7 Tips for Combating Cold and Flu During Pregnancy - Baby Chick
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7 Tips for Combating Cold and Flu During Pregnancy

Don't love the idea of taking medication while pregnant? Here are some all natural tips for combating cold and flu during pregnancy.

Published April 2, 2019

by Kate Horney

Certified Pre and Postnatal Fitness Specialist, Nutrition Coach
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I rarely get a cold or flu, but I’ll never forget the almost 10 days of a nasty upper respiratory infection that I had when pregnant with my second son.

Coughing, chest congestion, and sinus pressure, oh my!

I’ll be honest, it can be a bit scary not knowing what is safe and what isn’t, and it seems everyone has differing options on possible side effects. When I was pregnant, I didn’t love the idea of taking medication, so I did extensive research into tips for cold and flu during pregnancy that were all-natural.

It’s very common to get sick more often than you did before getting pregnant because, during pregnancy, your immune system is less effective. This lower defense system is your body’s way of making sure the baby is not rejected, but it also makes you more susceptible to illness.

Prevention is the best medicine, and good habits may help you prevent getting sick in the first place . . . 

Preventing Cold and Flu During Pregnancy

  • exercise regularly
  • eat a balanced diet
  • get sufficient rest
  • take your vitamins (prenatal vitamins especially help boost your immune system)
  • wash your hands frequently and thoroughly

BUT despite your best efforts, you still may become ill . . . and while preventing illnesses is quite the same for pregnant and non-pregnant women, treating them is not.

After talking with my doctor, I determined that time, not medicine, would cure a cold or flu . . . and while it may be okay to take some medications to help lessen symptoms and make you more comfortable, time and rest is the answer for pregnant moms who come down with a cold or flu. (*Don’t take any medications without approval from your doctor.)

If you come down with a pregnancy cold or flu, you have to let it run its course. But you can help speed up your recovery and ease your symptoms. Here are some tips that have been helping me . . . 

Tips for Combating Cold and Flu During Pregnancy

1. Eat Well

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

2. Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of clear fluids (water is BEST) to stay hydrated during pregnancy. Soothe a sore throat with honey added to hot water or tea.

3. Relieve Congestion Naturally

Use saline nasal spray and a vaporizer or humidifier to relieve congestion instead of over-the-counter medications. You can also try using a netty pot!

Nasal Spray, Humidifier, Neti Pot to help with Cold and Flu during Pregnancy

4. Take it Easy

Get extra rest because your body is best able to recuperate when you rest.

5. Gargle

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and or xylitol in one cup warm water. Gargle 2-3 times daily after brushing teeth and tongue. (Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from birch or corn. It is a natural bacteriostatic, which means it blocks the adherence of bacteria to the mucus membranes. Using it as a sweetener has been shown to inhibit ear infections).

6. Take Your Vitamins

It’s also essential to be sure to get adequate vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamin C: 500 mg every 3-4 hours with a small amount of food. Cut back on the dosage if stools become loose or you experience gas and cramping.
  • Zinc: 30-50 mg once daily with a small amount of food. This can be continued for 1-2 weeks without depleting copper stores.
  • Glutamine powder: (This is also in our BCAAs.) Take 15 to 20g of glutamine powder daily while sick. Your white blood cells need glutamine to fight infection.
  • Allicillin: This is a concentrated garlic compound that is wonderful for fighting viruses and bacteria. 200mg to 400mg 1-4 times daily

7. Warm Bath

Spend 10-15 minutes in a warm bath. Here’s what you need to know about taking a bath while pregnant.

Temperature

A body temperature over 101 degrees Fahrenheit can be concerning in pregnancy, especially for extended periods in early pregnancy. Sitting in a hot bathtub with a water temperature of at least 104 degrees Fahrenheit, it only takes 10 minutes for your body temperature to increase to 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit, a potentially unsafe temperature.

For this reason, you want to keep your bathwater between 98.6 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use a thermometer or child’s bathtub thermometer (this will conveniently float in the water, and you can use it again once your baby is born and you start him on his baths!) to monitor the water temperature. Bottom line: keep your bathwater between 98.6 and 100 degrees during pregnancy.

Why is hot water dangerous?

Hot water may be dangerous when pregnant because it can raise your body temperature past a healthy level. This can lead to hyperthermia or overheating. Hyperthermia causes a drop in blood pressure, which may reduce blood flow to your baby and can deprive your baby of essential nutrients and oxygen. Some studies have linked hot baths and saunas or hot tubs early in pregnancy with birth defects, including spina bifida.2

Get out of the bath if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling hot
  • Discomfort
  • Itchy

If you notice you are sweating profusely, immediately remove yourself from the bath, splash yourself with cold water, and drink plenty of water to cool down.

How long can I stay in the bath?

Your bath shouldn’t be longer than 10-15 minutes. Hyperthermia may occur if you stay in hot water for an extended time. This condition is when your body temperature becomes abnormally high, which is unhealthy for your body. 

A warm bath is not the same as a hot tub because hot tubs have a higher temperature and are more prone to germs. Hot tubs and jacuzzis consist of recycled water flowing at a higher temperature.

In one study, medical researchers found an increased risk of birth defects such as esophageal atresia, omphalocele, and gastroschisis in women who use hot tubs more than once during early pregnancy and for long periods.2

In most cases, a cold and flu during pregnancy will not harm your baby, so that’s the good news. Use this time to get some extra rest and prepare for when baby arrives!

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Kate Horney Certified Pre and Postnatal Fitness Specialist, Nutrition Coach
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Kate is a certified physical trainer and nutrition coach with a C.P.T. & B.S. in Exercise Physiology. She is a health and fitness professional with over a decade of experience… Read more

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