Pressure, Stuffiness, and Clog in Ears During Pregnancy?

One of the most annoying things in pregnancy that comes and goes for me is “hearing my own heartbeat” in my ears. It feels like I’m on a plane and the pressure is developing and I can hear myself talk, hear my heart beat, or water got into my ears during swimming. I don’t know if you explain it as “pressure,” “stuffiness”, “a clog,” or whatever but those of you pregnant out there know what I mean if you have it.

Today I had the pleasure of having it for a a full day, yesterday for half a day, and other times on and off. I have it when the weather gets warm or after I walk around a bit, or for no good reason. Why is there this pressure? It could be due to several reasons. Some people really do have ear infections but for preggies, it could also be due to:

  • Excess fluid retained in the body during pregnancy
  • Increase in blood volume during pregnancy
  • Hormone changes and pressure baby is putting on your organs
  • The increase in estrogen that causes sinus problems by increasing swelling in the mucous membranes. This coupled with the blood volume mentioned above will also cause the blood vessel in the nose to swell and cause congestion.

I don’t feel like I’m congested but maybe I am and don’t even know it. One of my friends got congestion so bad during pregnancy she was using nasal sprays all day (which by the way is NOT recommended because you could end up relying on it and it losing it’s potency). Any medication to me is a big “no” during pregnancy if it’s not life or death situation. I read that some woman took prednisone (a strong steroid) to get rid of this during pregnancy and I ask the question “why would you increase any risk to your baby just to get rid of some small annoyance everyday that’s not life threatening but could be detrimental to your child?” I don’t understand some women. My suggestion to those women is please think again. It’s only 40 weeks but it could have lifetime effects to your child. Do you really want to see your child suffer?

Anyway, so many women are looking for ways to get rid of this. Some may work and others may not but these are safe suggestions you could at least try. If they all don’t work…sorry, please be patient. If it’s due to pregnancy, then it will go away right after birth. Hang in there!

Here’s the list of safe remedies:

  • Yawn – this could equalize any uneven pressure in your ears just like how you would on the plane to get rid of uneven pressure. Yawn long and hard several times.
  • Use Ear Candles – these are at some specialty health stores and they clean out your ear wax really good. Some women have had relief just by using this.
  • Blow Your Nose – get rid of that sinus or clear that pressure of your nose if you do have that sinus. Even if you don’t feel like you have clogged sinus, just do it and see if it would equalize the pressure or stir up something in there.
  • Use Vick’s Vaporizer – steam your sinus away. I haven’t tried this but worked for some.
  • Lean Forward and Invert Your Head a Bit and Breathe Deeply – this one sounded funny but it worked for some women! Doesn’t hurt to try! It may move the mucous around I guess.
  • Drink Lots of Water – if your problem is caused by water retention, drinking plenty of water makes sure you’re getting rid of excess water retention in the body and therefore, decrease that pressure in your ears.
  • Breathe in Fast and Deeply – do this like sniffing your snot down when you are sick. Do it a couple times in repetitive motion and see if it goes away.

I hope this helped somewhat. It was driving me crazy today to try to find out what it is. Please share any other remedies you guys may have!

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34 Responses to Pressure, Stuffiness, and Clog in Ears During Pregnancy?

  1. Modi says:

    This happens to me all the time with this pregnancy. So frustrating!

  2. T says:

    It’s easy to be critical of those who are willing to take the meds for relief when you yourself might no be prone to severe panic attacks like some of us are when our ears are blocked up, or perhaps our noses are 100% blocked w/ congestion. This is compounded by the fact that some of us are are having to hold down a full time job supporting our family while we’re suffering horribly from this and losing a ton of sleep every day because these issues make it extremely difficult to achieve a quality of quantity of sleep. Don’t you dare judge.

    • hoghugs says:

      But wouldn’t it be worse if you found out your baby may be unhealthy because you wanted relief? For me, that would cause me a lifetime of pain rather than 3 to nine months of temporary relief. I wouldn’t feel guilty but I’m just super careful. May be too careful. You’ll have to use your own best judgement. 

