How to prevent and treat a cold during pregnancy

Posted on July 9th, 2018

Although getting sick during pregnancy can make you feel miserable, there’s no need to suffer. By Claire Barnardo

How to prevent and treat a cold during pregnancy

Dealing with pregnancy symptoms is a task all on its own. There are so many changes happening in your body all at the same time. And with winter now in full swing, it’s also impossible to avoid the typical cold and flu bugs that go around. In fact, it’s even more common for pregnant women to get ill.
The real inconvenience lies in the fact that there aren’t many over-the-counter medicines that you can take.

ALSO SEE: Your winter pregnancy health guide

The best medicine

Prevention is better than cure during pregnancy. “Pregnancy is a state in which your immune system is already compromised, because you have to deal with a foreign body,” says Dr Leneque Lindeque, obstetrician and gynaecologist.
As you’re already more likely to get sick, keeping healthy is your number one priority. From the start, antenatal vitamins are vital in pregnancy – especially iron and folate.
It’s necessary not only for your health, but the development of your baby. “Making sure you’re healthy is important since it prevents you becoming run down, overworked, undernourished, dehydrated, and putting yourself at risk of catching flu,” says Lindeque.

ALSO SEE: Prenatal vitamins – what you really need

Is it a cold or flu?

It’s often difficult to distinguish between the common cold and flu. They’re similar because both are viral. But the major differences are the symptoms and whether they become infectious.

Cold symptoms

  • Sore throat
  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Headache
  • Congestion
  • Mild temperature
  • Lasts 7 – 10 days

Flu symptoms

  • Headache
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Dry cough
  • Body aches and pains
  • Fever or chills
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Watering eyes
  • Can last 10 days to two weeks.

When to see the doctor

  • The best treatment for colds or flu is symptomatic relief. As you’re already limited in what you can take, you may have to ride out most of the symptoms.
  • Always check with your doctor before taking anything during pregnancy.
  • If you aren’t on the road to recovery within five days, then see your health care provider in case it has become a bacterial infection.

ALSO SEE: Flu tips for pregnant and breastfeeding moms

Some antibiotics are safe during pregnancy and are usually prescribed if you:

  • Have a persistent fever
  • Are coughing up sputum that has a colour
  • Have symptoms that bed rest, nutrition and hydration aren’t helping
  • Have an upper or lower respiratory tract infection
  • Aren’t better after two weeks.

Most antibiotics are safe in pregnancy, but you must let your doctor know that you are pregnant before he prescribes.

Tips to relieve your cold and flu symptoms

  • Take Panado
  • Regulate your body temperature
  • Stay out of the cold
  • Drink hot water with ginger, lemon and honey
  • Steam your face and nose
  • Use saline drops
  • Rest in bed
  • Get plenty of TLC.