Earache and Pregnancy: Symptoms, Remedies, and Medication

Updated on April 21, 2017
Louise0711 profile image

When I was nearly 17 weeks along in my pregnancy, I developed a throbbingly painful earache. This is what I did to relieve the pain.

I'm Pregnant and Have Earache: What Can I Do?

I am nearly 17 weeks pregnant and last night, at about 10:30 p.m., I came down with the most painful earache, which is still throbbing as I write. (I have taken paracetamol/acetaminophen which enables me to write this.)

As any pregnant women will know, when you become ill it's difficult to know what's safe to do and take. This article details how I've coped with my earache, as well as which home remedies, natural cures, and painkillers you can take. It also explains what a doctor can do for a pregnant woman with this condition.

Hopefully it will be helpful to any others who may be in the same situation.

I have found lots of resources, videos, and links that may be useful, and I have featured them, below.

My Earache and Pregnancy Story

I am just coming to the end of a cold. My ears have been getting blocked up all week, but then going back to normal, with no pain.

However, last night I started to feel a blocked sensation in my ear. This quickly became painful. I went to bed about 11:30 p.m. and dozed in and out of sleep. An hour later, the pain woke me up properly. I think that lying down made my condition worse. My symptoms included:

  • slight loss of hearing
  • muffled hearing
  • pain and throbbing in ear
  • a pressurised feeling in ear
  • hearing my pulse (quite loudly)
  • some pain along my jaw

I couldn't lie in bed for any longer, so I went downstairs and researched some home remedies.

Heat to Numb the Pain

There are lots of home remedies out there for earache. For the pain, a lot of people recommend using heat to help numb the pain. Some ways of doing this include:

  • Holding a warm towel, or flannel, against your ear—Heat the towel on the heater, or perhaps in the tumble dryer. Make sure its warm and not hot. Otherwise, you may burn your face.
  • Using a hairdryer on a low heat—Hold it about eight to ten inches away from your ear. (I have not tried this, so can't vouch as to whether it works.)
  • Wrap a warm, hot water bottle with a towel and hold it next to your ear. (This is what I did, and the heat really did help.)
  • Warm up an oven-safe plate, wrap it in a towel, and rest your aching ear right on it.

Please note, when using heat, exercise caution. Otherwise, you may burn your face and have even more pain to worry about.

More Home Help for Earache During Pregnancy

Here are some more tips for helping earache without medication:

  1. Sit upright: This helps decreases swelling and pressure. It also helps aid your eustachian tubes in draining themselves out. (I think that this is one of the reasons earache can get worse at nighttime).
  2. Warm olive oil: Warm a few drops and put it into your ear using an ear dropper. I have not tried this because I was a bit worried about putting something into my ear when it was so sore, but a lot of people seem to use it with positive effect. An important note: You should not use olive oil if your eardrum has burst.

More Home Remedies for Earache

There are lots of home remedies for earache. I haven't tried any others as many of them involved putting olive oil or other substances such as garlic in your ear. I didn't really want to put anything in my ear and to be honest didn't have the energy to try any other remedies so I can't recommend any.

How to Get Rid of Ear Infections Without Antibiotics

A useful video on a technique you can use right away to try to get rid of an ear infection without antibiotics.

What Medications to Take for Earache Pain During Pregnancy

My midwife has already advised me that its okay for me to take paracetamol/acetaminophen during pregnancy, but I don't like taking any medication, so I suffered all night with hardly any sleep and just heat against my ear.

However, this morning I had had enough and my husband went and purchased some paracetamol. It has offered me some relief. My ear still feels pressured and blocked, and my hearing is not great at the moment, but the pain has eased somewhat.

Paracetamol/acetaminophen is okay for most pregnant women to take. However, it is important to check with your health provider (midwife, doctor) before taking it as every pregnant women is different, and there may be reasons why you can't take it.

Visit to the Doctors

As soon as my doctor's office opened I was on the phone. Again, I'm not one to see the doctor if I can help it, but the pain was so bad. I got an appointment for 11:10 am. Thank God for the National Health Service in the UK. In my experience, I never have any problem getting an appointment with my doctor when needed one, and I am so thankful every time.

The doctor looked in my ear and told me it looked red and was infected. The doctor confirmed taking paracetemol/acetaminophen is fine, although its always best to take it only when it is absolutely essential. I have been given antibiotics which I have started to take. Hopefully they will have some effect in 48 to 72 hours.

Links Between Earache and Pregnancy

Since having earache during pregnancy, I have wondered whether there may be some kind of link between being pregnant and this condition. All I have is anecdotal and personal experience, with no hard evidence, but I suspect there may be some kind of link. I have read that the amount of fluid your body retains when your are pregnant could lead to earache and blocked ears.

From personal experience, I never had an earache before being pregnant, or since being pregnant, that I can remember. There are a lot of discussions on pregnancy forums about women having this condition during pregnancy so it is quite common but I couldn't say it's more common than earache among non pregnant women.

My sister-in-law had blocked ears for the last two weeks of her pregnancy, which drove her crazy. But as soon as she gave birth her ears unblocked.

Also, this article currently receives over 700 visits each week! So there are a lot of pregnant women out there with this issue.

