Colds are common infections that are experienced by each one of us at some point. But pregnancy is a critical time for every woman. As each woman’s body responds differently to pregnancy, each pregnancy is distinctive with its own set of difficulties. Even though it is not uncommon for women to catch a cold and cough during pregnancy, extra care should be taken since the immune system is less robust during pregnancy.
So, here’s what you need to about how to handle viral infections during pregnancy and if cough and cold during pregnancy could affect the baby.
Signs and Symptoms that A Pregnant Woman Can Have Due to Cough and Cold
- Fever with chills
- Watery eyes
- Generalized discomfort or malaise
- Body ache and joint pains
- Nasal congestion and runny or a blocked nose
- Dry cough
Can Cold and Cough During Pregnancy Affect Your Baby?
- The physiological and immunological changes that occur during pregnancy increase the susceptibility of women to catch an infection significantly. As a result of which, pregnant women may become severely ill.
- The susceptibility for a serious illness increases during seasonal influenza periods and epidemics when cough and cold are widespread.
- Perinatal outcomes can range from simple cold and cough with no complications to congenital disabilities and pregnancy loss.
- The study also shows that the chances of miscarriages, low-birth weight baby, or the preterm baby may be increased if cold and cough are left untreated during pregnancy.
- The risk of the baby having congenital disabilities is also increased if the mother is infected with respiratory viruses that cause cold and cough in the first trimester of pregnancy.
- The infection can also be transferred to the unborn child through the placenta.
- The viruses may not directly affect the baby; however, fever results in adverse effects on the developing baby.
- Therefore, a cold and cough infection during pregnancy can affect the baby from the beginning of the infection. The respiratory viral infections must be treated in time; otherwise, they can lead to other organs’ secondary bacterial infections.
- Severe infection during the last trimester of pregnancy can result in fatal complications
The over-the-counter medications that help cure cold-cough infections and are considered safe during pregnancy are:
- Analgesics: most of the over-the-counter cold medications contain a certain amount of analgesics that help relieve body ache or headache. It is generally considered safe for consumption during pregnancy.
- Cough suppressants: these are found in certain over-the-counter medication and is usually safe to use during pregnancy.
- Decongestants: use of specific formulations of decongestants during the first trimester is associated with an increased risk for congenital disabilities.
- Expectorants: Studies show that expectorants are safe for consumption during pregnancy.
- Use of acetylsalicylic acid during the last trimester of pregnancy is associated with complications.
Effective Home Remedies For Cough And Cold During Pregnancy
Early home remedies can come to be of great use to provide you prevention against mild viral infections:
- Rest – You need to take adequate rest and avoid any kind of mental or physical exertion when you have a cold and cough during pregnancy.
- Water – Drink a substantial amount of water to keep your body hydrated and flush out all the toxins.
- Honey – To soothe your throat, have a spoonful of honey along with warm water.
- Warm drinks – To soothe your throat and reduce cough, you can also have warm drinks like soups, broths, tea, or just warm water.
- Gargles – Gargle periodically with warm water and a pinch of salt to wash away bacteria or viruses from the throat and mouth.
- Lemon – Lemon contains vitamin C, and its acidic properties can be used to cure the infection sooner. It is also beneficial to consume fresh lemon juice with warm water and honey as it also helps to clear the lymphatic glands.
- Anti-inflammatory food – natural anti-inflammatory foods like garlic, turmeric, ginger, green tea, and fresh green leafy vegetables- can naturally help fight the infection.
When to Reach Out to Doctor for Cough and Cold During Pregnancy:
Since cough and cold may affect pregnancy, it is essential to contact your doctor if you notice or experience any of the below-mentioned symptoms, especially during the first trimester:
- High-grade fever
- No response to medications
- Difficulty in breathing
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Severe abdominal pain or discomfort
- Reduced fetal movements (from the second trimester onwards)
How to Prevent Cough and Cold During Pregnancy:
It essential to take preventive measures because cold and cough can affect the baby’s growth and development. Here are some preventive measures:
- Try covering your nose and mouth while going out.
- Sanitize or wash your hands after touching common surfaces like tables or doorknobs
- Wash or sanitize your hands after and before eating
- Avoid touching your face frequently without sanitizing
- Avoid contact with a sick person during pregnancy
- Avoid going to crowded places during a flu outbreak
- Take a balanced healthy diet and drink a substantial amount of water
Role of Vaccinations During Pregnancy:
- Flu vaccinations help keep severe viral respiratory ailments at bay and are taken at any time during pregnancy.
- Vaccinations might reduce the chances of your child getting infected in case you have a cold and cough.
- Vaccinations are also known to provide immunity to the child during the first few weeks after birth.