7 Healthy Tips For Flu And Cold During Pregnancy.

by Nakita Valerio, B.A, CSN, BMSA Technician on May 27, 2013
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7 Healthy Tips For Flu And Cold During Pregnancy
 
Pregnancy is a time of incredible change in a woman's body and these changes in body shape, hormones, use of nutrients, need for rest and so forth can have a profound impact on her daily life and condition during pregnancy. It is truly a time when the body governs the mind, and not the other way around. Now, we've all heard of the classic pregnancy side effects that plague women including morning sickness, sciatica, headaches, fatigue and so forth, but when a cold and flu hits while pregnant, the results can be catastrophic. This is compounded by the fact that there is very little by way of medication that a pregnant woman is permitted to consume while with-child.

So what can you do when the sniffles, aches and pains, and extreme fatigue hit you like a ton of bricks? Below are some suggestions of  "Dos and Don'ts" for those who have caught a bug while growing their baby.

1.) Stop eating sugar, dairy and flour products immediately. These are mucus-forming foods that can contribute to greater levels of coughing or runny noses as the body creates more thick, difficult-to-expel snot. While mucus is a natural protective mechanism of the immune system, too much can just complicate matters. As well, sugar automatically depresses the function of your immune system, making recovery more difficult. It is best to just stay away until you are fully recovered, if at all! If you are really having a hard time breathing, especially at night, because of mucus buildup, consider dabbing a bit of peppermint or lavender essential oil under your nose before you sleep. The mentholation will break up mucus long enough for you to pass out.
 
2.) In the case of fever, lowering your body temperature is important, but bear in mind that this doesn't solve the issue of infection. It is important to realize that fever is your immune system's natural defense mechanism and is in place for a reason. That being said, it is important to regulate your temperature so it doesn't get out of control and harm you and your baby. Drink fluids and electrolyte-replacement drinks including lemon juice in warm water and magnesium drinks. These will also flush out excess acidity and can help with muscle soreness, and aching. Do not consume ibuprofen while pregnant. It is not considered safe for your baby, especially in the third trimester when it may cause a passage in your baby's heart to close prematurely, leading to heart and lung damage, or even death. If you really wish to take a pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory in this time, stick to acetaminophen and use very sparingly.

3.) Drink plenty of fluids including broths which can re balance electrolyte levels in the body and help aid recovery. Dehydration, especially if illness is complicated by vomiting and diarrhea, can lead to serious health complications for you and your baby. Fluid intake also helps to make mucus more viscous and can help with a persistent cough by making it easier for you to expectorate.
 
4.) Take your vitamins and minerals. Despite your sickness, your baby is still growing and has all of the same nutritional requirements that it needs daily. Don't stop taking your vitamin and mineral supplements even if you are under the weather. The added nutritional support will also aid your recovery. Consider adding more Vitamin D, essential fats and probiotics to your regime to naturally boost your immune system in a safe way.
 
5.) Take homeopathics. Homeopathics are generally considered safe for pregnant and nursing women to consume and can be a very helpful way to nip any illness in the bud. Oscillococcinum by Boiron is a favorite, general-treatment homeopathic combination product that can be taken preventatively or in conjunction with other natural treatments for illness while pregnant. Arsenicum album is a valuable homeopathic in the case of diarrhea. Another favorite of mine is Umcka Cold Care sachets which are easy to take and work very quickly.
 
6.) Herbs that are considered generally safe in pregnancy can also be used to make healing teas and compresses. Alfalfa can help rebuild nutrient stores and aid the immune system indirectly in decreasing inflammation. Garlic and ginger may be powerful culinary helpers in the battle against sickness and can be consumed in tea or straight for powerful antiviral effects. Herbs that are traditionally used to treat sickness but MUST be avoided in pregnancy include : Slippery Elm, Goldenseal, and Arnica.
 
7.) Rest and relax. A lot of women have a difficult time getting out of their heads and into their bodies during pregnancy (present company included!) and the result is that they wear themselves too thin and don't recognize when they need to sleep and rest. Being pregnant doesn't mean being bed-ridden, of course, but if you've come down with something, it is best to take this time to rejuvenate for you and your baby. If you're bored in bed or relaxing on the sofa, take the time to chat with your child, read him/her stories, sing songs and listen to relaxing music. The beauty of children is that they force us to slow down and take the time to place value on such simple activities.
 
Nakita, 
 
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Disclaimer: The above information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your physician.

Topics: Cold and Flu, Female Health, Prenatal Care, Self Care

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