Colds During Pregnancy: Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention
Despite how much you may take care of yourself, you can still catch colds during pregnancy. It’s so easy to get sick in the cold months where you’re more likely to get a respiratory illness or the flu.
Additionally, when you’re pregnant, your immune system is mainly dedicated to protecting the baby. This can make you more vulnerable to viruses, germs and bacteria.
The main problem is that there are so few medications you can take while pregnant. That’s why there are a few things you should know about colds during pregnancy. They aren’t serious, but they can make you very uncomfortable.
Colds Usually Aren’t Serious
Catching a cold during pregnancy isn’t usually a serious problem. There are complications in very rare cases. However, it’s important to know that medicating yourself can cause serious risks for your baby.
Paracetamol and ibuprofen, commonly used in common colds, can affect your baby. Ibuprofen is associated with increased risk of miscarriage. Paracetamol is linked to neuronal conditions.
You also shouldn’t take antihistamines (allergy medicines) or cough syrup. You definitely shouldn’t take antibiotics, which aren’t even effective in treating colds.
Medications have different effects depending on how far along you are, so you should ask your doctor for advice.
Symptoms of Colds During Pregnancy
The most common symptoms of colds are:
- Sore or scratchy throat
- Nasal congestion
- Fever (either high or low)
If the symptoms get worse, you should talk to your doctor. As long as there aren’t complications, you shouldn’t take any medicine.
What to Do and Take
When you have a cold during pregnancy, there are certain things you can do to feel better.
- Hydration. Drink lots of liquids, preferably water. Natural juices without added sugar are also a good option. The best ones are juices with fruits that contain vitamin C. We also recommend vegetable soup.
- Rest. A pregnant woman needs to listen to her body. If you feel like you need to rest, you should do it. It also helps to avoid stress or emotional tension.
- Inhale steam. This is used to help relieve nasal congestion. The easiest way is to turn on the hot water in the shower and wait for the bathroom to fill with steam. Then, sit in the bathroom with the door closed for 10 minutes.
- Another way to do this is to put very hot water in a pot and add 3 or 4 drops of eucalyptus. Then, cover the pot with a towel so the steam doesn’t escape. Finally, inhale the steam.
- Saline. Apply this to your nose to decongest it. Saltwater sold at the pharmacy will also work.
- Hot drinks. Hot lemon water with honey will help relieve your sore throat.
- Gargle with salt water. This fights throat infections.
- Loose clothing. It’s not recommended to wear too much clothing because it could make your temperature rise.
- Warm baths. This is a sure way to lower your fever.
How to Prevent Colds During Pregnancy
Since colds can be very irritating during pregnancy, especially since you can’t take medication, the best thing you can do is prevent them. The best way to prevent catching a cold is to follow these tips:
- Proper diet. A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables is necessary. These foods contain nutrients that strengthen your immune system.
- Water. Drinking liquids helps clean out your body and keeps it functioning properly. We recommend avoiding sugary drinks or caffeine.
- Exercise. It activates your circulation and strengthens your immune system.
- Wash your hands frequently. This avoids spreading viruses and bacteria.
Do I Need to Go to the Doctor?
Colds during pregnancy don’t usually affect the baby. Since the woman is often uncomfortable, she may think it does. However, all pregnant women should pay attention to any changes in their body.
“Catching a cold during pregnancy isn’t usually a serious problem. There are complications in very rare cases.”
If the fever is higher than 30º or 40º, there may be an infection in your respiratory tract. In that case, your doctor will decide what type of antibiotic to give you. You should also pay attention to fainting, dizziness, or any other symptom that could indicate a more serious problem.