It’s that time of year again – the winds are cooler, the leaves are changing and everyone has a pumpkin spiced latte in hand. It’s also cold season, and if you’re pregnant you my may have noticed yourself getting more coughs and colds than usual.
In a typically amazing move, your body innately tunes your immune system down to low to keep your body from fighting off the new foreign element growing inside of you – your unborn baby. Unfortunately, as a result of this immune suppression, you are more vulnerable to coughs, colds, sore throats and the flu.
Here are some tips on how to deal with seasonal coughs and colds.
Get vaccinated against the flu (read more here).
Treating your symptoms during pregnancy is not so straightforward. You should never take any medication without first checking with your doctor to ensure it is safe during pregnancy. Many medications contain substances that have yet to be tested for safety during pregnancy and may present a risk to your baby’s healthy development.
If you need to take painkillers, take the recommended dose of paracetamol. Avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, codeine and painkillers that contain a combination of drugs.
Don’t take medicated nasal sprays.
Don’t take any homeopathic remedies without speaking to your doctor first – this includes echinacea or an overdose of vitamins. Avoid taking too much Vitamin C as well. Your body can only absorb a little at a time anyway – most of it will get flushed down the toilet. Ask your doctor what your recommended daily dosage should be.
If your cough or cold is not severe or accompanied by a high fever – let it run its course.
Boost your immune system by eating a healthy diet. This is the best way to get the vitamins you need. This should include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to help fight infections. Get plenty of water and fluids throughout the day like herbal teas and broth and take your prenatal vitamins. Incorporate ingredients with virus fighting compounds – like garlic, cardamon, cinnamon and cloves.
Get plenty of rest and keep stress to a minimum. Too much stress can further weaken your immune system.
Try saltwater gargles to relieve sore throat pain (about a teaspoon per cup of warm water). Honey is also soothing on a sore throat. If you can’t take it on its own, add it to warm water with some lemon.
If you have a persistent cough or cold, a high fever, are feeling dizzy or having trouble breathing, call your doctor. This could be indicative of a secondary infection that needs to be treated.
Always tell your health care provider that you are pregnant – especially if they are prescribing antibiotics to you.