Is It Common to Have an Earache During Pregnancy?

While earaches are not exclusively associated with pregnancy, they can occur more frequently during this time. Ear pain and blocked ears are relatively common complaints among pregnant women. The exact prevalence is not well-documented, but anecdotal evidence suggests that a significant number of expectant mothers experience these symptoms.

Is Earache a Symptom of Pregnancy?

An earache or blocked ear is not typically considered a symptom of pregnancy itself. However, certain physiological changes that occur during pregnancy can contribute to the development of these conditions. Understanding the underlying causes can shed light on why they are more prevalent in expectant mothers.

What Causes Ear Pain During Pregnancy?

  1. Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations in hormone levels, such as increased estrogen and progesterone, can affect the body's fluid balance. This hormonal imbalance may lead to the accumulation of fluids in the middle ear, resulting in discomfort and pain.
  2. Blood Pressure: Pregnancy often brings about changes in blood pressure, and high blood pressure can cause ear-related problems. It can affect the blood vessels in the ears and disrupt the normal circulation, leading to earaches.
  3. Immune System: Pregnancy alters the immune system to protect both the mother and the growing fetus. However, this immune system modulation can also make pregnant women more susceptible to infections, including those affecting the ears.
  4. Sinus Congestion: Nasal congestion and sinus issues are common during pregnancy due to increased blood flow and hormonal changes. These conditions can contribute to ear pain and blocked ears.1
  5. Blood Vessels near the Ears: The increased blood flow and expansion of blood vessels near the ears can lead to a feeling of fullness and discomfort.
  6. Tinnitus: Some pregnant women may experience tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing sensation in the ears. This condition can exacerbate any existing ear pain or discomfort.

Is It Bad to Have an Earache During Pregnancy?

While earaches during pregnancy can be bothersome, they are typically not a cause for major concern. In most cases, they are temporary and subside after delivery. However, if the pain becomes severe, is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, or persists for an extended period, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

What Can You Take for an Earache While Pregnant?

When experiencing an earache or blocked ear during pregnancy, it is crucial to avoid self-medication without medical guidance. Over-the-counter medications, especially oral antibiotics, should be avoided unless specifically prescribed by a healthcare provider. Instead, it is best to consult a healthcare professional who can evaluate the symptoms and recommend safe treatment options.
Home remedies may provide temporary relief for mild earaches (see our article on Home Remedies for Ear Pain for more information). Applying a warm compress to the affected ear can help alleviate discomfort by improving blood circulation and reducing inflammation. Additionally, practicing good nasal hygiene, such as using saline nasal sprays, can help relieve congestion and indirectly ease ear pressure.

Does an Ear Infection Affect Pregnancy?

Ear infections can occur in pregnant women, just as they can in the general population. In most cases, an uncomplicated ear infection does not pose a significant risk to the pregnancy itself.2 However, if left untreated or if the infection spreads, it could potentially lead to more severe complications. Therefore, it is crucial to seek medical attention if an ear infection (middle ear infection or otitis media, or an outer ear infection) is suspected, as a healthcare professional can determine the appropriate course of treatment.

Incorporating Iron-Rich Foods in the Diet

Iron deficiency is common during pregnancy and can contribute to various health issues, including ear problems. Consuming iron-rich foods, such as lean meats, dark leafy greens, fortified cereals, and legumes, can help maintain healthy iron levels. Adequate iron intake supports overall well-being and may reduce the risk of complications that could contribute to ear pain during pregnancy.


In conclusion, while earaches and blocked ears are relatively common discomforts during pregnancy, they are typically temporary and not a cause for major concern. Understanding the potential causes and seeking appropriate medical advice is crucial for managing these symptoms effectively. By consulting a healthcare professional, expectant mothers can find relief and ensure a safe and comfortable pregnancy.


  1. Masters, M. (2022). Your Guide to the Second Trimester of Pregnancy. Retrieved from on 2 August 2023.
  2. American Pregnancy Association. (2021). Ear Infections During Pregnancy. Retrieved from
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. You should not use the information as a substitute for, nor should it replace, professional medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.