Got a runny nose? If you’re pregnant and worried that your cold is going to affect your baby, fear not. Catching a cold during pregnancy is pretty common because mums’ immune systems are way lower than normal. Your baby is safe as long as you know how to properly treat your symptoms.
Pregnant mums cannot take the typical medicine we take for colds, because it might not be safe for your baby. Plus, no matter how common colds may be during pregnancy, we ought to do our best to prevent symptoms from getting worse; otherwise, we catch more serious infections.
So, in this article, we will give you the low-down on the medications and home remedies that you can try to suppress the mighty Achoos and give you the relief that you deserve.
How to Prevent Colds While Pregnant
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” they said, so let’s begin there. What are the ways pregnant women can avoid catching a cold?
- Always wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer. The germs that transfer to your hands and into your body are often a big reason why you would get a cold. So, the more you get used to properly and frequently cleaning your hands, the better.
Washing hands is another way to keep COVID away. Image courtesy: Pixabay
- Avoid going out or hanging out with people who are sick. No, it does not matter if you have not seen your bestie in a long time. If she has a cold, stay away. You can always just video call if you cannot wait to see each other.
2. Diet & Exercise
- Hydration is key. Drink plenty of fluids – may it be water, juice, or soup – drink up. The more liquid you have in your body, the less likely you are to get dehydrated.
- Eat healthy food. Stock up on nutrients, so your body has an army of defence when an unattended virus or germ enters your body.
- Exercise regularly. Like healthy food, exercise aids in keeping your body strong and fit. It’s added defence. Plus, exercising regularly prepares your body for an easier or even quicker delivery. If that’s not a plus to go and hop on a treadmill now, we don’t know what will.
Image Source: iStock
- Sleep well. Yes, technically it’s not a form of diet nor a form of exercise, but it’s another way of caring for your body. When you give your body enough time to sleep or rest, you give it the time it needs to strengthen your immune system. So, make sure to get your full 8 to 10 hours of sleep.
3. Vitamins & Supplements
- Take your prenatal vitamins. There is a reason why that is the first order of business when you make your first visit to your obstetrician. Your body needs all the Vitamin C and Zinc it needs to fight off any sickness that can interrupt your pregnancy.
Don’t wait until you catch a cold before you start doing all of these things. It’s smart to already adopt these tips into your daily routine, so you can prevent catching a cold.
But, of course, prevention can only do so much. Even if you have mastered, sleeping early, drinking tons of fluids, exercising day and night, and many more, you can still catch a cold. So, what do we do then?
What Medications Are Safe for Pregnant With Cold Symptoms
Here we are: the biggest question that pregnant women may ask upon noticing symptoms of a cold – can they take medicine for their cold? The answer is: it depends on which medicine. Let’s talk about them one by one:
Taking pain-relievers to treat your cold is safe, as long as you take them in the lowest allowable dosage in a short amount of time. Also, do not consume them together with other cold medicines.
The only caveat is that pain-reliever also means nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, more popularly known as naproxen, ibuprofen, and aspirin. You may run the risk of pregnancy loss when you take this type of pain-reliever due the first term of your pregnancy.
So, if you really need a strong drug to suppress your cold, best if you consult your doctor if taking NSAIDS is safe for you.
Cough Suppressants (Dextromethorphan and Guaifenesin)
Cough and colds are often a package deal. So, when you start noticing symptoms of a cold if you don’t treat those symptoms well, a cough may well come after.
So, when you do experience coughing, taking cough suppressants is safe. But, to be extra safe, get ones that are drug-free or herbal or mentholated lozenges to help relieve coughs or sore throat. This medication can help in thinning out the mucus that’s blocking your airways.
Antihistamines (Loratadine or Cetirizine)
If you’re part of the allergic rhinitis gang, you might already have this medication in your first aid cabinet or box. If you don’t have allergies, it would help to know that antihistamines help relieve runny nose, watery eyes, and non-stop sneezing.
The good news is they are relatively safe to consume during pregnancy, as soon as your OB approves of them. Some of the most well-known antihistamine brands are Benadryl, ChlorTrimeton, Claritin, Zyrtec.
Some studies appear to show that decongestants can cause birth abnormalities. So, doctors often would recommend nasal sprays instead, as they are safer to relieve congestion. However, should nasal sprays fail to decongest, you can consult your OB if taking a decongestant is safe.
Some experts have suggested avoiding decongestants during the first term of your pregnancy, so once you move on from one-third of your journey, you can ask your OB if you can take one to relieve your congestion.
Image Source: iStock
Home Remedies for Colds During Pregnancy
If you are paranoid to take any of the medications listed above, that is totally fine. You can try these home remedies to help relieve your symptoms:
- For congestion and breathing problems – elevate your head when you’re lying down; doing so will make breathing easier. Unmedicated nasal sprays, as mentioned above, are another remedy you can try. You can also try having a humidifier around your home, which can help loosen your nasal passages.
- For your cold – water therapy or carrot juice – when you have a runny nose, you can easily get dehydrated if you don’t have enough fluids in your body. So, drink up. Carrots also have dietary supplements that help fight cold-causing viruses.
- For your sore throat – try drinking some ginger tea or infusing some turmeric in warm milk. These drinks are supposedly helpful in relieving sore throat. If that does not work, you can always try a saltwater gargle.
- For coughs – honey is said to be effective in relieving dry cough.
Pregnant With Cough? 9 Ways To Cope Without Losing Your Cool
Mums, Don’t Make These 7 Common Health Mistakes During Pregnancy
Watch Out For These 7 Signs of Flu During Pregnancy
Cold vs. Flu: When to Call the Doctor
So, now you know how to treat the symptoms of your cold. You then might be asking: what if my symptoms get worse? What if I don’t get better? At what point should I start worrying and calling my OB?
Rule of thumb for all expectant mums: whenever you feel anything out of the ordinary, you should always consult with your OB. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
The viral cold usually goes away within 7 to 10 days. Also, call your doctor without delay if you experience the following symptoms:
- a fever of over 100.4° F
- severe or unusual symptoms
- symptoms that last more than 10 days
- symptoms of the flu
- shortness of breath
- violent coughing that makes it hard to breathe
- decrease in foetal movement
When you start experiencing fever, chills, and fatigue, that’s no longer a cold. That’s the flu. It’s time to be concerned. But, don’t panic. A quick call or visit to your doctor is the answer. You will most likely be prescribed antiviral medications. Take them religiously, and you will be fine.
How about prevention? What can you do to avoid getting the flu? Our first recommendation, backed by the expert opinion, of course, is to get a flu vaccination
. You can stay protected from the flu for up to 6 months after the birth of your child.
There you have it – your complete guide to pregnancy and colds. When in doubt, consult your doctor. Stay safe!
Image Source: iStock
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