Getting sick at any time is hard on its own, but during pregnancy, it’s especially challenging. During pregnancy, your immune system is often suppressed – and because of this, not all medications are safe to use. However, there are some home remedies you can use to battle cold during pregnancy; the safest is the natural cold remedies for pregnancy.
It is usually a good thing when your immune system runs at a lower speed than usual because this keeps your pregnancy protected and prevents your body from thinking that the fetus is a foreign entity. The only downside of this immune suppression is that your body does not ward off many of the viruses that cause the common cold, which can make you vulnerable to symptoms such as cough, stuffy nose and sore throat.
Symptoms of Cold During Pregnancy
A cold usually starts with a sore or scratchy throat that can last for a day or two. Then this is often followed by the gradual appearance of other symptoms, such as:
- Low grade fever (usually under 100 degrees Fahrenheit)
- A dry cough, particularly around the time when the cold is ending.
- A runny, then stuffy, nose
- Mild fatigue
Causes of Cold
Rhinovirus is the common cause of most colds. This virus is easily passed from one person to another. There are more than 200 viruses that cause cold, which is why many may get them frequently, especially pregnant women. As many as these viruses are, however, majority of them can be dealt with by using the natural cold remedies for pregnancy.
Duration of Cold During Pregnancy
Cold symptoms generally last between 10 and 14 days. But unfortunately, a pregnant woman may get another cold just as soon as one ends. If the symptoms of cold persist beyond 10 or 14 days, or they seem to be getting progressively worse, it is advisable to inform your practitioner about it. The practitioner will want to ensure that your never-ending cold does not evolve into something more serious, like a secondary infection or the flu.
A Cold or The Flu?
One of the ways one can tell the difference between a cold and the flu is by taking stock of the symptoms:
Even a bad cold is not as serious as the flu. The symptoms of a cold come slowly, and it often comes with little or no fever at all. The cold is usually triggered by the sore throat, but the sore usually goes away after a day or two, leaving the cough and runny nose as the major symptoms.
Influenza (known as the flu)
Influenza is often more severe than cold, and it also comes more suddenly than cold. The symptoms of the flu may include a high fever (usually between 100 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, or even higher), chills, headache, a sore throat that generally worsens by the second or third day, intense muscle soreness, and general weakness and fatigue, which can last for several weeks.
How to Fight Cold During Pregnancy
Although many of the medications that are meant to relieve cold symptoms are not supposed to be taken during pregnancy, you still can battle the runny nose and hacking cough when you’re expecting. Some of the most effective cold remedies do not come from the shelf of a pharmacy; at least they are not as effective as natural cold remedies for pregnancy. You can feel better a lot faster by doing the following:
Going to bed with a cold does not necessarily shorten its duration. However, if you notice that your body is demanding some rest, then it is better to listen to it.
If you are not coughing or running a fever, and you feel that your are up to doing some light to moderate, pregnancy-safe exercises that will help you feel better, then by all means do them.
It is normal to not have much of an appetite during a cold, but eating as healthy a diet as possible when you do feel up to it can help in relieving some of your cold symptoms.
Focusing on foods with vitamin C
These foods can help in boosting your immune system naturally. You can try taking all types of citrus fruits (tangerine, orange, grapefruit), melon, strawberries, spinach, red cabbage, broccoli, papaya, bell peppers, tomatoes, mango, and kiwi.
Consuming more zinc
This may also help in boosting the immune system. Pregnant women should endeavor to get 11-15 milligrams of zinc each day from all sources, including your prenatal vitamin. Fill up on oatmeal, wheat germ, yoghurt, eggs, cooked oysters, pork, beef, and turkey.
Fever, sneezes and a runny nose will cause your body to lose fluids that are needed by you and your baby. Taking warm beverages may be particularly soothing, so keep a thermos of a hot drink like ginger tea or a hot soup like chicken broth next to your bed. Try to drink enough water to stay particularly well-hydrated too – your urine should be the color of pale straw. Water and cold juice also work fine, if that’s what you’re thirsting for.
Taking supplements safely
It is smart to take your prenatal vitamin, which contains vitamin C and zinc, even when you are fighting a cold. Do not take any other supplements that are not your prenatal except your doctor approves them.
Moisturizing your hair
If the dry condition in your home aggravates your sensitive nasal passages and throat, misting the room with a cold or warm air humidifier at night can be of great help. Adults can use either kind, but for the sake of safety, don’t ever use a warm-air version in a baby or toddler’s room.
A couple of teaspoons straight – or mixed in hot water with lemon – has been shown to help suppress the kind of dry cough that often comes with and after a cold. It is at least as effective as an on-the-counter cough syrup.
Using saline nose drops, sprays or rinses:
These will help in moistening your nasal passages. And since they are un-medicated, they are completely safe to use as often as needed. However, avoid using neti pots (saltwater) because they are more apt to spread germs.
