If You Get Sick While Pregnant
Maybe you were expecting some of the usual pregnancy symptoms while you’re pregnant. Like morning sickness, heartburn, and fatigue. Maybe you weren’t expecting to come down with a cold. Since your normal suppression of your immune system (so your body doesn’t reject your baby as “foreign”), makes you an easier target for germs. Not to mention it can be twice as uncomfortable when you’re sick for two, and so many of your regular remedies may need to stay on the shelf for now.
Since your normal immune system is suppressed, common colds are even more common when you’re pregnant. Good news is that you’re the only one who has to worry, your baby can’t catch your cold or be affected by it in any way. Not-so-good news is that the medications and supplements that you might be used to using to find relief or to prevent getting a cold, like ibuprofen, extra doses of vitamin C and zinc, and herbals,(like echinacea), are usually off limits when you’re expecting. Call your practitioner to find out which over the counter remedies are considered safe for pregnancy, and which will work best for your case.
Some of the most effective remedies, don’t come in a bottle and are safe for you and your baby. Here are some tips to help nip a cold in the bud before it blossoms.
Tips To Help When You're Sick
- Rest when you need it. Your body is begging for rest, especially now that there’s two of you begging for rest. If you are not running a fever or coughing, light to moderate exercise can actually help you feel better faster.
- Feed your cold, and your baby. Eat as well as you can, even knowing how little appetite you probably have. See Vitamin C rich foods, such as citrus and melon.
- Because a runny nose can cost you and your baby fluids that you need, fluids are very important. Warm fluids (like ginger tea or chicken broth) will be soothing for your sore/scratchy throat.
- Staying up, even when you’re lying down. Using a couple of pillows to elevate your head to help make it easier to breathe through a stuffy nose. You can also use nasal strips to help, or even try decongesting with a vapor rub.
- Keep your nasal passages moist. It will ease congestion, so run a humidifier, especially at night, and use saline nasal spray (it’s drug free, so you can use it as often as you need) or saline rinses. Stay away from neti pots, since they’re more apt to spread germs.
- Gargling with warm salt water(1/4 teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of warm water) can ease a sore or scratchy throat, and help control a cough.
- A couple of teaspoons of honey can suppress the kind of dry cough that often comes with and after a cold as effectively as an OTC cough syrup. If the honey is too sweet by itself, mix it with hot water and lemon.
If You Get Sick While Pregnant
A cold usually doesn’t come with a fever, but if your temperature rises to over 100°F, bring it down with acetaminophen (Tylenol) and call your practitioner. Also call if your cold is so severe that it interferes with eating or sleeping, and if you’re coughing up mucus. If you have a cough with chest pains or wheezing, if your sinuses are throbbing, or if symptoms last more than 10 to 14 days.
Be sure to get plenty of rest.