Best Ways to Treat a Cold in Pregnancy

By Kaleigh MacDonald-Tremblay

January 2, 2020

I am a mom of two beautiful children, Adelia and Alister and two dogs Audrey Hepburn and Kevin Bacon. My husband and our children live in Hammonds Plains, NS and my Mama Coach Territory is Halifax.

Congratulations on your pregnancy! If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you are looking for information on your pregnancy. This is a very exciting time. When you become pregnant your body experiences many changes and one of the biggest things that changes are having to be more mindful about what we put into our bodies. It switches from having to be mindful about yourself to having to be mindful of what could potentially impact the wellbeing of our unborn child. If you have had previous pregnancies then you may already have some experience with a cold or flu while pregnant. In my own personal experience, that can be challenging. It’s also challenging to try and sift through what is safe and not safe to take during pregnancy. 

When you are pregnant, your immune system becomes weaker. Your immune system weakens so that the mothers’ body does not reject the unborn baby.  Our bodies are amazing and the fact that our body understands to do this is so interesting. However, it does leave pregnant women less able to fight off illness. This makes you more susceptible to colds and flu. Receiving the flu vaccination can reduce the risk of contracting the flu, therefore reducing your risk of complications that can arise from the flu. Drinking lots of fluids, taking your prenatal vitamins and getting lots of rest can also be crucial in preventing colds or flu. It is also important that if you are feeling unwell that you contact your primary health care provider. 

Medications

If you are hoping to go the medication route there are many medications that are safe to take during pregnancy and so this shouldn’t be stressful. 

Here are some medications that are considered safe after 12 weeks of pregnancy. Please consult your health care provider prior to taking any medications during pregnancy to ensure they are safe for you and your pregnancy. 

  • Acetaminophen: 
    • This can help with aches and pains and can reduce a fever.
  • Cough drops or lozenges: 
    • These can soothe the throat from irritation.
  • Nasal strips:
    • To help with inflammation of your nasal canal.
  • Calcium Carbonate (Tums) or similar medications.
    • This can be effective for reflux or heartburn that may be a result from nausea or vomiting.
  • Some cough syrups may be safe. It is best to consult your primary care provider or pharmacist to ensure that your choice in cough syrup is safe. 

Avoid the “all-in-one” medications. These medications are designed to tackle several symptoms, making it more difficult to understand any adverse effects.

The following medications, unless recommended by your physician are medications you should avoid.

  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen (especially in the first trimester)
  • Naproxen
  • Codeine
  • Bactrim

More Natural Options for your cold or flu

If you are less inclined to use medications during pregnancy, there are other options and safe alternatives. 

  • A bath
    • The humidity will help with congestions and the warm water will help with aches and pains. Avoid baths that are too hot.
  • Saline nasal drops
    • This will help loosen nasal mucus.
  • Honey or lemon in hot water
    • This will help with a sore throat. 
  • Heating pads
    • This may be effective for aches and pains.
  • Gargling with warm, saltwater
    • This may help with a sore throat.

I hope that if you are experiencing a cold or flu during pregnancy that you found this information helpful. I want to stress that it is always important to contact your health care provider if you are concerned in any way about your health, especially during pregnancy. The Mama Coach has Mama Coaches who work all over Canada and the United States and would be happy to help you with whatever pregnancy-related question you have. Prenatal classes are available to you and your family. If you have any questions, please reach out to a Mama Coach in your area. 

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