Nausea, headaches … and a runny nose? When you’re busy growing a baby, you don’t have much time to consider the impact of a common cold. Yet they are exactly that – extremely common – during pregnancy.
You’re more likely to catch a cold while pregnant because your immune system is suppressed. In many ways, this is a good thing; it means your body is putting all its energy into your baby’s well-being. WhatToExpect.com explains this “keeps your growing baby protected, and stops your body from fighting the fetus off as a foreign entity.”
The downside to a suppressed immune system is you probably will fight a few colds during your nine-month maternity journey. Fortunately, it’s manageable with healthy habits and a few expert tips from the midwives at our women’s care center.
Common Cold Symptoms
There are many symptoms throughout pregnancy that are part of your body changing and growing a baby. So how do you determine normal pregnancy symptoms from those of a common cold? Typically, you’ll have a sore or scratchy throat for a few days before other cold symptoms arrive, which may include a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, fatigue and coughing. You also might get a very mild fever; a high fever can be an indication of the flu – so stay vigilant and keep your doctor informed.
A cold usually lasts between one and two weeks. Viruses cause colds, so there are many versions of them; you could get a new cold just as you’re finally getting over another. That’s why it’s so important to take steps to stay healthy during pregnancy and prevent any additional sickness.
Tips to Kick Your Cold Faster
Some cold and congestion medications are off limits when you’re pregnant. Acetaminophen typically is allowed during pregnancy, but talk to a certified nurse-midwife or OB/GYN at your women’s care center before taking any medication. The following tips should help strengthen your immune system, alleviate cold symptoms, and keep you comfortable while your body fights off the virus. If you feel a cold coming or are trying to get rid of a current one:
• Get a lot of rest.
• Use a humidifier when sleeping.
• Take your vitamins.
• Eat healthy food and stay hydrated.
• Use saline nose drops, sprays or rinses.
• Gargle saltwater to ease a sore throat.
How to Prevent Future Colds
Even if you can’t completely prevent colds during pregnancy, you can work to minimize them. It’s important to take your prenatal vitamins consistently to build up nutrients for you and your baby. Probiotics, which are in supplements or food such as yogurt, can help support your immune system. You naturally can boost your immune system by eating foods rich in vitamin C (citrus fruits, bell peppers, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes and broccoli) and zinc (turkey, eggs and oatmeal). Overall, it’s important to get plenty of rest and keep active during the day to stay healthy throughout your pregnancy. And always wash your hands!
If you’re concerned your cold has lasted too long, if you have a temperature of 100.4 or above, or you develop other cold or more severe symptoms, please consult with a midwife or OB/GYN at your women’s care center. Our goal is to ensure you and your baby have the healthiest pregnancy possible. At Desert Blossom Women’s Care clinic, we work with you to create a positive, personal experience. Our midwives offer nurturing support and high-quality care throughout your prenatal journey and afterward.
To learn more about prenatal services at our women’s care clinic, visit our maternity page.