Colds, flu, and hay fever are some of the most annoying health conditions that distract us from routine work. These conditions often lead to sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion. Well, resorting to over-the-counter (OTC) remedies like nasal decongestants that come as nasal sprays or drops can offer quick relief. But when you’re pregnant, you might think twice before using nasal decongestants. The good news is most nasal decongestant sprays are safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding.
However, you still need to follow some expert recommendations before trying nasal decongestant sprays while pregnant. So below are some curated expert suggestions which will help resolve all your doubts.
Which Nasal Decongestant Sprays are Safe for Pregnancy?
There are several effective ways to treat nasal decongestion, such as nasal steroid sprays, OTC nasal sprays, and OTC allergy drugs. Among all of these, experts have determined nasal steroid sprays as the first-line treatment for nasal congestion during pregnancy. Several studies have shown that most nasal steroid sprays are safe and effective during pregnancy, including:
OTC nasal sprays like Mucinex and Afrin are considered second-line medications for nasal allergies in pregnant women. Though the key ingredient (oxymetazoline) used in most OTC nasal sprays (including Afrin) is most likely safe during pregnancy, pregnant women shouldn’t use it without checking with their doctor.
And OTC medications like Sudafed fall into pregnancy category C drugs as classified by the FDA. That means these medications are best avoided during the first trimester.
Safety Concerns of Nasal Decongestant Sprays during Pregnancy
Pregnancy hormonal changes often make getting a good night’s sleep hard. Sinus infections, allergies, and nasal obstruction can only make things worse for you. This is when a nasal decongestant spray can help. But using nasal decongestant sprays too often rather than the prescribed amount or period can make you dependent on them, causing damage to the delicate nasal tissue. This condition is called rebound congestion. Below are a few things you can follow to avoid rebound congestion.
- Check out the ingredients before buying the spray
- Consult with your doctor before buying a nasal spray during pregnancy
- Stop using a nasal spray if you feel it’s worsening your allergy symptoms
There are some nasal sprays you should avoid during the pregnancy period. Here goes the list-
- Mycophenolate mofetil
Safer Alternatives for Nasal Congestion during Pregnancy
What if you want to avoid OTC nasal sprays and OTC allergy medications totally while pregnant? Well, there is good news for you. You can try a few at-home remedies for nasal congestion during your pregnancy to get relief from a blocked or stuffy nose. Though less effective than the OTC treatments, these at-home remedies pose no danger for pregnant women or unborn babies.
Use an Air Purifier: A good air purifier can help minimize exposure to allergic triggers and pollutants, such as dust, pollen, smog, and cigarette smoke.
Try a Sterimar Microdiffusion Spray: Made of 100% natural seawater, Sterimar is perfectly safe for pregnant women.
Drink Plenty of Water: Anyone who catches a common cold should take a lot of fluids, e.g., water and fruit juice. Drinking pregnancy-safe teas can also relieve nasal congestion- especially Ginger Tea.
Run a Humidifier or Vaporizer: A mini humidifier or vaporizer can help soothe inflamed sinuses since they both add moisture to the air.
No one will disagree with the fact that nasal decongestant sprays are very easy to use. That’s the main reason for its popularity. But remember, taking unprescribed medications can lead to unexpected health complications, whether pregnant or not.
If you’re already using a nasal spray, you might still have to talk to your physician about it.