Ever since you became pregnant, you’ve probably asked your doctor about what’s safe and what’s not. From safe eating during pregnancy to tips for surviving morning sickness, you are naturally concerned and you want what’s best for your baby.
And when you get sick during pregnancy, you’ll be wondering what’s a safe medication for colds? What are natural remedies to treat the common cold during pregnancy?
Colds and Pregnancy
Germs and bacteria are everywhere in our world. During pregnancy, you are more prone to getting a cold, since your immune system is suppressed. (The reason for this is simple. It prevents your immune system from seeing your developing baby as a foreign object and attacking him or her.)
Your lowered immune system in pregnancy makes you more vulnerable to the common cold, flu, and other infections. In addition, when you catch a cold during pregnancy, there’s a good chance that your symptoms will linger for a few extra days.
How can you tell if you have a cold? Nasal stuffiness is a symptom of a cold, but it’s also a common pregnancy symptom. (You may experience nasal congestion during pregnancy, due to the hormonal effects on your nasal passages.) If you have other cold symptoms (fatigue, sore throat, coughing), you most likely have a cold.
If you come down with a cold when pregnant, contact your doctor for his or her recommendations on safe medications to take. Generally, you’ll want to try natural cold relief remedies before you take any over-the-counter medicines.
Safe Medications to Take During Pregnancy
No drug or medicine that you take during pregnancy is 100 percent safe. All medications have the potential to cross the placenta and affect your baby. Obviously, some medicines are safer than others.
As a rule of thumb, if you can, try to avoid taking any medication when pregnant. However, if you just feel awful, you should talk to your doctor about the following over-the-counter medicines. These are typically recommended and considered safe for pregnant women.
Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Tylenol Cold is considered safe for pregnant women. Acetaminophen may be used when you’re running a fever, or suffering from aches and pains. Acetaminophen is often the only “safe” pain reliever to take during pregnancy.
(Advil, Aleve, and aspirin come with risks and should not be taken when pregnant. They can interfere with your baby’s development in the early months of pregnancy, and they can sometimes cause problems during labor and delivery.)
Robitussin DM is approved for treating coughs in pregnant women.
Sudafed (pseudephedrine) can give you some relief from your cold symptoms during the day. (Be sure that you do not take the SA (sustained action) form of this medicine or the “multi-symptom” form.)
Nasal spray decongestants are probably safe to use during pregnancy. However, experts don’t recommend using them in general. After two or three days of use, they can trigger rebound congestion that makes you feel worse than before. (You should use a plain saline nose spray instead.)
** It is very important that you double check with your doctor or midwife before taking any over-the-counter medication. They know your specific medical situation, and they can recommend what’s best for you in your situation.
It is important to note – many over-the-counter medicines for colds aren’t that effectively. The common cold is a self-limiting illness. Cold medications typically just treat the symptoms. They don’t actually make your cold go away.
Natural Remedies for
Treating the Cold During Pregnancy
When the common cold first hits you, try natural remedies to treat your symptoms. Natural, homegrown remedies for colds are often better for your unborn baby.
Home remedies for cold relief in pregnancy include:
- Chicken soup (canned or homemade)
- Drinking hot tea (avoid herbal teas unless you get your doctor’s OK)
- Sipping hot water with honey and lemon for sore, irritated throats.
- Keeping hydrated with Gatorade or water.
- Use a humidifier when you sleep.
- Gargling warm salt water for your sore throat
- Eat a nutrient-rich diet with fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This helps your body have the strength to effectively fight off a cold.
Be sure to get plenty of rest and sleep when you’re sick. Sleep is one of the best methods of allowing your body to fight off a cold.
(For more information on natural remedies to treat the cold, read Foods to Fight the Cold and Flu Naturally.)
When to Call Your Doctor
Always call your doctor if you have any concerns about your health during pregnancy. If your cold is accompanied with a temperature over 100; you’re coughing up blood or green gunk.
If your cold symptoms are especially severe, or they last for over a week, call your doctor. He’ll want to rule out any secondary infections.