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While you’re pregnant, the immune system tends to take a backseat resulting in its speed lowering down compared to its usual speed. While you might be concerned about it, it is perhaps a good thing as it keeps the little growing baby protected from the body thinking of it as a foreign entity.
On the other hand, despite the immune system working on the ‘good side’, it does have downsides too. This means, with the suppressing of the immunity, the body doesn’t ward off the viruses that could result in the common cold, making you vulnerable to a stuffy nose, cough, and sore throat. These nastiest cold symptoms do not affect the baby as the womb’s environment is completely sheltered from the cold bugs.
To help you understand the symptoms and everything concerning the colds during pregnancy, we have curated the article below. Read on to know of it all:
Cold during pregnancy: The symptoms, and causes
As you normally get cold, cold during pregnancy does start with the mother experiencing a sore or scratchy throat that might last for a day or two. It is generally caused by the rhinovirus that is easily passed from person to person.
Here are a few symptoms you might experience:
- A runny, following to a stuffy nose
- Mild fatigue
- Dry cough. That may continue for a week or more post the subsiding of other symptoms
- Low-grade fever, up to 100 degrees F
- These cold symptoms last for about 10 to 14 days. However, if you experience the cold increase, let your gynecologist know to make sure it doesn’t evolve into something serious, like a secondary infection or the flu.
Is the cold you experience a cold or the flu?
To help you analyze whether what you have is a cold or the flu, here is a difference between the two:
1. A cold:
A cold is a milder form of the flu that comes with a little to no fever at all and leaves a runny nose and cough as main symptoms. While the sore throat tends to go away after a day or two.
2. Influenza, or the flu
Compared to the cold you experience, the flu or influenza is a rather severe experience that comes suddenly than the cold. Its symptoms include high fever (101 degrees F to 104 degrees F, or even higher), a headache, chills, sore throat that gradually worsens from the second or third day onwards, intense muscle soreness, weakness, and fatigue (lasts for a couple of weeks or longer). Adding to this, you may also experience occasional cough and sneezing that might become severe.
Colds during pregnancy: Remedies
Here are a few ways that will help you feel much better and healthy:
1. Take an ample amount of rest
It might not necessarily help you get over the cold, but to help aid the fatigue you experience, it is always better to take some rest to avoid the cold to worsen.
2. Try to stay active
Even though it might seem like a task with the pregnancy, try keeping yourself active. Try to do some light to moderate pregnancy-safe exercises. It will help you feel much better.
3. Maintain your diet
With your trimester, you might not have a good enough appetite, but having a healthy diet will for sure make you feel better and help aid with the cold symptoms
4. Have more vitamin C foods
Consuming enough vitamin C foods does help you boost your immunity system. These vitamin C foods include oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, strawberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, papaya, broccoli, melon, kiwi, mango, red cabbage, and spinach.
5. Munch on more zinc-containing food
Zinc helps you boost your immune system, so aim to have at least 11-15 milligrams of all sources. The foods rich in zinc include turkey, beef, wheat germ, pork, cooked oysters, eggs, yogurt, and oatmeal.
6. Stay hydrated
With the fever, sneezes, and a runny nose, your body will end up losing a lot of body fluids that are essential for both you and the baby. So, consume more amounts of warm beverages like ginger tea, hot soup, chicken broth, etcetera, that will help soothe your aches and throat pain.
7. Prenatal vitamins
These prenatal vitamins contain both vitamin C and zinc that as mentioned above, helps you aid and fight the cold. But, make sure to not have any supplements other than prenatal, even if you plan to, consult your gynecologist first.
8. Have ample amounts of rest
We understand you might experience a blockage in your nose when you try to sleep. So, try aiding the blockage with nasal strips that help you breathe easier, are sold over the counter, and are completely drug-free. You may also want to elevate your head by using a couple of pillows for ease.
