Trying not to get sick during an entire pregnancy is a difficult task. Even if you have avoided sick friends and family. Chances are that you will pick up at least one cold germ during your nine month pregnancy. Cold viruses are problematic during pregnancy, due to the need to avoid most medications, that may cause harm to the developing fetus. Many women don’t realize that they need to avoid almost all OTC (over-the-counter) medications during pregnancy, until their obstetrician explains it to them. Each trimester carries it’s own unique risk to specific medications, and only an obstetrician can advise you on what is safe for a specific time period of pregnancy. Most obstetricians will advise a woman to avoid all medications, except acetaminophen (Tylenol) during pregnancy. Acetaminophen is usually only recommended for a temperature above 101 degrees Fahrenheit. So what can a pregnant women do to recover from a common cold without the comfort of cold medicines?
Relaxing is the most important step a woman can take to recover. Slowing down, and reducing activity will help the body use it’s available resources to recover. Limit daily activities to only the essential needs. To increase comfort during the illness, raise the head of the bed with pillows. Alternate the side in which you sleep at least every two hours to reduce stiffness, and soreness of your hips. A warm water bottle can be applied to the lower back to ease pain in the area. Avoid hot packs and heating pads, as too high a temperature can cause harm to your fetus. For all those tasks that you are unable to complete, rally up friends and family to help until you are well.
Monitor your temperature every four hours. Notify the obstetrician if you develop a temperature of 101 degrees or more. He will instruct you on the use of acetaminophen, which you should keep at hand at all times. A high fever can be very dangerous to the developing fetus. Some additional steps you can take for fever is a temped bath, or cool rag to the back of your neck.
When you are ill during pregnancy it is very important to increase your fluid intake. Lack of appetite, and eating less are not such a concern for the duration of a short illness. Lack of fluids however, can cause early contractions, which can lead to labor, if untreated. To avoid becoming dehydrated, increase fluids to six to eight glasses daily. Water and light juices are preferred. Notify your obstetrician if you cannot drink or hold down enough fluids during your illness. You may need to be hospitalized for a few days, and given intravenous fluids.
Comfort measures to relieve nasal congestion are simple and effective. You can gargle with warm salt water, use saline nasal drops in your nose, use eucalyptus gel under your nose, and blow your nose frequently. Sitting in a steamy bathroom for fifteen minutes can help loosen nasal and chest secretions. Allowing for a more productive cough, and effective nasal cleansing. A warm, moist vaporizer can also do the trick. Place some Vaseline on the end of your nose if it becomes irritated from constant running or blowing.
Warm fluids are very comforting during a cold. Brew some warm soup, or make a nice warm cup of tea. Then cover up in a soft, comfortable blanket of your choice. While you are resting try to be aware of any contractions you may be having. If you notice any abdominal tightening or lower back pain that lasts longer than thirty seconds, then it would be wise to call your obstetrician for further instructions. As well, monitor your fetal movements. If you feel less than ten fetal movements in an hours time, notify your obstetrician.
Most pregnant women recover from the common cold without any complications. If you notice anything out of the ordinary for your specific pregnancy then call the obstetrician. He is there to answer your questions and give you medical advise during this period of your life.