A cold or cough is such an uncomfortable ailment, especially when you’re pregnant and therefore cannot even take the usual medications to relieve the symptoms.
When you’re pregnant, your protective maternal instincts get to manifest and its natural to stress about little inconveniences and health issues that you may face because you’re scared of the effects they may have on your little one.
However, there’s nothing to be worried about when you’re suffering from a cold because it has no bearing on the development of your baby as it beyond reach of the virus.
Causes of Cold and Cough During Pregnancy
Coughs and colds are very common viral infections of the upper respiratory tract which affect your upper airways, throat, nose and sinuses. Over two hundred viruses may cause cold symptoms, of which rhinovirus is the most usual aspect.
This infection is easily transmissible and antibiotics do not work for this. Thus, this infection has no established cure or antidote. Many times, you’ll simply have to wait out the duration of the cold, using home remedies to relieve the symptoms.
When you’re pregnant, your immune system will function slowly which is aimed at keeping the immune system from harming the growing foetus with antibodies, same way it would any other foreign entity.
However, the mother, unfortunately, has to bear the brunt of this compromised immunity as it makes it easier for her to contract a cold or cough which will often last longer. These immune system changes may also affect the mother’s lungs and even heart, making her susceptible to illnesses arising from the flu.
Symptoms of Cold and Cough During Pregnancy
The first sign of a cold and cough is typically a scratchy or a sore throat. Other signs include:
• Runny nose that may later turn stuffy
• Continuous sneezing
• Feeling of tiredness
• Dry cough
• Slight fever (less than 100 F)
Here are the top home remedies to get relief from a cold and cough during pregnancy.
1. Cool Bath
To help reduce your fever when you’re suffering from a cough or cold, you could take a lukewarm or cool sponge bath. This is a safe, easy and natural way to bring down your high temperature.
Take a sponge bath at least twice a day. Soak a washcloth in tap water, wring out excess water and then sponge your feet, hands, armpits and groin to lower your body temperature.
Take a cool bath or shower.
Another option is to get a cool, damp washcloth and place on your forehead. Change the washcloth every few minutes.
Caution : don’t use very cold water and alcohol rubs, you may start to shiver. Shivering will make your body temperature rise even higher.
Homemade Chicken Soup
Sipping on a hot bowl of chicken soup is tasty and a comfortable way to treat a cold in pregnancy.
Homemade chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in vitamins and nutrients that will help fight the infection from within.
Aromatic seasonings will open up the airways and facilitate the removal of the mucus trapped there.Along with hot tea, chicken soup will improve the functioning of the protective cilia in nasal passages, further protecting the body from unwanted bacteria and viruses.
The ideal homemade recipe includes organic chicken combined with onions, carrots, parsley, celery, parsnips, mushrooms. These contain medicinal and antioxidant characteristics.
Spices like salt, pepper, sage and thyme will strengthen the body’s ability to inhibit neutrophils, associated with the body’s response to viral infections.
Ginger has been tested and proven effective for colds and coughs during pregnancy.
Ginger soup comprising of hot water with dried ginger powder or grated raw ginger, works as the perfect comfort food for folks who are suffering from a cold attack as it will help keep them warm.
What makes ginger all the more preferable for pregnant women is that it poses no health risks to them or their child and offers the added bonus of relieving their morning sickness to some extent. Some have even found ginger helpful for alleviating mild heartburn, a digestive distress that expecting mothers are quite familiar with.
To use :
• Add one tablespoon of grated ginger to one and half cup of water. Boil the mixture and allow to simmer for ten minutes. Strain and add some honey and lemon juice. Drink thrice a day.
• Alternatively, you could simply chew a small piece of raw ginger sprinkled with sea salt thrice a day.
Caution: Discuss with your healthcare provider if you have a history or risk of vaginal bleeding disorders during pregnancy before using ginger as a remedy.
When suffering a cold or cough, a lot of people do not hydrate properly. Keeping the body hydrated is important, especially in pregnant women, for the health of the baby and mother.
Staying well hydrated helps thin the body’s secretions, making it much easier to expel mucus and reduce congestion.
Drink lukewarm water from time to time. You must drink at least eight glasses to ten glasses of water a day to maintain proper hydration. You can also drink decaffeinated tea mixed with raw honey.
Fruit juices, soup, broths or any other liquid diets like yogurts and smoothies will also soothe symptoms and maintain hydration. Caffeine has diuretic properties and will have a dehydrating effect on your body.
Vitamin C helps enhance the body’s natural immune response to infection by supplying a heavy dose of antioxidants.
Taking vitamin C daily will help keep cold at bay. However, the evidence isn’t clear if it reduces the severity and duration of a cold.
You can increase your intake of vitamin C by consuming foods containing vitamin C like blueberries, cranberries, oranges, Indian gooseberries, bell peppers etc.
Vitamin C is also available over the counter in the form of a supplement.
Rest is important when you’re pregnant, and more so when you’re suffering from an illness during pregnancy. It’s the best way to give your body the strength and time to fight off the infection.
You can take naps thrice a day to help your body recuperate. This will also keep your stress levels and blood pressure in check.
Attempt to go to bed earlier than usual to allow more time to sleep.
Elevate your head with pillows to help you breathe easily and reduce nasal drip.