Are you in your pregnancy and do you think you are having colds and coughs? That tickle at the back of your throat is the first sign of an unwelcome intruder into your body and is enough to throw you into a frenzy of pill-stocking at the local pharmacy under normal circumstances.
But now that you have a little bub cozying up in your oven. Whether you are in your first trimester or ready to pop, perhaps you want to go au naturel in ridding yourself of this pesky cold.
Below are some holistic time-tested remedies that you should definitely try to bring some relief without fear of potential nasty side effects.
How to treat colds in pregnancy
You are in pregnancy and start feeling sick with cough and colds. Before you take that bottle of colds or flu medicine, are you sure that it is safe for your baby?
When you are pregnant, your baby will be exposed too to everything you are exposed to. This means that when you are sick with colds or flu, your baby will not just be exposed to colds, but also to what medications you can take.
Usually, when dealing with a virus, you should wait for your immune system to fight it. Over-the-counter medicine can help soothe your symptoms while you wait.
However, not all these medications are safe to take when you are pregnant. Certain drugs might hurt the baby or may cause problems for you, like increasing your blood pressure.
Here is the list of pregnancy-safe over-the-counter medications from the University of New Mexico as a starting point. Always remember mommies to read the directions on the package for any medication you may take. It is better also t to ask your doctor for their recommended remedies for your cough and colds.
What can I take for a cold while pregnant in the early, second, and third trimesters of pregnancy?
- Safe during the entire pregnancy
- Take only as needed
- Try to limit regular exposure
- Not safe if you have an allergy to it or you have liver issues
- Safe in the second and third trimester
- not safe in the early pregnancy due to a small risk of abdominal wall defects
- not safe if you have high blood pressure (hypertension) or a history of heart disease
- safe during pregnancy
- not safe while breastfeeding
- Safe throughout pregnancy
To sum up, here is the list per term of your pregnancy:
- What can I take for a cold during early pregnancy? Acetaminophen, Chlorpheniramine, and Diphenhydramine
- What can I take for a cold during the second trimester? Acetaminophen, Pseudoephedrine, Chlorpheniramine, and Diphenhydramine
- What can I take for a cold while pregnant during the third trimester? Acetaminophen, Pseudoephedrine, Chlorpheniramine, and Diphenhydramine
Colds and cough medicines that are safe during pregnancy
If you are experiencing a common cold and flu during pregnancy, a medicine with a single ingredient is usually preferred. However, keep in mind that it is important to contact your medical health provider if you are feeling sick due to cold, flu, or sinus problems.
The common cold is caused by a virus and it is important to be treated. But not all cold and flu medications are safe for you if you are pregnant.
Some of the symptoms of the common cold and flu are cough, nasal symptoms, and sore throat.
If you are pregnant and you have a dry cough, a cough suppressant may help you. You may take cough suppressants such as pholcodine or dextromethorphan.
On the other hand, if you have a chesty cough, you can take an expectorant like guaifenesin. You can also use a mucolytic medicine such as bromhexine while you are pregnant. Just make sure to take these medications only at the recommended dose.
Furthermore, if you have a nasal symptom, you may use steam inhalations, sodium chloride nasal drops, or sprays. It can help you relieve a stuffy or blocked nose.
You may use a decongestant nasal spray with oxymetazoline or xylometazoline content for 5 days. Remember that prolonged use of nasal decongestants may increase the risk of developing rebound congestion. Nevertheless, avoid using oral decongestants such as pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine.
Image from Shutterstock
Moreover, if you have a sore throat during pregnancy you may opt to do the following:
- Gargle salt water
- Drink lemon and honey products
- Avoid throat gargles with iodine content. It may affect your and your baby’s thyroid function
- Do not use products with benzylamine unless prescribed by your doctor.
When you are pregnant, everything that you experience may affect your baby. If you are pregnant with a cough and cold, it’s not easy to just treat your symptoms with over-the-counter medications.
You have to always think about the safety of your unborn child. That is why it is necessary to consult your doctor first, before taking any medication. Your doctor may prescribe you the right dosage of medicines to take.
Natural home remedies for cough and colds during pregnancy
Before trying any medications, there are natural home remedies you may find helpful relief first. Here are the top 5 safe and natural home remedies to try during your pregnancy:
Raw or cooked garlic is a great natural remedy – just remember to gargle afterward!
Garlic is a great bacteria-fighting superfood. If you can eat it raw, atta girl! Otherwise, peel four to five cloves of garlic, lightly crush it, and then sautée it before adding it to your favorite dish.
Alternatively, you can juice four cloves of garlic, two tomatoes, and a lemon to make a delicious antibacterial and antiviral drink. If juices are not your thing, take the same ingredients, puree them, and voila! You have a lovely tomato soup. Add a dash of salt, pepper, and even light cream and you are good to go.
2. Herb Teas
Herb infusions are readily available at your nearest supermarket. Choose from ginger, chamomile, and lemon flavors.
