How to Manage Cold and Flu in Pregnancy

While it may seem like summer is here to stay with the unseasonably warm weather this Autumn, one thing is certain, winter will eventually arrive and with that comes the inevitable colds and flu viruses. A cold and flu while pregnant can make you feel really miserable, especially when you’re quite limited with what medication you can take.

The cold and flu season is just around the corner so be sure to wrap up warm, eat healthy nutrient-dense food, regularly wash your hands and incorporate some physical activity into each day, as these will all help to keep you well over winter.

If you’re suddenly struck down with a high fever, headache, body aches and pains it’s important to see your doctor to establish if you have the flu. The elevated temperature that can sometimes accompany the flu needs to be managed in pregnancy, so it’s important to seek medical advice.

But if you are unlucky enough to catch a cold, here are a few ideas on how to manage your cold and flu in pregnancy symptoms.

Rest, rest and more rest

There really is only one way to recover from a cold and that’s by resting. Take a day off work and spend the day in bed if you can. If you have young children at home with you already, see if you can enlist the help of a friend or family member so you can spend the morning or afternoon in bed.

If that’s not possible, put all plans on hold, including housework plans and do as little as possible until the worst of it has passed.

Use a Vaporiser

Using a vaporiser at night is a great natural option when you’re congested. A vaporiser will add moisture and humidity to the air, which will help loosen congestion, making it easier to get rid of. Adding a little eucalyptus oil to the vaporiser is safe in pregnancy and is also quite soothing. While a vaporiser won’t reduce the duration of your cold, it will certainly help you manage your symptoms, particularly at night.

Always read the label and follow the directions for use.

Get clear on medicines you can and can’t take

There is very little pain relief medication that can be safely taken whilst pregnant. Paracetamol is safe to take in pregnancy and will help ease aches and pains, and may temporarily reduce a fever. Be sure to avoid any cold and flu medications, ibroprufen, antihistamines and aspirin as these are not safe to take in pregnancy.

Dose up on home made soups

There is some truth in the old wives tale that chicken soup will help ease a cold. A handful of studies have shown that consuming home made chicken soup with vegetables can help reduce the severity of symptoms. If you’re still not convinced, it’s worth consuming just for comfort value – a warm cup of nutrient-dense soup will warm you up from the inside out. If you’re a vegetarian, opt for a broth-based vegetable soup, as it is the broth element that helps thin out mucus, making it easier to get rid of.

Tap into natural remedies

Pregnant or not, natural remedies are a great option. Some easy options include:

  • A clove of garlic finely diced in a glass of water (no more than one clove for pregnant women). If your tastebuds are compromised you won’t even taste it.
  • Hot honey and lemon drink – a teaspoon or two of honey to taste, the juice of half a lemon and top up within boiling water. Be sure to use fresh juice, rather than from a bottle as you’ll miss out on the natural Vitamin C from bottled juice. Add a teaspoon of cinnamon to up the antiviral qualities and adjust the quantities to suit your taste.
  • Increase consumption of herbal teas, lemon and ginger tea is a lovely soothing combination.
  • Use a saline nose rinse, or saline nose drops to help thin out mucus.

A cold won’t harm your baby but there is no cure for it, so be sure to take extra care of yourself with plenty of rest and you’ll soon be on the road to recovery.

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