How to Treat a Cold or Flu in Pregnancy

Flu Treatment in Pregnancy

Woman sick in bed
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Getting a cold or even the flu when you're pregnant isn't an impossibility. In fact, it could be your reality. Being pregnant can actually lower your immune system making it more likely that you get sick while pregnant. But don't panic, here are some flu treatments in pregnancy that you can do to feel better faster:

Stuffed up?

Try nasal rinses, like the store bought saline solutions. This will help you clear your congestion.

You can also go into your bathroom and run the shower on high heat, but don't get wet - just allow the steam to penetrate clogged sinus passages.

Stay hydrated.

Even if you don't feel like eating, be sure to stay well hydrated. When you can eat try to eat well. Staying hydrated can also help stave off contractions that could possibly lead to preterm labor - purely from dehydration. This can be a real risk when pregnant, so even small sips of fluids will be a good thing.

Rest.

While sleeping may be difficult, try to lay down and rest. If you can sleep, try to get a nap. If you are having difficulty breathing when lying down consider propping yourself up with some pillows to ease your breathing.

Sore Throat

If your throat hurts, tea can be very comforting to your sore throat. It has tannins in it that help soother your throat.  You can also add honey for added comfort. Watch specialty teas, they have herbs that may or may not be safe in pregnancy.

Check with your doctor or midwife first before using any products like that to treat your symptoms.

Medications

Be sure to check any over the counter medications or herbal remedy with your doctor or midwife before taking it. While some may be safe for pregnancy, others are not. Your practitioner is the best judge of whether or not a product is safe for you to consume in pregnancy.

For instance, you are usually able to take acetaminophen, but not necessarily ibuprofen or aspirin. There are some medications given for the flu, they may or may not be appropriate for you.

Can you prevent colds and the flu?

While you can't prevent every cold or sniffle, remember that the best offense is a good defense. Wash your hands, avoid people who are ill and take care of yourself by eating well and getting enough rest.  Avoid people who are sick, even if they are in your family. Do not drink or eat after others. Become a germ phobe - it will serve you well. 

You have to remember that pregnant women are more likely to have complications from the flu. This can lead to an increased risk to mom and baby, including the likelihood that you will die from the flu. Rare, but it does happen.

Flu Shots

Flu shots are considered safe in pregnancy. In fact, flu shots can sometimes offer flu immunity to your baby after birth. This is a great reason to consider getting the flu shot, even while pregnant.

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pregnancy and Influenza. December 15, 2015. Last Accessed February 28, 2016.

Laibl VR, Sheffield JS. Influenza and pneumonia in pregnancy. Clin Perinatol. 2005 Sep;32(3):727-38.

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