.
  • For a sore throat, gargle salt water (1/4 tsp salt per 8 ounces of water), drink warm liquid, or suck on ice. Honey and lemon may also soothe a sore throat.
  • Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep as this will help your immune system fight the infection.
  • During pregnancy it is common to lose your appetite, and feeling sick may not help. However, even if you don’t have an appetite, it is important to eat well. If you lose your appetite, it may help to eat smaller meals throughout the day. Make sure you are eating nutrient-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables. Soup may also be a soothing option.

For headaches:

  • Use hot or cold packs on your shoulders or neck or a cold pack on your forehead.
  • Getting a massage, or taking a warm bath may also help alleviate headaches.

Sinus Infections and Pregnancy: When to Contact Your Doctor:

  • If you are coughing up green or yellow mucus
  • If you have a fever above 101° F
  • If you cannot eat or sleep

If your infection is not improving, your doctor may prescribe medication. Your doctor will determine the best medication to take that is safe for you and your baby. While sinus infections are not fun, there are ways you can take care of yourself either through medication or home remedies to alleviate your symptoms and promote your recovery.

References: 

Harms, R. W. (Ed.). (2004). Mayo Clinic guide to a healthy pregnancy (2nd ed.). New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

Jordan, R. G., Engstrom, J. L., Marfell, J. A., & Farley, C. L. (Eds.). (2014). Prenatal and postnatal care: A woman-centered approach. Ames, IA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Larson, D. E. (Ed. in chief). (1996). Mayo Clinic family health book: The ultimate illustrated home medical reference. New York, NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc.

Simkin, P., Whalley, J., & Keppler, A. (1991). Pregnancy, childbirth, and the newborn: The complete guide. Gorham, K. (Ed.). Deephaven, MN: Meadowbrook Press.