Getting the common cold while pregnant is hard. Eating well and getting enough sleep can be a challenge. You also have to avoid some treatments that you could otherwise have achieved.
In this article, you’ll learn why you may be more likely to get sick when you’re pregnant, what symptoms may affect your baby, what treatments are safe, how to take care of yourself, and how to prevent colds.
pregnancy and your immune system
Pregnancy can temporarily change some aspects of your immune system’s function. These changes can protect your growing baby.
But they don’t protect you from certain infections, including the common cold. Also, this is not just a change. Immune function continues to develop during your pregnancy.
Your susceptibility to certain diseases may change during pregnancy. Research shows that you’re most likely to get sick in the first trimester and least likely to get sick in the second trimester.
The common cold and your baby
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a cold during pregnancy usually won’t harm you or your baby. When you are sick, your baby is protected by:
- your immune system
- their own immune system
One symptom to look out for is fever. In early pregnancy, fever may increase the risk of certain birth defects. Contact your healthcare provider if you have a fever during pregnancy.
The common cold usually does not cause a fever. Therefore, high temperatures may indicate that you have other illnesses, such as the flu or COVID-19.
Your risk of getting severe COVID-19 during pregnancy
safe cold therapy
Many medicines are not safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Do not take over-the-counter (OTC) cold or cough medicines without your healthcare provider’s consent.
Medications to avoid include:
- The decongestants pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine. During the first trimester, they slightly increase the risk of birth defects in the abdominal wall.
- Pain relievers such as aspirin, Advil/Motrin (ibuprofen), and Aleve (naproxen).
- A combination cough and cold medicine that contains these medicines.
Check all labels for product ingredients. Only use products specifically approved by your supplier.
The acetaminophen in Tylenol and many combination medicines is considered the best pain reliever and fever reducer to use during pregnancy.
Safe cough and cold treatment options during pregnancy include:
- Over-the-counter steroid nasal sprays, such as Flonase (fluticasone)
- neti pot
- saline nasal spray
- honey (cough)
- natural throat lozenges
- Peppermint Rub
- The antihistamines Claritin (loratadine) and Zyrtec (cetirizine)
If you are using a neti pot, be sure to use sterile water and a clean container. Use a humidifier, change the water frequently and clean it thoroughly. This keeps the equipment free from contamination.
Be sure to speak with your healthcare provider before taking any medications during pregnancy.
take care of yourself
Self-care is important when you have a cold. Do your best to:
- get enough rest
- drink plenty of clear liquids
- Eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables
To relieve a sore throat, you can:
- Drink hot water or herbal tea with honey and lemon
- salt water mouthwash
- sucking ice cubes
Tell your healthcare provider about any severe or persistent symptoms.
It’s hard to avoid the cold. But your best defense is:
- enough sleep.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Wash and sanitize hands frequently.
- Exercise regularly.
- Consider wearing masks and social distancing in public places or around sick people.
- Take prenatal vitamins as recommended.
If you are a smoker, quitting smoking is a must. It strengthens your immune system and protects your baby.
Overview of the common cold
Your immune system is changing to protect your baby. This can leave you vulnerable to illnesses like the common cold. Colds are not a threat to your baby.
Do not take any medicines that are not approved by your healthcare provider. Opt for natural remedies and home remedies, such as honey, salt water sprays, and neti pots.
Getting enough sleep, eating right, and simple precautions (washing hands, masks) can help you stay healthy during pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a scary time. It’s normal to worry if you’re sick. Don’t feel bad about calling your healthcare provider — you won’t be the first expectant parent to worry.
It can be helpful to discuss which medicines you can and cannot take before you get sick. That way, if you suddenly need them, you’ll have the right stuff at hand.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a cold during pregnancy harm the baby?
No, it will not harm your baby. They are protected by the placenta, your immune system, and their own immune system.
Do colds last longer after pregnancy?
it may. Pregnancy changes your immune system, so it may take longer to fight off a cold. Usually, colds last less than two weeks.
What cold medicines are safe to take during pregnancy?
Safe medications include:
- Tylenol (acetaminophen)
- antihistamines, such as Claritin (loratadine) or Zyrtec (cetirizine)
- Steroid nasal sprays, such as Flonase (fluticasone propionate)
What cold medicines should I avoid while pregnant?
Do not take:
- Advil/Motrin (ibuprofen)
- Aleve (naproxen)
- Sudafed (pseudoephedrine)
- Sudafed PE (Phenylephrine)
Read labels carefully. Most combination cold medicines contain one or more of these ingredients.
How to Naturally Relieve Cold Symptoms During Pregnancy?
Natural remedies for sinus pressure include a humidifier, saline nasal spray, or a neti pot. When coughing, try lemon honey tea, menthol rub, or natural lozenges.