The safety of using nasal sprays during pregnancy is not documented clearly. However, natural saline nasal sprays and some over-the-counter brands are considered the best options for pregnant women.
Everything related to the health of an expecting mother needs to be monitored properly. After all, she is responsible for ensuring good health for herself and her developing baby. Thus, stringent care is followed regarding exercise, diet, and onset of mild symptoms. Despite the personal care adopted, a pregnant woman is prone to common health problems, like cold, influenza, sinusitis, etc. These conditions result in nasal congestion with other symptoms. A simple remedy for stuffy nose during pregnancy is applying nasal sprays. But, are these safe?
Is it Safe to Use Nasal Sprays While Pregnant?
First of all, long-term use of topical nasal sprays for allergies, sinusitis, or colds is not at all recommended for every individual, including pregnant women. The suggested usage period is strictly 2 to 3 days (not more than that). The main reason for this is nasal spray addiction or high tendency of becoming habituated to these nasal decongestants. So, we end up relying on nasal sprays for every mild infection case. Also, topical nasal sprays increase stuffiness and damage the sensitive nasal lining, after using for an extended period. Considering all these factors, restrict applying topical decongestant nasal sprays from the third day of continuous usage.
Regarding the safety of using nasal sprays during gestation, the answer depends on which type of nasal spray brand is being used. Natural saline nasal sprays (that contain saltwater only) are considered safe for using while pregnant. Except for these, every expecting woman should take a doctor’s approval before using nasal sprays for colds or sinus infections. The common topical decongestant nasal sprays work by constricting the blood vessels in the nasal lining. There is a high chance that these formulations get into the bloodstream, and cause constriction of blood vessels in the womb or placenta. Hence, taking medical supervision is of utmost importance before using nasal sprays during maternity.
Safe Nasal Sprays for Pregnant Women
Sinus infections or infections in the respiratory tract during pregnancy should be treated promptly. Otherwise, the causal pathogens may release toxins that may cause negative pregnancy outcomes. For sinusitis, cold and allergy triggered nasal congestion, the best remedy available is using saline sprays. At the time of applying these, one should check the label and follow the directions correctly. Basically, there are two types of natural saline nasal sprays, isotonic and hypertonic. The former has a salt concentration similar to the body, whereas hypertonic solution contains concentrated salt, and works by constricting blood vessels. In short, use isotonic saline nasal sprays when pregnant.
Speaking about topical decongestant nasal sprays, there is less data concerning safe brands for use during pregnancy. Of course, Afrin, Sudafed, and Ocean Mist nasal sprays are considered safer than other brands. A study was performed to check the safety of oxymetazoline (active ingredient in topical decongestant brand AfrinR) in pregnant women. If the usage frequency is limited to two times daily for a few days, there are no major side effects. Nevertheless, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) categorizes this drug under pregnancy category C, meaning that it can cause adverse effects to the unborn child, and administration should be done under medical guidance.
In a nutshell, over-the-counter nasal sprays for sinusitis, colds, and allergies are somewhat safer than the steroid-based prescription brands. Always remember that use of medications during pregnancy is restricted, unless the doctor directs to do so. The same is with administration of cold medicine for pregnant women. Thus, it is best to be aware of the benefits of nasal sprays to avoid probable risk factors to the mother and the developing fetus. So, consider using topical decongestant nasal sprays during pregnancy, only if the results are positive.