Sniff, Sniff

I saw my allergist this morning for the first time since I’ve been pregnant.

About a year ago she surprised me with the news that I no longer have allergies. This was a shock to me because I was still suffering from the symptoms … itchy eyes and nose, stuffy head, post-nasal drip, chest congestion, etc. She said that, instead, I now have non-allergic rhinitis , something that is apparently very common in past allergy sufferers.

Before I became pregnant, I was treating this with two steroidal nose sprays, and occasionally with an asthma inhaler and an acid reducer. When I became pregnant, I stopped taking all of those meds because I was concerned about the effects on the baby. My symptoms are mild in the winter anyway, so it hasn’t been so bad.

But I’ve recently developed new symptoms: a REALLY stuffy nose and an increase in post nasal drip. Gross, right?

She had good advice. First of all, I need to get back on an acid reducer. It turns out that the likely culprit for my post nasal drip is actually my temperamental stomach. She says the esophagus will create extra mucus when it is inflamed and irritated and this inflammation is typically caused by acid reflux. I’m definitely experiencing the pregnancy-related heartburn that you’ve heard so much about, so that makes a ton of sense. She suggested Zantac and wrote me a prescription for the stronger dosage. She says it only works temporarily (anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months) until your stomach readjusts and starts producing the acid again, but when I get into the third trimester, they can give me Prilosec or one of the other proton pump inhibitors. So we’ll see how that goes.

For the stuffy head, she suggested two things. First, I should go back to one of the steroidal nose sprays because it will help with my swollen sinuses.

She also gave me a Neti Pot. Do you know about these things? You use it to basically squirt saline into your nose to clean out the passages. Sounds pretty disgusting to me, but I know a couple of people who swear by them, so I guess I will give it a try. Secondly, she said I should elevate the head of my bed by putting bricks under the feet. This allows me to keep sleeping on my side but still allows gravity to help clean out my sinuses at night. As an added benefit, it should also help with the heartburn.

Finally, she told me to keep my asthma inhaler handy. I have not used it in years, but she said that as the baby gets bigger and there is less room in my ribcage for my lungs, that it will get increasingly hard to breathe. She says it’s extremely important that I keep my oxygen level up so that the baby is getting enough oxygen as well.

Sigh. I had been putting off this appointment for a while. I was hoping to get through this pregnancy without another health ailment to worry about. But she says these symptoms are only going to get worse in the third trimester, so she wants me to come back in two months. Just what I need … another doctor appointment!

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