It’s important to treat any ear infection during pregnancy because it can lead to hearing loss (usually temporary), or a spread of infection to the brain or cranial nerve.
Swimmer’s ear is an infection that occurs in the outer ear canal. Although it can be contracted in other ways, it is mostly associated with infections after swimming in a public pool or other fresh bodies of water. Swimmer’s ear is referred to medically as acute otitis external. Symptoms include a feeling that the ear is clogged or blocked, fever, itchiness in the ear, decreased hearing, pain, drainage, and swollen lymph nodes around the ear.
How do you Treat Swimmer’s Ear Naturally During Pregnancy?
Moisture in the ear is what creates the environment for bacteria to grow and survive. The first step for preventing swimmer’s ear during pregnancy is to keep your ears dry.
Here are some simple ways to prevent swimmer’s ear during pregnancy:
- Try to keep your head above water while swimming or playing in the water
- Avoid scratching the ear
- Use ear plugs when swimming
- Wear a swimmer’s cap
- Use a dry towel to dry your ears
- Tilt your head from side to side allowing any water to fall out
- Use a hair dryer (on low and not too close) to dry your ears
If you are pregnant and looking to prevent or treat the early onset of swimmer’s ear, you can create your own ear drops by combining rubbing alcohol with vinegar. The mixture should be about half and half. This natural blend of eardrops will help dry out any remaining water in your ear.
Warning: Drops should not be administered to ears of individuals who have ear tubes, damaged ear drums, or existing ear drainage.
If you are experiencing pain with a swimmer’s ear infection, a hot water bottle or heated towel can be applied to the ear to provide relief.
When Treating Swimmer’s Ear Naturally Doesn’t Work
If you practice the above steps to prevent swimmer’s ear, it is unlikely you would actually get an infection. The first step of treatment will be to have your ears cleaned. An eardrop containing boric or acetic acid can be administered by your healthcare provider.
Expecting mothers should avoid aspirin and ibuprofen for the pain, and use acetaminophen if needed.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics for a swimmer’s ear infection that is persistent or becomes more inflamed.
The antibiotic is placed directly in the ear. If the infection has spread, your healthcare provider may also prescribe oral antibiotics to fight the broader infection.
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Compiled using information from the following sources:
1. American Academy of Otolaryngology, Swimmer’s Ear, (2014)
2. Center for Disease Control, Swimmer’s Ear, (2014)
2. National Institute of Health, Swimmer’s Ear, (2014)