Unfortunately, the cooler weather also means cold season. Staying healthy is extremely important, and getting sick while pregnant is something you want to avoid. Follow these prevention tips and remedies to stay healthy this season.
Tips to Prevent Getting Sick During Pregnancy
Wash Your Hands
Germs can enter your body to infect you when touched. However, you can avoid germs by adopting consistent hand washing. Wash your hands when out in public, after touching contaminated surfaces, and before touching your face.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Your meals should have the right balance of nutrients you and your baby needs. This also means choosing healthier drinks like water, having frequent small snacks, and bringing your sugar intake down a notch, to name a few.
Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness. Exercise causes change in antibodies and white blood cells that help the immune system fight disease.
If your doctor prescribes you prenatal vitamins, then take them as you are told. Think of it as bricks on the wall of defenses your body is building up to fend off the viruses you might encounter daily.
Get Adequate Sleep and Rest
Getting plenty of rest, relaxation, and sleep (around 8 hours) is critical to your health and the baby’s development. Your body is going through a lot, and a tired body means a weakened immune system, leaving you more susceptible to illness.
As noted above, a rested body helps your immune system work better. A healthy immune system can help shorten your sick period. Reducing stress will make it easier for your body to function properly and fight illness if need be.
Unfortunately, large crowds allow for more germs to be present and can help them spread more easily. If you are doing anything social, keep the group smaller so you have a better idea of other peoples’ health.
Along with eating well and exercising comes staying hydrated. American Pregnancy notes that fluids are essential to a well-functioning, healthy body because they wash out your system, so drink water as often as possible.
Wear a Mask
In more dangerous situations, it might be necessary for you to wear a mask while pregnant. Wearing a mask can play a big role in keeping you safe from infection and illness, especially in places such as schools, hospitals, and transportation.
Talk with Your Doctor
Above all, always be careful to talk with your doctor before making health decisions. If you feel yourself starting to come down with something, check to make sure any medications you take are safe and healthy for you and your little one.
Getting Sick While Pregnant
When you’re expecting, your immune system runs at a lower speed than usual. The downside of this immune suppression is that your body doesn’t ward off many of the viruses that cause the common cold, which can make you more vulnerable to symptoms including a stuffy nose, cough, and sore throat. Even the healthiest person taking all the above precautions is subject to getting sick while pregnant.
If you happen to get sick while pregnant, colds are thankfully not felt by your baby and are mostly an uncomfortable annoyance best managed with rest, fluids, patience and a quick call to your practitioner to make sure they are aware of all your symptoms, including any fever. If necessary, your doctor can also steer you toward cold medications that are considered safe during pregnancy.
What Can I Take for a Cold While Pregnant?
It’s best to avoid all medications in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy during the c critical time for the development of your baby’s vital organs. Many doctors also recommend caution after 28 weeks. Speak with your doctor before taking any medication if you’re pregnant. Several medications are considered safe after 12 weeks of pregnancy, including:
- Menthol rub
- Nasal strips
- Cough drops or lozenges
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Cough suppressant at night
- Expectorant during the day
- Calcium-carbonate (Mylanta, Tums)
- Plain cough syrup
- Dextromethorphan (Robitussin)
- Dextromethorphan-guaifenesin (Robitussin DM)
Avoid the following medications while pregnant unless recommended by your doctor as they can increase risk:
- Aspirin (Bayer)
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
- Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
- Bactrim, an antibiotic
Getting sick while pregnant is something you obviously want to avoid, but with the right preventative measures you can stay as healthy as possible as cold and flu season rolls around. If you have any questions or concerns about what to do or which medications to take in the event of getting sick, schedule an appointment with your doctor to go over your options to ensure you and your baby continue to stay healthy!