Have You Suffered From Earache During Pregnancy?

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Do you have any feedback, tips, or comments regarding suffering with earache during pregnancy? Please feel free to comment below.

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    • profile image

      Faith 

      12 months ago

      Im 21 weeks high fever head ache my throat and now my ear . 5am crying to my mom 7 am went to the store to get advil then took a hot bath remind you the pain on right ear . after 10 minutes it stop . now i slept the whole entire day to 4pm . I get up fine but at 6pm my left ear is hurting so bad never felt this pain before i try warm cloth didnt work . i couldnt go back to sleep

    • profile image

      Rekha Murali 

      15 months ago

      I got my ear pain along with pain in my jaw at 18 weeks but it subsided after 3 days, but I never googled to find that out thinking it's not related to being preg. Thank you for the post atleast I am relaxed to know it's noral despite pain

    • profile image

      Charity 

      17 months ago

      I have had this earache for a week now and all the urgent care doctor gave me was prescribed ear drops.. It hurts worse now than it did before.. Hopefully a remedy can help.

    • profile image

      liliS 

      20 months ago

      At 17 weeks I started to feel discomfort in my left ear. Sometimes is a combination of left itchy ear-throat side. I saw an ENT and everything look ok. What Can I do? I don't suffer of allergy. Can I develop a alleges during pregnancy? Thanks

    • profile image

      Rebecca 

      22 months ago

      I found this post extremely helpful. I'm currently waiting for a call back from the out of hours service because like you I've had a 'common cold' for almost 2 weeks now and what I thought was the back end of it has developed in the last 6 hours into severe ear ache and sore throat. In my whole 34 weeks pregnancy I haven't touched any pain relief I have simply used a hot water bottle for almost everything. Although tonight I have had paracetamol it just became so unbearable! Anything like this on top of heavily pregnant isn't the most joyful. Hope it didn't take you long to recover!

    • profile image

      Missy 

      23 months ago

      I was dying of pain 2days no sleep waiting for labour. Doc gave me sofradex ear/eye drops a course of moxypen and said to have some ponado all 3 morning afternoon and evening. After 35 to 40 mins of each dose your sure to get a good 3 to 4 hour nap. I'm 40 weeks + and was really about to go to emergency room for the pain during night. I just had to hold it till doc was available and so glad I did going for my second dose and nap now. Inflamation already seems to be going down. Was sore from the earlobe to the throat.

    • profile image

      Rockinmama 

      23 months ago

      In incredible amount of pain, so good to read the same symptoms here, good to know that lying down makes it worse as I can't sleep at all! Just finished another ear infection in the other ear so nearly profoundly deaf now as doc won't allow me to syringe as it might cause more damage.

    • profile image

      Shampa 

      24 months ago

      each time i turn to my right my left ear throbs like there are air bubbles bursting inside my ear, no pain but constant ear bubbles bursing sestion, so i have turn to my left and it will be alright.

    • profile image

      MommaC 

      2 years ago

      Since I got pregnant I've had swollen sinus, then I got the worst earache I ever had in my life...

    • sarita garg profile image

      sarita 

      4 years ago from Hisar

      Thank you so much for the advice.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for the advice. Doing the research for my wife who is 11 weeks. I will try the tumble dry towel technique. Will repost tomorrow to share her results

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      Oh this pain it awful am 18weeks pregnant just come on me left ear 1 of the worst pains eva hot water bottle try the heat can not sleep at all :(

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      I am struggling with the same thing at the moment. I only get ear aches when I am pregnant and It feels like someone is kicking a pen into each of my ears. The only relieve I have found is with heat. I grab a pair of really soft socks and then fill one of the socks with rice and then place that sock in the other sock and tie a knot on the end and toss into the microwave. It's the only thing that helps me get any sleep at all.

    • profile image

      toshtao 

      6 years ago

      This is why you should clean your ears at least once every other day to prevent earaches. Wax buildup is the leading cause of such problems. earache remedies

    • namcam profile image

      namcam 

      6 years ago

      Wow. As if mums-to-be don't have enough problems already! I didn't know about the earache, so all I can offer at this stage is sympathy!

    • profile image

      simonweb 

      6 years ago

      Apply two drops of olive or mineral oil into the ear twice a day until pain subsides. Wax buildup can cause an earache from pain and pressure of hardened or blocked wax in the ear canal. Read more: http://www.home-remedies-website.com and http://www.home-remedy.info

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      HelloI am currently sitting on my sofa at 1:47am as i was keeping my husband awake and he has to be up for work in 3 hours.I am suffering with a really nasty ear infection.I am 30 minutes away from being able to take my next paracetamol dose.I purchased a heat pad from Argos today for 20 and it does help a little with the pain.I just wish i could take ibuprofen as i know that would really help but my little baby inside is more important and i guess i will just have to suffer. If anyone has any advice on how to reduce the pain i would appreciate it.Oh....i have also just discovered that lying down does make it worse. So does bending.Good luck fellow ear pain sufferers

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      IVe suffered from earache for the past 2 months everyday. My GP could find no infection and it gets worse when I get heartburn... Im currently 35 weeks

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