      • A says:

        I agree completely with T. Until you’ve been in someone else’s situation, there is no need for judgment. Prednisone bursts to help with congestion are completely safe. Granted it is temporary relief (2-3 weeks) since hormones are causing the congestion and that won’t resolve until after the baby is born, it can be extremely helpful (not to mention beneficial to both mom and baby) for someone experiencing congestion that is not alleviated by any method hoghugs suggests. Hoghugs, consider yourself very lucky that you have not experienced any extremely uncomfortable pregnancy related conditions that have necessitated medication. If you were completely congested for 6 months, requiring you to be a mouth breather and becoming a zombie due to inadequate sleep, I’m sure you would consider medications as well. There are plenty of safe medications for pregnancy issues and to say that all medications are a big “no” is inaccurate.

      • hoghugs says:

        How would you know it is completely safe? Because the doctor said so? The doctor told me to give up an ovary once to cut out endo and said it is the only way to have a baby with the other ovary…obviously I didn’t do it….

        Anything that goes to the bloodstream goes to the baby as well. I have symptoms from pregnancy that still is with me after 10 months! Anyway, I believe the choice is yours but if it is short term, I will try to bare it. Then again, I have an extremely high pain and stress tolerance… So yes, my comments aren’t really for everyone.

      • Emma says:

        I agree with A & T as well. Until the last two weeks, I’ve dealt with it. However, with allergy season in full swing, it feels more like a bad ear infection. I’ve had two migraines as a result, and also can’t hear (which is necessary as my job as a professor). I am choosing not to take my regular allergy medicine since it is listed as category C (although the two articles that made it category C used a dose MUCH higher than what humans take, and the studies were done in humans). Will I seek professional help? I already have and have yet another appointment. It’s not a minor inconvenience if it is easily remedied with safe medication, without which would lead to other problems.

        Will I research everything before I take anything? Of course. Just like I did for Zofran- Zofran allowed me to keep my very necessary thyroid meds in my system. Without Zofran, I would have not been able to keep the thyroid meds down long enough for them to absorb. Without the thyroid meds, I probably would have had another miscarriage or done serious long term harm to my child. The benefits completely outweigh the risks.

    • I’ve managed to avoid meds thus far, but I do agree – the panics attacks I get when my ears get blocked are pretty severe. Considering I already have hypertension, the effects on the baby aren’t good either way. I feel so guilty for not enjoying this pregnancy, but wow does it get hard some day :(

      • hoghugs says:

        try to feel good that there is an end date! However once your baby is born, they don’t have end dates…stuck with them forever….hahaha….

  3. Courtney says:

    I’ve had this problem for three days and it still hasn’t went away! What do i do? I think it’s because i’m pregnant but I don’t know. Can someone tell me why this is happening? This is my first pregnancy and i can’t find anything to get it to go away.

  4. ariel says:

    my ears are clogggggggeddd as we speak and imonly 4 weeks ! such a long ride ahead of me

    • hoghugs says:

      Yikes! Hang in there! Maybe it will go away. Have you gone to the ob and make sure it is pregnancy related? 

  5. bubble_girl says:

    OMG! Thank you for this post. Stuffy ears was one of my first symptoms. It’s been difficult teaching my classes because I can’t hear what the kids are asking me. The bending forward tip really worked for me. Thank you Thank you Thank you.

  6. kelly says:

    You really should know what the hell you’re talking about before you’re so quick to judge. Prednisone stopped my asthma attacks when nothing else would. If baby doesn’t get enough air, he won’t develop enough to survive.leaving certain maladies untreated is FAR worse than taking medication. And as many others have pointed out, not all medicine is bad in pregnancy. It’s all about whether it crosses the placenta barrier, which prednisone does not. Some people just look for reasons to judge. Make sure you aren’t spouting anti-scientific crap next time before you do.

    • hoghugs says:

      I did the site to help women… You are mad because you think I insulted you which is not my intention. I am just trying to share my result and research with other women and making information “free”… I am glad to hear you helped your baby breath better and if you are not breathing and putting your baby in danger, then yes, seek help! As a mom I would do what is best for baby… That is all what my intentions were… Why do some people always take good intentions the wrong way? If you read my blog, you will know I had so much trouble trying to conceive and I did this blog to help…

  7. April says:

    Vicks is not supposed to be good during pregnancy.

  8. HK says:

    I’m five months and my right ear (and it is always the right one) is getting clogged rather frequently, and sometimes it gets real bad. First time I got it, I mistook as am impacted wax and got it cleared up by an ENT. Eventhough he diagnosed my case as foreign wax impaction, I have not really had any ears troubles all my life. I was rather surprised when I saw this coming again in less than a week and wondered if it could be related to pregnancy. I found out it was due to overaccumulation of ear fluid due to oestrogen and progesterone. Also, since it is related tomy posture, movement of face etc., I know it is fluid imbalance and nothing else. Foreign wax won’t move with you, afterall! Now I am only learning to bear with this becasue I know I can do with this and clearing up woon help, as clogging can happen again and again! Just a few homoeopathic ear drops for temporary relief, and nothing else!