Gargling with saltwater
Gargling with warm salt water ( teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of warm water) can help in easing a scratchy or sore throat. It also helps in washing away post nasal drip and helping in controlling cough.
Natural Cold Remedies for Pregnancy
The following natural cold remedies for pregnancy are approved for curing a cold during pregnancy:
- Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
- Real Ginger
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Lemon and Hot Honey Water
- Salt Water Gargle
1. Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
For: Congestion, sore throat, cold
Chicken soup helps in soothing a sore throat and also in loosening nasal mucus. In addition, homemade chicken soup has the healing properties of vegetables. It is also delicious and gentle on the stomach.
Direction: Simply prepare it and eat it.
2. Real Ginger
For: Upset stomach. Ginger helps in reducing inflammation. It also assists in increasing circulation and relaxes the intestines.
Direction: Most ginger ale is often a mixture of high fructose corn syrup and natural flavors. Many ginger ales do not contain real ginger. Therefore, it is very important to find an ale that contains real ginger or simply boil ginger root to create a tea. You can also chew on real ginger or, preferably, take ginger capsules.
For: Upset stomach. The compounds in peppermint activate an anti-pain channel in the colon, thereby reducing discomfort in the stomach.
Direction: You can take peppermint capsules or chew peppermint gum. You can also make peppermint tea by using fresh leaves and adding boiling water until the mixture becomes tea.
For: Sore throat. Garlic is a natural antibiotic, and it is especially good for pregnant women.
Direction: Peel a clove of garlic and suck on it, slightly squeezing it without crushing for 10 minutes at a time. You should do this 3-4 times a day. It will help in killing bacteria that reside in the mouth and throat, the ones causing the sore throat.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
For: Strengthening the immune system. The apple cider vinegar breaks up and loosens the mucus. It also acts as a natural expectorant and the malic acid in it acts s a strong anti-viral.
Direction: Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a large glass of hot water. Add a squeeze of lemon and honey. Mix them well and sip the mixture 2-3 times each day at the first sign of a cold.
For: Nasal decongestion. The moist heat from the steam helps in loosening nasal congestion so that you can get it all out. The steam will also moisten your nasal passages and airways.
Direction: You can take a hot shower or you can simply boil water and carefully put your face over it to breathe in the steam. Make sure you are very careful when doing this so that you do not burn yourself.
6. Lemon and Hot Honey Water
For: Cold, sore throat, congestion. The vitamin C nutrient contained in the lemon and the anti-bacterial properties contained in honey will help in kicking the cold germs while soothing your irritated throat at the same time. The hot liquid helps in breaking up and loosening mucus.
Direction: Squeeze out the juice of a lemon, then drop half a lemon into a large mug. Add 1 tablespoon of raw honey and fill it with boiling water. Sip the mixture and repeat as often as needed.
7. Salt Water Gargle
For: Sore throat. This is good for reducing swelling in the throat. It also loosens mucus and can help flush out bacteria and irritants.
Direction: Dissolve a one-quarter teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm water. Gargle the solution for several seconds before spitting it out. Repeat this process 4-5 times a day.
Medications for Cold During Pregnancy
If you cannot follow the process of natural cold remedies for pregnancy, then you can take medications instead. But before you decide to take any medication whenever you’re in bed with a cold, it is better to first call your practitioner to know which medications would not pose danger to you or your pregnancy. The medications below can be taken during pregnancy:
If you are suffering from body aches or headaches, or even running a fever, it is okay to take drugs containing acetaminophen over a short time. Such drugs include Tylenol.
There are cough medications that are safe for pregnant women to use. The medications include expectorants (such as Mucinex), cough suppressants (such as Robitussin or Vicks Formula 44), vapor rubs (such as Vicks Vapor Rob). Most cough drops are also considered safe. However, you should ask your medical practitioner about the level of dosing.
Most nasal sprays that contain steroids are safe to use during pregnancy. But you should consult your doctor about the right brand and the right dosage. Sprays and plain saline drops are safe to take when you are pregnant. They can help clear and moisturize a stuffy nose.
It is not all antihistamines that are considered safe, only some of them like Benadryl and Claritin are nice to use. Consult your practitioner before taking an antihistamine. Some doctors will advise pregnant women to stay away from antihistamines within the first trimester.
When you are pregnant, everything that happens to you can affect not only your body but that of your unborn child. In general, it is better to stay away from medication while you’re pregnant. However, if you will need to use any, make sure whatever you are using is safe enough. Natural cold remedies for pregnancy is still considered the safest way of treating cold in pregnant women.2
The information contained in this post is for educational purposes only. Always consult your primary care doctor before using the remedies that are provided. The information is provided by The Hidden Cures and while we do timely, in-depth research on the information that we provide to you, everything stated may not be up to date or accurate from the time it was written.