10 Tips For Coping With A Cold During Pregnancy

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Updated May 26, 2021

Coping With A Cold During Pregnancy

 

Are you coping with a cold during pregnancy?

Getting a cold during pregnancy is common, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.

It doesn’t matter what season it is either. Having a cold while pregnant sucks.

There are some fantastic home remedies for colds during pregnancy that are safe and will make you better fast.

 

coping with a cold during pregnancy

 

Coping With A Cold During Pregnancy

Cold and flu season is here, just in time for the weather to turn chilly and force us to spend more time indoors.

Colds and flu spread more easily indoors, especially in crowded spaces without good ventilation.

A woman’s natural immunity is lower than usual during pregnancy so that the body does not reject the developing baby.

This can leave pregnant women more open to catching colds, flu, and other illnesses, so it is important to wash your hands frequently, eat plenty of healthy foods to maintain a healthy immune system, and avoid people with colds whenever possible.

Additional tips for Winter season 2020/2021:

  • Practice social distancing
  • Wear a mask
  • Avoid indoor social gatherings (even if everyone looks healthy)

Update for 2020: COVID-19 and Pregnancy

COVID-19 is an illness caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. You’ll want to ask your doctor any questions you have about COVID-19 and your specific risk factors at your next visit.

For the very latest on COVID-19 and pregnancy, you should visit the CDC at the link below:

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Based on what we know at this time, pregnant people might be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people. Additionally, there may be an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth, among pregnant people with COVID-19.

However, it is difficult to avoid all germs during the nine months of pregnancy, so here are some tips on how to cope with the common cold.

 

Which Cold Remedies are Safe to Take in Pregnancy?

Many over-the-counter cold remedies are unsafe in pregnancy.

Some contain decongestants and antihistamines, which have not been tested for use in pregnant women or even contain alcohol.

Always check with a doctor or pharmacist before taking them, or avoid them altogether.

This is not a bad thing as many remedies do little to treat the cold anyway.

Herbal remedies are also best avoided unless taken under the supervision of a doctor, as many herbs can cause pregnancy complications.

There is no cure for the common cold, but remedies and foods that have been known to alleviate symptoms and are safe for use during pregnancy include the following:

 

1. Tylenol is safe to take during pregnancy, but try to limit the amount taken.

Always follow the instructions and do not take aspirin or any mixed medications such as ibuprofen.

When it comes to taking acetaminophen (Tylenol), you want to take the lowest dose that gives you relief.

If you are a regular user of acetaminophen you probably just grab two 500 mg tablets without even thinking about it.

But now you’re pregnant.

That dose is generally considered safe for pregnant women,  but you’re better off to start by taking 325 mg and see if that relieves your pain or fever.

In other words, don’t take more than you need to.

If you’re not sure how much you should take or if you should be taking it at all reach out to your doctor or midwife and discuss it with them.

I asked Doug about patients contacting him about taking acetaminophen if they had a minor cold and he said he would prefer that his patients called him before taking anything.

So don’t feel uncomfortable reaching out to your doctor or midwife.

Your doctor or midwife shouldn’t have a problem with you calling if you’re not feeling well 

Remember that’s part of what you’re paying them for. Don’t ever feel stupid for calling the office and asking a question about your health or the health of your baby.

 

2. Get tissues with lotion for your nose.

Since the topic of this article is coping with a cold we felt that number two on our list had to be to tell you to get tissues with lotion in them for your nose.

Having a cold while you’re pregnant sucks. Add a red, raw, painful nose on top of that and it’s the worst.

The best way to avoid having a painful raw nose is to use tissues that have lotion in them.

Tissues with lotion feel like a luxury when you are blowing your nose constantly.

Sometimes it’s the little things. When you’re sick with a cold and you really don’t feel good, something as simple as tissues that don’t make your nose sore can make all the difference.

I think all the main brands make them I’m sure many store brands come with lotion.

The main one that comes to my mind is going to puff plus with lotion.

But you can use whatever brand you like or can find.

 

3. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Aim for eight glasses of water a day, and drink pure juices high in vitamin C, such as orange juice.

Avoid drinking too much juice, however, due to high sugar content.

If you have a cold in the first trimester and you have morning sickness you can try ginger ale or ginger tea.

It is important to make sure you’re getting enough fluids so that you don’t get dehydrated.

 

4. Get enough to eat.

If appetite is affected, aim for five to six smaller meals throughout the day rather than three large ones.

Comforting foods, like soup, are ideal.

If you can tolerate it another good comfort food is macaroni and cheese.

You want to make sure that you’re getting enough extra calories. 

But if all you can handle is eating chicken noodle soup for a day or two don’t worry about it.

 

5. Lemon, ginger, and honey are safe to take in pregnancy.

Make sure the honey is pasteurized, so hot water made with honey and lemon with a pinch of ginger is useful for helping sore throats.

You can also put lemon ginger or honey into a cup of tea. Use regular tea, not herbal tea.

I have found tea with honey and a little bit of lemon make me feel better when I have a cold.

Lemon can also help with nausea.

If you find yourself in the first trimester and you’ve developed a cold, ginger tea with lemon may help your morning sickness too.

 

6. Eat garlic, known for its immune-boosting properties.

If you are hungry, maybe try some Italian food that has garlic in it.

