Sneezing During Pregnancy: Can It Affect the Baby?

Although many people do worry more than usual while pregnant, sneezing during pregnancy should not cause any anxiety. Sneezing can occur more frequently during pregnancy but does not usually mean anything is wrong with baby or mother.

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Some causes of sneezing during pregnancy include:

  • pregnancy rhinitis
  • illness
  • allergies

What are the causes of sneezing during pregnancy?

  1. Pregnancy rhinitis

Pregnancy causes a lot of changes in the body. Blood flow to the mucous membranes during pregnancy increases. The nose is full of mucous membranes. The extra blood flow causes the nasal passages to swell, which leads to extra watery discharge and congestion, this condition is called pregnancy rhinitis. The condition that affects 39 percent of women at some point during their pregnancy and causes the rate of sneezing to increase. Both the additional discharge and congestion can lead to increased sneezing.


The immune system of pregnant people are weaker, making them more susceptible to cold, flu, or another bug. These illnesses may last longer and be more severe than in someone who is not pregnant.

When a person is not pregnant, their body reacts to germs quickly. However, during pregnancy, the body’s immune system responds more slowly and gently, because it does not want to mistake the baby for something harmful.

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Colds are usually harmless during pregnancy, but the flu or any other illness that causes a fever can be dangerous for both mother and baby and require prompt medical attention.


People who have allergies that cause sneezing will likely still have allergy symptoms while pregnant. Seasonal allergies, such as hay fever, pollen allergies, and indoor allergies can all cause sneezing.


Sneezing during pregnancy does not pose a risk to mother or baby most of the time. However, sneezing can be a symptom of an illness that may affect the baby. When sneezing indicates a more severe problem like flu, there may be risks like premature birth, low birth weight or miscarriage.

Sneezing causes pain around the belly of most pregnant women. Though this radiating pain may be uncomfortable, but it is not dangerous. This phenomenon is known as round ligament pain and occurs as the ligaments stretch and loosen during pregnancy.

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How is it managed?

Many medications that are safe to take while not pregnant are not recommended during pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association recommend that pregnant people limit the amount of over-the-counter medications they take during pregnancy. This means that many common cold medications that would reduce sneezing should not be taken while pregnant.

Home remedies

Ways to manage sneezing during pregnancy without using medication include:

  • neti pots
  • saline nasal sprays
  • using air purifier
  • using a humidifier
  • avoiding known allergens
  • treating asthmaas directed by a doctor
  • exercising regularly
  • eating a diet rich in vitamins

People should also talk to their doctor about the best ways to avoid getting ill during pregnancy. Most doctors recommend people have a flu shot to prevent the flu while they are pregnant.

Does sneezing affect the baby?

Sneezing during pregnancy will typically not harm the baby. The baby is well-protected in the uterus, and a hard sneeze will not affect the baby. The only time that sneezing may be difficult for the baby is if the sneezing is the symptom of an underlying illness. In these instances, it is the causal illness that may affect the baby, not the sneezing itself.

READ ALSO: Shortness of Breath During Pregnancy: Possible Causes

Does sneezing while pregnant influence the baby’s sex?

Sneezing cannot change or determine the sex of the baby in spite of numerous tales, stories, and myths stressing ways to influence the sex of the baby. A baby’s sex is determined at conception by a chromosome from the male’s sperm.

Can a pregnant woman sneeze out her baby?

No, a pregnant woman cannot sneeze out her baby. Sneezing will not cause a pregnant woman to go into labor. During labor, contractions help guide the baby out of the uterus through the open cervix.


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