Treating an Ear Infection

Topic: Treating an Ear Infection During Pregnancy

You expected lots of amazing changes with pregnancy, but some of them might still surprise you. Case in point: Being pregnant might give you a higher chance of getting an ear infection, of all things.

Ear infections during pregnancy may happen for several reasons. They’re usually relatively harmless and easily treated.

But see a doctor if you have any kind of infection during pregnancy. If left untreated, ear infections can be harmful for your health and to your growing baby — and in rare cases may lead to complications.

Causes of ear infections during pregnancy

Infections in general are more common when you’re pregnant. And ear, nose, and throat changes during pregnancy might increase your risk of ear infections in particular. An ear infection can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection.

Pregnancy changes that may make this more likely include:

Higher basal metabolic rate (BMR). During pregnancy, your body requires increased oxygen levels and blood volume. This means that your heart also works harder to move all this fluid around. You might get an earache — though not necessarily an infection — if there’s fluid buildup inside the ear.

Hormonal changes. During pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone levels go up. These hormones can affect your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness from bacteria and viruses. However, the exact link between hormones and infections isn’t entirely clear.

More fluid. Increased blood flow means more fluid staying in your body. This can lead to other side effects. For example, you may have noticed that during pregnancy you often have a stuffy nose. More fluid in your nose and sinuses during pregnancy might increase the risk of an ear infection.

Topic Discussed: Treating an Ear Infection During Pregnancy

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