What Causes Congestion and Nosebleeds in Pregnancy?

Woman Blowing Nose Into Tissue
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Don't worry if you spot some blood on a tissue after blowing your nose: Nosebleeds and congestion are common (albeit annoying) symptoms of carrying a baby. Learn about the causes, treatment options, and prevention strategies.

What Causes Nosebleeds in Pregnancy?

Your body is producing much more blood during pregnancy. The teeny blood vessels in your nose can swell up, dry out, and rupture, causing your nose to bleed. You may also notice that your nose is more congested than usual, which is the result of increased blood flow to the mucus membranes.

Can You Prevent Pregnancy Nosebleeds?

There isn't a whole lot you can do to prevent nosebleeds in pregnancy, but dry air can make you more susceptible. To avoid this, use a humidifier in your bedroom during the winter months (indoor heating can dry out your nasal passages and make the problem worse). It also helps to dab a little moisturizing petroleum jelly around your nostrils before going to bed. And always be extra gentle when blowing your nose. Now's the time to splurge on the super-soft tissues!

How to Relieve Nosebleeds

When a nosebleed strikes, apply pressure to your nostrils while sitting or standing—lying down or tilting your head back will make it worse. If the blood flow is heavier, try this first-aid trick: Place a clean tampon (you have no other need for them these days!) just inside the opening of your nose. It may look silly, but a tampon is much more absorbent than a wadded-up tissue.

If you have congestion, increase your fluid intake, and try to clear things up by spritzing saline nasal spray into your nose. Make sure it's a simple saline spray; other types of nose sprays aren't safe for pregnant women. Also avoid over-the-counter decongestants.

Pregnancy-related nosebleeds usually subside quickly, but if the bleeding is heavy and frequent, call your doctor. Also let your doctor know about bothersome congestion.

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