Safe Sinus Infection Care During Pregnancy

Gabrielle Applebury
Pregnant women blowing her nose

A sinus infection during pregnancy can be a miserable experience. There are several home remedies, as well as over the counter and prescription medications that can help alleviate your uncomfortable symptoms.

Will a Sinus Infection Harm the Baby?

Luckily a sinus infection is not harmful for your unborn child. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, a sinus infection is not listed as one of the infections that can cause harm to a fetus. However, if you suspect you have a sinus infection, contact your doctor right away so you can be sure the diagnosis is correct and find helpful and safe solutions to protect your baby.

Safe Remedies for Coping With a Sinus Infection

There are many ways to deal with a sinus infection including home remedies and medications. Always check with your doctor before trying any herbal supplement, drinking any teas, or taking over-the-counter or prescription medications. Even though non-prescription remedies may seem less harmful for your growing baby than prescription medications, some can cause birth defects, uterine contractions, and preterm labor.

Natural Remedies

Natural remedies are typically easy to find at your local grocery store or pharmacy. They vary from nasal passage cleaning tools to special herbs, teas and patches. Remember to check in with your doctor regarding the safety of the following before ingesting or putting anything on your skin as it could potentially be harmful to your fetus. Some natural remedies include:

  • Neti Pot: This is small teapot like device that you can use to flush out your sinuses with warm water and saline, which may be helpful. Be sure to use distilled water and not tap water.
  • Steam: Sitting in a hot shower, or running the shower to create steam in your bathroom will help loosen up your nasal stuffiness.
  • Humidifier: Similar to the warm shower, a humidifier helps loosen up congestion and can be put on while you sleep.
  • Drink fluids: Even if you aren't thirsty, be sure to stay hydrated to help your body flush out mucus.
  • Eat healthy foods: Be sure to eat something nutritious and light to prevent yourself from becoming nauseated.
  • Sleep: Resting can help you get well more quickly.
  • Elevate your head: Prop your head up on a few comfy pillows to help prevent excessive nasal drip.
  • Eat spicy foods: Doing so can help clear your sinus passage, but be cautious not to eat a lot as it can backfire and increase pregnancy-related heartburn.
  • Diffuse essential oils such as peppermint or eucalyptus, but check in with your practitioner before applying them topically as some essential oils are contraindicated during pregnancy.
  • Warm compress: Place a warm or hot compress over the bridge of your nose to help break up the mucus trapped in your sinuses.
  • Vapor Rub or patch: These use menthol to help relieve nasal congestion and are safe during pregnancy, but double check with your health care provider.
  • Nasal Strips: These are stuck on the bridge of the nose and pull open the nasal passage so you can breathe more easily.
Pregnant woman resting

Medications

There are over the counter and prescription options when it comes to treating sinus infections during pregnancy. As with any medication, there are pros and cons to taking it. During pregnancy, doctors will typically make sure the benefits outweigh the risk to the fetus before prescribing or recommending any over the counter or prescription medication that could potentially cause harm to the growing baby. Check with your doctor before you take any of the following and be sure you are comfortable with the potential risks associated with ingestion, but in general the following over-the-counter options are regarded as safe to take:

  • Cefzil: A prescription antibiotic used to treat sinus infections
  • Amoxicillin: A prescription antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections
  • Decongestants: Help open up the nasal passage airways
  • Antihistamines: May help with congestion and nasal swelling
  • Tylenol: May help with nasal passage pain and headaches
  • Cough suppressants and cough drops: Can help relieve sore throat and cough caused by nasal drippage

Finding Relief

As uncomfortable as a sinus infection is, chances are you will experience the brunt of it for a week or so. Work with your doctor and test a few remedies to see which work best for you.

Safe Sinus Infection Care During Pregnancy