  9. J says:

    I get this every month after ovulation and it gets worse and worse until my period starts. It is definitely related to hormones. It is getting worse as I get older too. This month, I got it for a few days after my period ended. I’m concerned it will stick with me one day and just never go. Having had this a number of years now, I have researched and it is called “patulous Eustachian tube”. It has a wiki page, and some other info, like this:

    http://voices.yahoo.com/do-suffer-patulous-eustachian-tubes-2005038.html

    Unfortunately, especially for me (for whom this is unrelated to an end date like pregnancy), there are few solutions. Some are trialling things and some have found some success.

    • hoghugs says:

      try the estrogen free diet on my site. we call it endometriosis diet. If it is hormone related, then it should help.

  10. topher says:

    Um, ear candling not only doesn’t work, but can be quite dangerous. I’d say take that off the list! Google it!

  11. Lara says:

    My ears have been getting clogged lately at my 6th month of pregnancy. This is my fourth preganacy and I have never felt like this before. My forehead aches too and when I lean forward my forehead has pressure in it. I thought is was due to allergies but now that I read everyones comments it could be due to drinking less water than usual. The things we go through to have a baby.

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  13. Victoria Lessing says:

    Thank you for sharing this information. I am 39 weeks pregnant and I have all symptoms listed here stuffy nose/ears and I have had several panic attacks. I have been vomiting for about 5 – 10 hours on average and I went in and out of hospital 6 times now as doctor put an injection to give me a fluid and it worked well. I think it is because its my second pregnancy and it is getting heavier on my body. Also I have a job to do and look after my 1 years and half old boy. But we are so happy that the end of pregnancy is coming very soon… Yay. Thanks for sharing and best wishes to you all. Blessings :)

    • hoghugs says:

      So brave of you to take care of your baby and be pregnant!!! You’re almost there! Hurray! Have a great delivery !

  14. Amazon07 says:

    I have the same problem and it is annoying the hell out of me! For me 100% natural sea water nasal spray (called Sterimar) really helps and acupuncture helped too – might need repeat treatments though as it does come back.

  15. Amy Heise says:

    Im 3 months pregnant and I have this problem. It feels like I have a cold in my head. Pressure in my head and I get that darn tunnel hearing crap. It feels like I have fluids in my left ear. I hate it cause when it happens I cant think. Im gonna call my doc monday and see what he says.

  16. Jaime says:

    Omg I’m having this right now at 26 weeks and so thankful I’m not alone. Never had ear problems before and man do I feel like I really under appreciated my hearing before! Started with just the left ear, and now it’s both. No wax or anything just pressure/ringing/popping sounds and an occasional heart beat sound. I was scaring myself reading online horror stories about people dealing with this for 15 plus years with no relief so I feel better knowing it could be pregnancy relate. I actually went to the dr and was put on those meds because I was having panic attacks about it but they didn’t even work :/ due in December so hoping it lets up before then…if not I hope soon after delivery it will!

  17. Rainier Wolfcastle says:

    Ear candling is pseudoscientific, dangerous, and ineffective. Don’t waste your time with this “folk” remedy.

  18. Caite says:

    I personally have always tried it avoid any medication during pregnancy-just my personal choice. However, there are a great many risks to the baby during pregnancy resulting from a mother being in pain, excess stress, etc. Excessive pain or stress that go untreated could cause any number of issues, including increased blood pressure, which certainly can have an adverse effect on the baby!

  19. Anu Ratha says:

    I am pregnant now.. 9 weeks. and my ears n nose are blocked up. I am feeling difficult to sleep everyday.My uncle is an ENT specialist n he told me to use the menthol crystal.. thats the only safe thing to use during your pregnancy. in fact he advised me to not take any medication if possible.drink more WARM water n workout. I was told that all those ear n nose block will go away within a week after ur delivery. :) . I personally dont prefer to take any medicine. and to those pregnant ladies out there, if you can hang on, please dont take any medication unless if u cant take it.. or u cant breath,please refer to your ENT/OB to get the proper n safe medication.

    PS: this is my first pregnancy tho =)

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