Being pregnant with cough is not uncommon. It’s estimated that up to one in five pregnant women will have a dry cough at some point during their pregnancy. While a dry cough is usually nothing to worry about, it can be annoying and disruptive.
If you’re pregnant with cough, there are a few things you need to know about it:
What Causes Coughs During Pregnancy?
If you have been coughing a lot during your pregnancy, you may be worried about what is causing it. Many things can cause a cough, but the most likely reasons are what you already know about. We can shed a bit of light on you the causes:
Hormonal changes are one of the most common causes of cough during pregnancy. As your body prepares for childbirth, the respiratory system changes a lot.
Your lungs and airways expand. They prepare themselves for delivering that beautiful bundle of joy into this world (or bundle of joys). This expansion can lead to mucus buildup in your throat and bronchial tubes. This is what causes the coughing fits!
Acid reflux happens when stomach acid backs up into your oesophagus. It causes irritation and inflammation. Aside from heartburn, acid reflux can cause coughing and chest pain during pregnancy because of changes in your body’s pH levels.
Acid reflux is more likely to occur when you’re lying down or sitting up straight than when you’re sitting up at an angle or leaning back against something. This will help keep pressure off your stomach. It means that if you wake up in the middle of the night coughing from acid reflux, exercise before going back to bed!
Blood Pressure Changes
If you’re pregnant with cough, one of its causes is blood pressure changes. When pregnant, your blood vessels expand and become more sensitive to pressure changes. It can cause coughing episodes where you cough when your blood vessels expand or contract.
During pregnancy, your breasts may become engorged with milk. And that’s when they’re not producing any yet. It can result in a tickle or scratchy feeling in your throat. This leads to coughing spells as you try to dislodge the irritation.
Woman with persistent cough | Image source: iStock
Nasal drip is a common cause of cough during pregnancy. When you’re pregnant, your body produces more mucus than usual. It’s to protect your baby from infections. The mucus can then make its way down your throat and cause coughing.
Another common cause of cough during pregnancy is heartburn. Heartburn occurs when acid from your stomach regurgitates into your oesophagus. It causes a burning sensation in your chest, throat or mouth. You may experience this as a feeling like something is stuck in your throat. It can lead to frequent coughing or gagging while you sleep or eat.
The most common cause of cough during pregnancy is the common cold. A cold can be caused by viruses, bacteria or both. The most common viruses associated with the common cold include influenza virus and rhinovirus. These viruses are transmitted person-to-person through droplets in the air.
Laryngitis is a common condition that causes a sore throat, cough, and hoarseness. Inflammation and swelling in the vocal cords can cause it.
Asthma is a condition that causes inflammation and swelling in the airways. During pregnancy, this can cause an increased amount of mucus production and coughing.
Pneumonia is an infection of your lungs caused by bacteria or viruses. It can cause fever, chills, fatigue, coughing fits, and chest pain when taking deep breaths.
Bronchitis is an inflammatory condition affecting your lungs’ bronchi (air tubes). It can cause congestion and coughing.
If you have had allergies before, they will probably come back when you are pregnant. This is because you will be allergic to the same things (like pollen). Some scents can also trigger an asthma attack in pregnant women.
How Can You Relieve a Cough During Pregnancy?
There are ways to reduce or cut the need to cough during pregnancy. Here are tips for how to relieve it and some of these are home remedies:
Drinking water helps thin mucus so you can cough it up more and keep your body hydrated in general. Try drinking warm water with honey daily while you’re sick. This helps soothe sore throats and kills germs in your mouth!
It will help you stay hydrated and prevent dehydration (which can lead to more coughing). Honey is also good for relieving the itchy feeling in your throat.
Tea and honey | Image from Pexels
Clear Your Throat Regularly
The more mucus and phlegm that builds up in your throat, the more likely you’ll start coughing. And the more difficult it will be for you to stop! To clear out this buildup, take a big sip of water and swallow it down without swallowing air.
Then try humming or singing for a few seconds before swallowing again. It should help loosen up any phlegm so you can cough it out more later!
Take a Warm Shower or Bath
The steam will open up your airways and help clear out any mucus buildup that might be causing irritation or pain while coughing.
Steam inhalation is an age-old technique that proves to be effective at soothing the sinuses and opening up the lungs. People all over the world have been using it for centuries!
Boil some water on the stove and place a towel over your head while inhaling. It will cause vapour to fill your lungs and clear them out, which will help reduce your cough.
Use Salt Water Rinses or Saline Nasal Sprays
These products will help clear out mucus from the sinuses without irritating them further by drying them out with a tissue instead (which may cause more coughing!).
It will help keep the air in your home moist and breathable. It also moisturizes dry skin caused by colds and allergies during pregnancy!
Humidifier by the bed | Image from Pexels
Avoid Smoking and Smoke Exposure
One of the best ways to ease your cough is by avoiding smoking and smoke exposure.
Smoking causes many health issues in adults. This includes lung cancer and heart disease—but it also affects unborn babies! Pregnant moms who smoke put their babies at risk for low birth weight. They are also at risk for premature birth and miscarriage.
When pregnant with a cough, don’t use over-the-counter medicines without talking to your doctor. Call if you have a fever or an extremely productive cough. If you’re coughing up yellow, green, or bloody mucus, or if you’re having trouble breathing, call them.
Pregnant women want to be especially careful about what they put into their bodies and what symptoms they experience. So it’s important to note that only some home remedies for coughing are safe during pregnancy.
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Will Coughing During Pregnancy Harm Your Baby?
It’s common to be pregnant with cough, especially in the third trimester. While it’s usually nothing to worry about, a dry cough can be annoying and disruptive. If your cough is persistent or accompanied by other symptoms, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, you should speak to your doctor.
In rare cases, a dry cough can signify an underlying condition such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes. But, most pregnant women who experience a dry cough will not have any complications. If you’re concerned about your cough, speak to your doctor for peace of mind.
Image source: iStock
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