If you are pregnant, then this post is for you! The first thing you should know is, everything changes when you become pregnant. That is, from the size of your belly to your heart rate, for over nine months up to childbirth. When you’re expecting, your immune system is also naturally decreased. It runs slower than usual, which is a good thing, as this lower defense system is your body’s way to make sure the baby is protected and stops your body from fighting the fetus off as a foreign body. But, the downside of this immune suppression is, you become more susceptible to illness.
When seasons like winter or monsoon come, you more vulnerable to a stuffy nose, cough, sore throat and cold during pregnancy. This is not something to panic about, cold during pregnancy isn’t dangerous to your baby. The upside to even the nastiest cold symptoms is knowing your baby isn’t experiencing any of these. The wombs environment is completely keeping it safe. The downside is, in the past, you might have taken over-the-counter medicines but now you cannot.
MANAGING COUGH AND COLD DURING PREGNANCY
According to the University of Michigan Health System and most doctors, it’s best to avoid all medications in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. This is a critical time for your baby’s development of vital organs. Doctors recommend caution after 28 weeks. Make sure you visit your practitioner and tell him or her about all your symptoms, including any fever. If necessary, your doctor will prescribe you cold medications that are considered safe during pregnancy.
Cough and colds are mostly uncomfortable but can be managed with rest, lots of fluids and patience. I rarely get a cough or cold, but I can never forget the severe cold during pregnancy with my first child. That was horrible! I already had a migraine, which made the situation worse than I thought. I’ll be honest with you, I was a bit scared of taking any medications since it was my first pregnancy and I wasn’t sure what was good or bad for me. Plus, the morning sickness for the first trimester had already taken a toll on me.
I did my extensive research on few tips for treating cough and cold during pregnancy that was all-natural. You see, prevention is the best medicine and better than cure. So, I incorporated a few habits to prevent getting sick in the first place. Here are a few measures you can take to treat a cold and to feel better.
HOW TO TREAT COUGH AND COLD DURING PREGNANCY
Although most of the medications that relieve cough and cold symptoms are typically off-limits during pregnancy, that certainly doesn’t mean you have to remain sick while you’re pregnant. Some of the most effective cold remedies don’t come from the pharmacy shelf. So, I’m sharing some of the good tips that can help you feel better faster:
It is important for pregnant women and their babies’ o have cough vaccination for up to six months after birth. Remember to stay up to date on the vaccination schedule. Not getting sick at all is illogical, but this will prevent your cold symptoms to worsen.
It is always a good choice to keep yourself active even when you are pregnant. Rest is good on the other side but, staying active will make you feel a lot better especially while you are sick. There are many ways you can exercise while you are pregnant. You can try some good pregnancy-safe exercises that may actually help you to feel better.
HAVE A BALANCED DIET
It is crucial to take care of yourself when you are a pregnancy to take care of your baby. Make sure you are eating plenty of foods to boost your metabolism. Sure, you probably don’t have much of an appetite, eating nutritiously and getting good amount of rest will help you with some of your cold symptoms. Focus on foods with vitamin C and zinc to help boost your immune system naturally. Try all types of citrus fruits oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, kiwi, tomatoes, bell peppers, papaya, broccoli, red cabbage, and spinach. pregnant women should aim to get 11-15 mg of zinc from all sources, including your prenatal vitamins daily. Eat turkey, beef, cooked oysters, eggs, yogurt, and oatmeal.
It is so important to maintain your hygiene in order to avoid contact with germs around you. Keeping your hygiene in check will prevent you from getting cold around those who already have the symptoms of fever or cold. Take extra effort to wash your hands more frequently when you are doing chores around your house. It’s great if you take hot baths, this will help you relax as well. But in spite of your best efforts, you still may become ill and while preventing illnesses is the same for pregnant and non-pregnant women, treating them is not.