9. Moisturize the surrounding air
Some mothers find their cold aggravating the sensitive nasal passages in dry conditions at home. Try misting the room with a cold or warm air humidifier during the night to help get rid of the aggravating nose and throat.
Please note, do not use the warm-air version in the baby’s or toddler’s room, for safety reasons.
10. Use saline nose drops, rinses, and sprays
Using these drops, rinses and sprays help moisten the nasal passages. They are also un-medicated and entirely safe for use when needed. Make sure to avoid neti pots as they are apt to spread germs.
11. Gargle your mouth with saltwater
Add ¼ teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of warm water, and gargle your mouth. It will help aid ease the sore or scratchy throat, and help control a cough.
12. Have honey
Consuming honey has been shown to suppress a dry cough that is experienced with or after a cold. Have 2-3 teaspoons or you may also choose to mix it with hot water with lemon.
Note: In case you plan on taking supplements, we recommend you consult your gynecologist first to avoid any alignments and make sure it’s safe. This is because there are many multi-tasking pain reliever medicines that contain ingredients not suitable for a pregnant woman. Consider the following list for better understanding.
Colds in pregnancy: What cold medications are safe to take?
If you have a fever or are suffering from body ache or headaches, have Acetaminophen. It is safe as it contains acetaminophen, like Tylenol
2. Cough medications
Medicines like Mucinex, Robitussin or Vicks Formula 44, Vicks VapoRub, etcetera are considered safe during pregnancy. However, consult your gynecologist for the doses you must take it in.
3. Nasal sprays
Nasal sprays that contain steroids are safe during pregnancy, but as mentioned, consult your doctor for the doses it must be taken in. Other than that, even plain saline sprays and drops are safe as along with aiding them with your cold, they also help clear and moisturize the most irritating stuffy nose.
Before you consume any antihistamines like Benadryl and Claritin, consult your gynecologist, as some doctors advise you to stay away from them in the first trimester of your pregnancy.
Please note – Before you take any medications, make sure to consult your gynecologist for their prescription and the doses.
Colds during pregnancy: What medications to avoid
Amongst the many options available, some medications are off-limits for pregnant moms. This is because consuming them can be harmful to the baby and may complicate your pregnancy.
These are the medicines that are to be avoided by expecting mothers to aid their colds:
1. A few pain relievers and fever reducers
Some studies show the association between certain analgesics like aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil), and naproxen (Aleve), causing pregnancy complications especially in your third trimester. These complications include low birth weight and preterm delivery.
A lot of practitioners suggest staying away from decongestants such as Claritin-D, Sudafed, or DayQuil. These are only safe to use post the first trimester, that too in a limited amount, like once or twice daily not more than for a day or two
3. Most nasal sprays
These non-steroidal nasal sprays contain oxymetazoline (like Afrin). Until and unless the gynecologist approves of it, it is recommended to stay away.
4. Homeopathic remedies
Do not consume echinacea or any supplemental vitamins like zinc or over-the-counter herbal remedies without the approval of your gynecologist
Colds in Pregnancy: How to prevent?
- To prevent yourself from cold follow the simple steps below
- Wash your hands with soap quite often
- Avoid anyone who is sick to be safe
- Use a towel to dry your hands
- Always carry a 60% alcohol gel for quick sanitizing
Despite it all, even if you end up with a cold, do not blame yourself. There is quite a high chance of catching a cold despite your best efforts as most viruses are impossible to avoid. Always know, you could aid your cold easily and this, too, shall pass.
That’s all folks! These were the do(s) and don’t(s) for our pregnant moms out here regarding the cold they experience during the trimester of their pregnancy. Also, are you looking for an article on Pregnancy cramps? Don’t worry, we’ve got you. Click and know everything about pregnancy cramps we have at Parenthood bliss.
Colds during your pregnancy are quite common to have when you’re expecting. The good news here is that your baby won’t have any danger as they are well protected in the womb. So, cool down, exercise, and have medications when needed. Also, make sure to consult your gynecologist for the required prescription and doses to be on the safer side.