Some people swear by garlic for making them feel better when they have a cold.

Doug and I put this in the category of it’s not going to hurt to try and garlic is delicious, so why not?

 

7. Cough drops and throat lozenges are safe.

But always check with a doctor or pharmacist first.

You’ll want to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about what cough drops are considered safe during pregnancy.

They can help slow down your cough and they can make your throat feel better.

Honey and lemon cough drops have always worked the best for me. Use the ones that give you the most relief.

 

8. Ease congestion by breathing in steam from a bowl or sink of hot water.

Adding a few drops of lavender oil will create a feeling of relaxation, while tea tree oil has antibacterial properties.

Remember when we were kids and our mothers had us do this? It really does work.

You can do this several times a day if it helps to relieve your symptoms.

You can get more of the steam by putting a towel over your head while you breathe it in.

This is my go-to cold symptom remedy during pregnancy.

 

9. Eat hot soups and drink warm beverages.

Eating hot soups and beverages are two of the best ways I have ever found for coping with a cold. Colds during pregnancy are their own special kind of hell.

Hot soups like chicken noodle soup, hot drinks like hot chocolate and hot tea can be very comforting when you have a cold.

A Chicken bouillon cube dissolved in a cup or two of boiling water makes an excellent chicken broth. Sipping on a mug of warm chicken broth can help you feel better when you have a cold.

Hot chocolate and tea are not that high in caffeine. Pregnant women can drink up to 200 mg of caffeine a day.

If you have a cold we recommend that you try some chicken noodle soup and have a cup of hot cocoa or hot tea.

Coping with a cold during pregnancy is all about comfort measures that make a cold more bearable. 

 

10. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Especially those high in vitamin C and antioxidants.

It can be hard when you don’t feel good to get enough fresh fruits and vegetables but that’s so important especially when you’re pregnant and they do help you maintain a healthy immune system.

So this is one of the things that I do if I’m making comfort food like macaroni and cheese, I will add a cup of broccoli or carrots to it.

That way I’m eating fresh veggies but I’m also having comfort food. It is a win-win.

If you’re in the mood for fruit, oranges and apples are always a good choice.

They are loaded with vitamins that will help keep your immune system in tiptop shape.

 

Other Tips on How to Treat a Cold When Pregnant

In addition to eating well and drinking lots of water, it is also vitally important to get plenty of rest.

Getting at least eight hours of sleep, and taking it easy during the day, and relaxing will allow the body to get on with fighting the virus.

Head colds, in particular, can leave pregnant women feeling ill, as they are often accompanied by bad congestion and headaches.

A hot shower can help alleviate congestion, but take care not to slip and avoid altogether if feeling dizzy, hot, or faint.

It is advisable to only take a bath or shower when someone else is in the house when feeling ill.

Many women experience dizziness or feel faint during pregnancy anyway, and this can be aggravated by a viral infection.

Bed rest is advised if you are feeling especially ill, or at the very least sitting or lying down with your feet up.

It is also advisable to stay cool and not get overheated.

Open the windows to let in plenty of fresh air and wear loose cotton clothing.

Do not attempt to take on a lot of work, chores, or other activities during the cold, and avoid exercise altogether until completely recovered.

A partner, family member, or friend could do any cleaning and other tasks that are too strenuous.

 

Related: 20 Genius Winter Pregnancy Survival Tips

 

How to Maintain a Healthy Immune System in Pregnancy

Boosting immunity with a healthy diet can help provide the body’s natural defenses with a fighting chance against colds.

The following can help keep women healthy and strong during their pregnancy:

Getting adequate rest and sleep

Avoiding stress and anxiety

Eating a healthy, balanced diet

Avoiding heavily polluted areas

Getting plenty of fresh air

Avoiding antibiotics unless necessary

Eating foods rich in vitamin C, zinc, vitamin D, and selenium

Get your flu shot

Daily exercise

 

What is the best way to avoid getting a cold during pregnancy?

👉 Wash your hands frequently.

Handwashing (with soap) is the gold standard when it comes to preventing yourself from getting a cold. It helps prevent the spread of infection from person to person (Source).

Washing your hands frequently is one of the easiest and most overlooked ways to prevent the spread of infection.

Wash your hands with water and use soap, scrub your hands front, back, and in between your fingers for at least 30 seconds. Rinse your hands and dry with a clean towel or air dry your hands.

A good way to know when you have scrubbed long enough is to sing the song  “Happy Birthday To You” twice. Then rinse your hands.

Keep your hands away from your face. Try not to touch your mouth, nose, or eyes with your hands unless you wash them.

Our rule in our house is the first thing you do when you come home is wash your hands. Using the method above.

We use hand sanitizer when we are out, but hand sanitizer is not a substitute for handwashing with soap.

 

Are Colds Harmful During Pregnancy?

The good news about experiencing a cold during pregnancy is that although it may feel more unpleasant than usual, it will not cause any harm to the mother or baby.

The most important thing is to get plenty of rest and stay as comfortable as possible for the best chance of a speedy recovery.

Conclusion:

Unfortunately, pregnant women are more at risk of getting a cold. But if you do get a cold during pregnancy, there are remedies that are safe and effective.

Coping with a cold during pregnancy is all about using safe and proven comfort measures that make you feel better.

Contact your doctor or midwife if you have any questions or concerns.