Sneezing when pregnant: causes, dos and don’ts

A pregnant woman sat on a bed blowing her nose into a tissue

Don’t let a case of the sneezes worry you when you’re pregnant. Increased sneezing during pregnancy is very normal and is not harmful to you or your baby. There could be many reasons for your more regular sneezing and pregnant hormone levels are one of them!

Is frequent sneezing in pregnancy normal?

Yes. Frequent sneezing in pregnancy is part of a condition known as pregnancy rhinitis. Rhinitis is an inflammation of the inside of nose and can be caused by all sorts of internal and external factors. The symptoms are similar to that of a cold, including a blocked nose or mild nasal discomfort as well as frequent sneezing. Pregnancy causes your hormones to change their usual balance and when this change causes inflammation on the inside of your nose, you might get pregnancy rhinitis.

You may also find yourself sneezing when pregnant because you’re picking up more common colds. While you’re pregnant, your immune system is a lot weaker. This is a protective measure from your body to prevent it mistaking the unborn baby for an invading virus but, while your baby is safer, you’re more likely to pick up colds and other bugs.

Can sneezing when pregnant harm my baby?

If you’re anxious that the force of sneezing might be harmful to your baby, don’t worry! Sneezing during pregnancy won’t impact your baby’s health or growth at all. A common cold during pregnancy isn’t harmful either; it’s just not much fun for you to be sniffling for nine months! If you spot your partner/friends/colleagues sneezing, pass them a packet of tissues as a not-so-subtle hint to keep their germs far away from you.

If you think you might have flu, fever or a more severe illness than a common cold then there may be risks attached to this. See your doctor immediately.

What if I’m experiencing a sneezing pain in the abdomen?

Sometimes sneezing when pregnant is painful but this still doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong. Experiencing pain when sneezing in pregnancy is usually due to the pressure sneezing and coughing puts on the ligaments around your uterus, which are stretched as you grow during pregnancy. Though this can be very uncomfortable, it’s not dangerous.

If the pain you are experiencing is very severe or remains sharp for longer than a few seconds after sneezing, consult your doctor immediately.

I’ve got a pain in the abdomen when sneezing: am I pregnant?

If you didn’t think you were pregnant before reading this article, take a pause before buying a baby name book. Don’t worry if sneezing hurts when pregnant – it’s a normal part of pregnancy, but there are many other possible reasons for experiencing it. If you think you might be pregnant it’s vitally important to find out with a pregnancy test and trip to your doctor.

If you’ve been sneezing a lot more often than usual because of a cold or seasonal allergy, the muscles in your abdomen will be working harder than usual. This often results in muscle soreness.

If you have other reasons for abdominal pain, the impact of sneezing will increase it. If you’re experiencing severe or lasting pains in your abdomen, it’s important to consult your doctor to find out what’s causing it.

Here are some final dos and don’ts to bear in mind when dealing with sneezing in pregnancy.


  • Talk to your doctor before using sneezing medication to make sure it’s safe for pregnancy
  • Ask for medical advice on getting a flu vaccination to protect you and your baby before flu season
  • Use a humidifier or an eco-friendly alternative at night to soothe the inside of your nose and relieve the causes of sneezing
  • Keep a sneezing survival kit on you: nasal spray, tissues and a bottle of water to re-hydrate
  • Talk to your doctor if you’re worried about any part of your pregnancy

Letting steam from the bathroom waft into your room after you’ve showered, or simply keeping a bowl of water by the window, will add some humidity to your bedroom at night without using any additional energy – an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint!


  • Panic! Frequent sneezing during pregnancy or pain when sneezing in pregnancy is normal and usually harmless.
  • Overthink it – you don’t need any special guide for how to sneeze when pregnant!

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