Pregnancy brings about change – some good, some bad. That amazing feeling when your baby first moves, that ever expanding bump that makes everything seem that bit more real! And then there’s morning sickness, aches and pains and disrupted sleep that can also do that for you, but it doesn’t have the same magical air about it…..
Pregnancy will also bring about changes to your immune system. As a result, you may be more susceptible to catching a common cold or worse, the flu.
If you do catch a cold or contract a cough at some point during your pregnancy, your illness may last a bit longer than you expect, but you can be reassured that symptoms generally clear up within 10days, although your cough may last longer.
There are many things that can affect your unborn baby, but the good news is, a common-cold or the flu are not typically dangerous to your unborn baby. Your best defense, is a good offense. However, it’s important to also know how to safely treat a cough or cold if you do get sick.
Minimize your chance of catching a cold or flu:
- Wash your hands often – influenza can be picked up from surfaces other infected people have touched or sneezed on. Best to wash your hands often, especially after a trip out.
- Carry antibacterial wipes for surfaces – Work areas can be swiftly sterilized with antibacterial wipes.
- Get the flu shot during flu season – flu shots are recommended for those most vulnerable – pregnant women, the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions.
- Take vitamin supplements – prenatal vitamins containing vitamin C and zinc.
- Get plenty of probiotics – i.e. yogurt or supplements
- Get plenty of rest
Home Remedies for a cold or cough:
- Get plenty of rest – Get some much needed downtime with naps, a good night’s sleep and by putting your feet up and relaxing.
- Get plenty of fluids – Add a little honey and lemon to some warm water or decaffeinated tea to help relieve a sore throat. Drink freshly squeezed juice or broth to add necessary fluids back into your body.
- Eat well – Recharge your strength eating hearty meals, or by eating smaller portions of healthy food at more regular intervals.
- Relieve congestion – Breathing warm humid air helps loosen congestion. Try using a facial steamer, a hot-mist vaporizer or even a hot shower. Sleeping in a slightly elevated position at night can also be of some help.
Natural TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Remedies:
- Mentholatum – Ointment for external use only. This ointment aids in the relief of cold symptoms – stuffy nose, chest congestion, heads cold and muscular aches. To be applied to the affected areas 3 to 45 times daily.
- Banlangel Keli – Used for relief of colds and sore throats. This TCM medicine makes a sweet tea – 1 sachet 3-4 times daily.
- Ganmao Qingre Keli – Used to treat cold symptoms such as, runny noses (with clear discharge), headaches and fever. 1 sachet 2 times daily.
- Pudilan Xiaoyan Koufuye – Used to help relieve the symptoms of sore throats. 1 dose 3 times daily.
- Jinhoujian Penwuji – An oral spray that can be safely applied 3 times daily to help reduce mucosal irritation.
- Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa – A honey based herbal syrup used to provide relief from minor sore throat and mouth irritation, it is also an effective cough syrup. 1 dose 3 times daily.
Running a fever during pregnancy can be dangerous. They have been known to cause miscarriages, particularly for women in their first trimester. A temperature of 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) or above is considered a fever.
Acetaminophen (also sold under the brand name Tylenol or Paracetamol) is the most commonly-used medication during pregnancy. It has been widely used for decades and is considered by healthcare providers to be the over-the-counter pain reliever and fever reducer of choice during pregnancy.
Normal or extra strength acetaminophen is fine to take during pregnancy, just be sure not to exceed the daily recommended dosage amount.
Seek medical advice if:
- You have trouble breathing.
- Your symptoms don’t improve or get worse after 3-4 days.
- If you feel on the mend to getting better, but later develop signs of a more serious problem.
- Signs of a more serious problem might be:
- A sick-to-your-stomach feeling
- High temperature that doesn’t respond to acetaminophen
- Chills and shakes
- Chest pain
- Coughing with thick, yellow-green or blood stained mucus
- Signs of a more serious problem might be:
Medication to avoid:
- Decongestants: Avoid any containing pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine, especially in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy as it can reduce blood flow to the placenta.
- Pain Relievers: Avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, sodium salicylate, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), especially in the third trimester.
- Liquid medicines: Some liquid cold medicines contain alcohol in concentrations as high as 4.75%. Be sure to look for products labeled “alcohol free”.
- Cold Medications: Most cold medications are made up of a combination of drugs to remedy multiple cold symptoms. Some ingredients in cold medications are considered safe for pregnant women, but others should be avoided.
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