GET SUFFICIENT REST
Taking a cold to bed doesn’t necessarily mean to shorten its life span, but if your body needs rest, you should give it. I understand, there is a lot going on with our bodies and mood when we are pregnant, but get extra rest, relax your body. This will help your body to recuperate better than anything else.
Take naps, if not at least sit and relax while you do your favorite stuff. If you have a severe cold, I recommend sleeping with your head slightly inclined for better sinus drainage and to make it easier for you to breathe through the stuffy nose. Give your body the time it needs to get better.
TAKE YOUR SUPPLEMENTS
If you come down with a pregnancy cold or cough, you have to let it run its course. During that time it’s also important to be sure to get adequate parental vitamins & minerals, which contains vitamin C and zinc, the smartest strategy when you’re fighting a cold.
(P.S Don’t take other supplements beyond your prenatal without your doctor’s approval)
I’m no doctor, but there are some of the supplements, I know, you can have during pregnancy listed below. These are some of the supplements I had during my pregnancy.
Vitamin C: You can have your Vitamin C supplements 500 mg every 3-4 hours with a small amount of food. You can cut back on the dosage if stools become loose or you’re experiencing bloating and cramping.
Zinc: You can take 30-50 mg once daily with a small amount of food. This is great as it tremendously helps in keeping the cold and cough at bay.
Allicillin: This is a concentrated garlic compound which is known to fight with viruses and bacteria. You can consume 200mg to 400mg 1-4 times daily.
(P.S Don’t take any medications without approval from your doctor)
Fever, sneezing and flu causes your body to lose more fluids that you and your baby need. When you’re pregnant, your body needs more fluids than you think, so it’s important for you to drink plenty of clear fluids (water is the best) to stay hydrated. When it comes to sore throat, you can follow an old wives’ tale, it actually works. Soothe your sore throat with honey added to hot water or tea. You can also have lemon or ginger candies. Drink lots of warm beverages to stay hydrated and lessen your congestion. They’re noticeably better at providing relief from flu, cough, sneezing, a sore throat, and tiredness compared with drinks that are room temperature. You can also have hots soups like chicken broth next to your bed and can enjoy it using your favorite show. Water and cold juices work fine if you’re thirsting for that.
RELIEVE CONGESTION NATURALLY
Natural is always the best. If the dry conditions in your home aggravate your cough or cold, you can use a cold or hot humidifier to mist the room. Try not to use warm –air version in kids’ room, just for the sake of safety. Elevate your head, while sleeping as this will let you breathe easily. Nasal strips can help a lot and they are sold over the counter and are completely drug-free. Just a couple of teaspoons straight has been shown a remarkable help to suppress any kind of dry cough or cold just like and OTC cough syrup. Use saline nasal spray or neti pot to relieve congestion naturally, better to use any over-the-counter medications.
Gargling 2-3 times daily with warm salt water after brushing your teeth and tongue can ease a scratchy or sore throat, wash away post nasal drip and help control a cough. Just by adding 1/4 teaspoon of salt or xylitol to 8 ounces of warm water can work wonders for you. Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from birch or corn. Its natural anti-bacterial properties block the adherence of bacteria to the mucous membranes. Using it as a sweetener has been shown to inhibit ear infections as well.
WARM COMPRESS AND HOT BATH
Viruses do not like high temperatures, inducing artificial fever can greatly reduce the length of cough or cold. So how do you actually induce artificial fever? It can be done by warm compress or simply spending some quality time in a hot bath. Warm compresses several times a day can alleviate your pain so taking the hot bath will kill the virus itself. Take a hot bath, remove yourself and wrap up in warm clothes. Then climb under covers to sweat. This is how you can induce artificial fever and reduce the length of your sickness. In most cases, a cold and cough during pregnancy will not harm your baby, so there is no need to panic. Just stay comfortable in this time of extra rest.
After trials and error and talking with my doctor, I determined that time, despite the medications you take, time and rest is really the answer for pregnant moms who come down with a cold or cough. So, make sure you are taking plenty of rest and staying comfortable as much as you can.