Catching a cold is never pleasant especially when you’re pregnant and unable to take your go-to medication. But there are other ways to give yourself some relief.
A cold isn’t ideal when you’re pregnant, but unfortunately it’s common in the cold season. During pregnancy, your immune system is lower than usual making you slightly more likely to catch a cold.
But it doesn’t have to be any worse than usual just because you’re pregnant. It’s true that you can’t take certain medication (outlined below) but you can try lots of other ways to lessen the symptoms.
During pregnancy, your immune system is lower than usual making you slightly more likely to catch a cold
Keep an eye on your temperature
Take your temperature twice a day when you have a cold to make sure it isn’t too high. If it’s over 38 degrees Celsius, then you are showing signs of having a fever.
‘If you do have a temperature, you can take paracetemol,’ says Gill Adgie, regional head of Royal College of Midwives. ‘This is safe for pregnant women to take and will help reduce your fever.
‘You should avoid antihistamines, ibuprofen and aspirin during pregnancy,’ says Boots flu pharmacist Deepa Songara.
But watch out for cold cure tablets or drinks sachets. As well as containing paracetamol (which is safe), they also contain phenylephrine, a decongestant which has blood vessel constricting properties that could restrict blood supply to your placenta.
‘For sore throats and coughs try lemon juice and honey mixed with warm water, or a throat lozenge or cough mixture containing glycerine, while some nasal sprays can help to defend against winter germs and reduce the severity of a cold or the flu, but always check first with your pharmacist for what is suitable,’ says Deepa.
If your problems do persist, give your GP a ring to see if you should book an appointment to get checked over.
Try natural remedies
Instead of medicine, you can try soothing the effects of your cold with at-home natural remedies.
‘Try vapour rubs and menthol sweets to clear congestion,’ says Gill. ‘Taking vitamin C can also be beneficial as it’s full of anti-oxidants and helps protect cells and keep them healthy.’
Steam inhalation is another brilliant way to help feel better.
Sit with your head over a bowl of hot water, place a towel over your head, close your eyes and breathe deeply. This should loosen the mucus and make it easier for you to breathe.
Get guzzling those glasses of water and orange juice – as well as being good for you, your body needs lots of hydration when you’ve got a cold.
‘Drinking plenty of fluids will help replace those lost due to sweating and a runny nose,’ Gill explains.
It’s recommended that a pregnant woman drink about 10 glasses of water a day, so try to up this number to at least 12 or 13 glasses to make up to the fluids you’re losing.
‘Eating nutrient-rich foods is incredibly important in maintaining good levels of immunity, especially in the winter months,’ says nutritionist Sarah West (sarahwestnutrition.co.uk).
Try including a wide range of brightly coloured foods – think red tomatoes, green spinach, yellow peppers, purple aubergines – as they’ll boost your intake of plant antioxidants such as carotenoids and ﬂavonoids.
‘Antioxidants are fantastic immune boosters as they ensure cells remain healthy and able to fight off infections,’ says Sarah.
Maintain good hygiene
Take care with personal hygiene, as that’s the quickest way that the cold virus spreads.
‘Viruses are spread 50-50 – that’s 50% via a sneeze and 50% via hand contact,’ says Professor Alyn Morice, head of cardiorespiratory studies at Hull York Medical School.
‘Wash hands frequently, especially before eating, during office hours and before you touch your face.’
Because your immune system is weaker during pregnancy, you’re more susceptible to catching a different cold or flu, which can become complicated in pregnant women.
The NHS advises that, even when pregnant, you keep up to date with the flu vaccination to prevent any problems.
Get plenty of rest
Rest up – the best way to beat a cold is by getting as much sleep as possible to allow your body to solely concentrate on getting better.
So put your feet up and instruct your partner to wait on you hand and foot – it tends to do the trick and you should be cold-free before you know it!
What are your top tips for getting rid of a cold? Let us know below.