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7 Tips for Combating Cold and Flu During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman sick in bed with a cold or flu.

by Kate Horney

Pre & Postnatal Fitness Specialist

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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… Read More

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 . . . 

Save for Later: Prepare for Cold/ Flu Season: The Best Ways to Treat Baby’s Cold

Preventing Cold and Flu During Pregnancy

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

Eat Well

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Stay Hydrated

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

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

Take it Easy

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

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).

Take Your Vitamins

It’s also essential to be sure sure to get adequate vitamins & 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 per day while sick. Glutamine is needed by your white blood cells to fight infection.
  • Allicillin: This is a concentrated garlic compound that is wonderful to fight viruses and bacteria. 200mg to 400mg 1-4 times daily

Hyperthermia Baths

It sounds crazy but spend as long as it is comfortable in a hot bath. Then remove yourself, wrap up in warm clothes, and climb under covers to sweat. This induces an “artificial fever.” Viruses do not like high temperatures, and this can significantly reduce the length of a cold or flu.

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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