How To Treat A Cold During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman in bed blowing nose

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Honestly, it’s just not fair being sick AND pregnant. One takes enough of a toll on your body. Getting a cold during pregnancy is not a fun thing to experience.

I got a nasty cold at about 35 weeks and let me tell you, it was miserable. So if you are reading this because you are pregnant and have a cold, I’m so sorry mama!

Prevention is important in preventing a cold during pregnancy, but sometimes it is out of our control. Your immune system can be weaker during pregnancy so make sure to take extra precautions like washing your hands, getting sleep, eating a healthy diet, reducing stress, and drinking lots of fluids.

In the event that you still catch a bug, there are various ways you can treat a cold during pregnancy: 

If you have a stuffy nose, you can use nasal strips which can help in opening up your sinuses. A humidifier can also help to relieve your stuffy nose and decrease congestion.

Also, make sure to be diligent in applying your facial moisturizer especially around your nose, which can be prone to dryness and chapping from the frequent blowing.

If you have a sore throat, try using lozenges or cough drops (call your doctor to see if there are certain kinds they recommend). In order to ease sinuses, sleep with your head a little bit elevated by using a pillow.

You can also gargle with warm salt water. Hot water with honey and lemon can also help with easing your sore throat while clearing mucus. You can also drink warm tea or even suck on ice chips.

A humidifier is a lifesaver to have especially if you have a cough. We live in a desert climate so our air is always dry (this is also great for when your little one comes!). By raising humidity levels, you can minimize bacteria and viruses in the air and also provide temporary relief from coughing.

Vicks vapor rub is also great in relieving your cough temporarily while helping you breathe. It also has some menthol, eucalyptus oil, and camphor which can make you feel better especially if you are feeling sick.

When you are having a fever, drinking lots of fluids and getting rest is vital. You can also put a cold wet washcloth on your forehead to cool you down.

Cold Medicine During Pregnancy

When it comes to medications and pregnancy, it is best to always consult your physician before taking anything. Especially during your first 12 weeks of pregnancy, try to avoid all kinds of medication.

After this period, you can try these to treat your cold once you’ve checked with your doctor:

  • Cough drops
  • Tylenol for aches and pains
  • Cough suppressant
  • Expectorant
  • Cough syrups

I personally try not to take any medicines when I am pregnant, but I was desperate and in so much pain from the sinus pressure that I got the go-ahead from my doctor to take a Sudafed and a Tylenol. I always recommend checking with your doctor before taking any new medicine.  

Natural Remedies:

Honey and lemon – honey has some antibacterial properties that can soothe your throat. Add some lemon to it and enjoy the drink while feeling better.

With my second pregnancy, I had an awful cough when I found out that I was pregnant and drinking hot water with a tablespoon of lemon juice and honey in it saved me! It was so soothing on my sore scratchy throat and helped calm down my cough.

Salt water gargle – boil purified water and dissolve a teaspoon of salt in it. Gargle whenever you need to and you can help relieve your sore throat.

However, if you are still experiencing morning sickness (p.s. morning sickness + a cold during pregnancy is just not fair. I feel for you mama!) I would not try this. Your gag reflex will most likely be more sensitive during the first trimester and the salt water might be too much for you to handle.

Eucalyptus essential oil – you can use this through steam inhalation or place on a handkerchief to smell whenever you want to throughout the day. It helps to move your mucous, as well as being antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal.

Talk to your doctor before using essential oils during pregnancy. They may recommend that you wait until after the first trimester or avoid certain oils.

Ginger – ginger can help you fight bacteria and other illnesses since it is a natural antiviral. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help strengthen your immune system. It also acts like a decongestant that can ease your cold.

Bonus if you are in the morning sickness stage you probably have ginger everything laying around. Ginger candies, ginger oil, ginger ale, etc.

Garlic – garlic has been known to help with your recovery process as well as also help in preventing colds.

Mint – mint is a common ingredient in over the counter medicines and can help in fighting the bacteria and viruses. You can drink peppermint tea to help you feel better as well as relax. Peppermint oil with a little bit of honey

Rest – this can be tough to get especially with all the duties of being a mother, taking care of your family, and also working but getting proper rest can make a big difference in helping you recover from your cold.

It’s okay if you have a movie marathon day with your kiddos. The most important thing is you feel better soon!

Drink lots of water/fluids – being hydrated is essential in order to fight the loss of fluid and ease congestion. You can also drink juice or broth to up your doses of liquids.

Good nutrition – try eating foods like tomatoes, kale, spinach, peppers, and others that are rich in antioxidants.  Chicken soup is also a comforting food that can also reduce inflammation.

Colds during pregnancy can result in complications. If you are concerned about your cold or if you have a fever that goes above 100 degrees give your doctor a call. A high fever and other effects of the cold could be dangerous for the baby and could put you at risk for premature delivery and other birth defects.

Usually, having a cold during pregnancy is the worst around the 3rd or 4th day and then will slowly start to get better over the next 10 days.

Try to stay positive and think of your sweet little baby and how nice it will be when you get to hold them!

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