Ginger has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine from time immemorial to unclog the respiratory system and get rid of "wind" which is believed to be the culprit of aches and pains.
Chamomile is great for its general antiviral and anti-bacterial properties. Besides, when you breathe in the soothing aroma of your chamomile tea, is there anything more calming?
Lemon has got huge amounts of vitamin C which boosts the immune system – great for pregnant women whose immune systems are naturally lowered during this period. Lemon strengthens the body to enable it to fight its battles.
Take a deep breath and relax with our healthy recommendations to fight the bug.
3. Honey Ginger Lemon Mix
But maybe the last thing you want to do is run out to the supermarket when you are just about ready to fall on your face.
Fret not, make your own power drink with readily available ingredients.
- Take a tablespoon of freshly grated fresh ginger and place in a bowl of boiling hot water.
- Allow it to stand for about five minutes.
- Strain the water into a cup of warm water.
- Add a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and another tablespoon of honey.
- Mix together and taste. Add more honey to sweeten as preferred.
Ginger is used widely in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for getting rid of excessive toxin and helps the body to recover properly, according to Ivy, a TCM practitioner from The Learning Corner. Honey has great anti-bacterial properties and this power-packed drink is yummy!
Highly recommended – take apple cider vinegar by itself or add it to food.
Many nutritionists swear by apple cider vinegar and with good reason. It's great for preventing coughs and colds when taken in the right amounts and also helps push the nasties out when you do fall sick.
On the one hand, when your body gets sick, your body turns alkaline. Apple cider vinegar helps neutralize illness so your body becomes inhospitable to viruses. On the other hand, it thins your mucus down so it is easier for you to expel it and you breathe easier.
Moreover, it contains vital minerals and trace elements such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, chlorine, sodium, sulfur, copper, iron, silicon, and fluorine that are essential in regulating bodily functions.
If you cannot abide by its sour taste, take it in your salad or mix it with maple syrup or honey.
Yummy and healthy!
While our tropical climate might mean that berries are not always available, when they are, load up on them. They can be used as powerful natural remedies against coughs and colds.
All berries are full of antioxidants, but the one to surpass them all in healing properties is the blueberry. Antioxidants are integral in ridding your body of toxins that could be the cause of your sniffles and irritated throat.
Either juice them into a shake or perhaps mix a handful into your favorite brand of natural yogurt. While they may not be as soothing as a hot drink, they do their job in fighting the virus.
Coughs and colds plague the average individual about once or twice a year, and with a weakened immune system during pregnancy, it seems as if this is inevitable.
You don't want to introduce potentially harmful chemicals to your little bub, but you are worried that a prolonged infection would affect his growth. These home remedies will doubtless allow you a more well-rested sleep and hopefully tide you over through this down period quicker.
(Remember, do take these foods in moderate amounts! Seek a doctor's advice if in doubt or if your body develops a reaction to any of these remedies. These should not be taken as a complete substitute for medicine for serious cases of cough and cold.)
How to ease cough and colds symptoms while in pregnancy
Aside from the medications and home remedies mentioned above, you can also do the following to help ease your symptoms:
- Take plenty of rest
- Drink a lot of fluids
- Gargle with warm salt water if you have a sore throat or cough
- To loosen nasal mucus, you may use saline nasal drops and sprays
- A hot shower can help you lose congestion
- To relieve inflammation, you may eat chicken soup
- Decaffeinated tea with honey or lemon to ease a sore throat
- For sinus pain, using hot and cold packs may help
How to avoid getting sick with cough and colds during pregnancy
When a woman gets pregnant, her body experiences many changes. It includes the weakening of the immune system. Pregnant women are more prone to viral and bacterial infections.
A weaker immune system makes pregnant women vulnerable to flu and the common cold. Also, they are more likely than non-pregnant women to experience flu complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, or sinus infections.
That is why pregnant women need to take extra care when it comes to their health, to avoid getting ill during pregnancy. Here are some of the things you can do to avoid cough and cold while pregnant:
- wash your hand often
- get enough sleep
- eat a proper healthy diet
- exercise regularly
- reduce stress
- avoid close contact with sick family or friends
- get a flu vaccination
Flu vaccination helps protect pregnant women and their babies from the risk of viral infections. It may also reduce the risk of complications for up to six months after birth. That is why it is important for pregnant moms to be up-to-date on their vaccination schedules.
When to consult a doctor
Flu complications may cause premature delivery and birth defects in your baby. So, it is important to seek medical attention if you experience the following symptoms, aside from nasal congestion and cough while you are pregnant.
- vaginal bleeding
- difficulty in breathing
- chest pain or pressure in the chest
- high body temperature or fever
- decreased in the movement of the fetus
What other home remedies do you fall back on when the cold season comes around? Leave a comment below and tell us!
Additional report by Jobelle Macayan and Nathanielle Torre
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