Pregnancy brings with it lots of little quirks and unexpected bodily ills, but to top it all off, getting a cold during pregnancy can seem pretty miserable.
The immune system is weakened during pregnancy meaning mums-to-be are more prone than usual to catching colds. And with the medicine cabinet well out of reach, a winter bug leaves some mummas feeling a little defeated.
Luckily, we’ve found plenty of natural and safe solutions for expecting mums. Here’s our guide to surviving colds during pregnancy.
1. Eat your greens
A good diet is the best defence against winter nasties, giving your body the minerals and antioxidants it needs to tackle a pregnant cold head-on. Make sure to take in lots of green leafy vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meats. A daily power-packed green smoothie is a great way to boost your vitamin intake.
2. Sip honey ‘tea’
A honey and lemon drink clears the head and soothes the throat. The lemons bring a kick of vitamin C and the honey is naturally anti-bacterial. Simply squeeze some fresh lemon juice into a cup, add a dash of honey and top with hot water. Add a little fresh ginger for extra warmth and to relieve any nausea. Top tip – swallow a teaspoon of honey at bedtime to coat your throat and stall that nasty cough.
3. Breathe easy
Blocked noses and aching sinuses can keep you up all night, but there is a way to get relief that doesn’t involve taking a pill. Saline sprays and sinus washes are deep cleansing, non-medicated solutions designed to help relieve nasal and sinus congestion due to colds and sinusitis. The mild ‘Hypertonic’ solution is saltier than regular saline, which draws liquid out of the sinuses, breaks down mucus and dries up that runny nose – so you can finally breathe easy and get some shut-eye!
4. Stay hydrated
Drinking water is important throughout pregnancy, but it’s especially vital when hit with a cold. Drink at least eight glasses of water per day, and keep a bottle of water beside you at all times as a reminder to drink. Sucking on ice chips can also help relieve an inflamed throat while upping hydration.
5. Get salty
A simple salt gargle can offer relief from a sore, scratchy throat. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water and gargle (don’t swallow), repeating several times throughout the day. This also has the added benefit of entertaining small children who will find Mummy’s strange gargling noises hilarious!
6. Plump it up
Raising your head with an extra pillow or two at night can ease coughs caused by post-nasal drip, and drain the sinuses. A pregnancy body pillow can also get you into a comfy position for sleep, and assist with all those body aches and pains that come with a virus.
7. Go for garlic
Garlic contains allicin, which seems to have antibiotic, and antioxidant effects which can potentially ward off bacteria and viruses, and stimulate the immune system. Add a couple of extra cloves when preparing the evening meal or even better, cook up a warming, garlicky chicken soup – studies have shown that the old wives tale suggesting chicken soup can help your cold might actually have some truth to it!
8. Show some love … to yourself
Rest, rest, rest. Take time off work to heal. Call on friends and family to take care of other children if need be. No points for being an expectant mummy martyr! Tuck up in bed, or use that pregnancy massage voucher that’s been sitting there for a while. Now is the time to be extra kind to your body.
9. Full steam ahead
Dry air can irritate a cough, so keep the air moist with a cool-mist vaporiser at night. Ultrasonic vaporisers don’t have a heating element, so they humidify the air without causing condensation and won’t cause pregnant mamas to overheat.
10. Don’t stress about the baby
Having a cold feels awful, but you can rest assured your baby is not coming to any harm. He or she is still happily swimming away in your tummy, none the wiser! But, as always, if things don’t feel right or if you find your symptoms are getting worse, see your doctor.
Read next …
Winter brings with it a whole host of bugs and sniffles. Here are a few articles to help keep mum (and baby) healthy and happy as the colder months roll in: