Is it a pregnancy cold?
The classic symptoms of pregnancy include a missed period, tender breasts, and frequent tiredness. What you may not know is that you may experience a whole host of other signs and symptoms beyond these common ones. Mucus discharge, headaches, and a metal taste in the mouth are all part of the equation.
You may have a slightly higher body temperature during pregnancy. This happens because of the rising levels of progesterone. It is also caused by increasing body weight, cardiovascular changes, and increased blood flow. This hot or warm feeling may alternate with cold spells, which, although normal in many situations, may also indicate a severe underlying medical condition.
For example, if you chronically feel cold even when you’re warmly dressed and the weather is warm, you could be having an underlying issue. Speak to your doctor about the problem to get the appropriate diagnosis.
Catching a cold during pregnancy
Colds are a common occurrence during pregnancy. Under normal circumstances, adults have an average of 2-3 colds annually. If you catch a cold during pregnancy, it will not harm the fetus. However, it can be uncomfortable for you, and you may worry about what medications to use.
A cold is a common mild viral infection that affects the throat, nose, upper airways, and sinuses. It can cause your nose to block and make it runny, accompanied by a sore throat, sneezing, and a cough. A cough usually lasts for a week as your body tries to fight off the infection.
When you’re pregnant, the chances of getting a cold are higher because your immune system is suppressed. You are also likely to catch the flu, which is why it’s critical to take steps to prevent illnesses during pregnancy.
Treating a cold during pregnancy
According to the Food and Drugs Administration, you need to talk to your doctor before self-medicating with over-the-counter medications. Most of these drugs have ingredients that treat cold symptoms.
Paracetamol during pregnancy. You can use paracetamol for mild or moderate pain and fever in pregnancy. No clear evidence exists that it can cause harmful effects on the baby. However, only use the lowest dose possible and for the shortest time possible. If this does not help to control your symptoms, get advice from your doctor.
Ibuprofen during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor before taking Ibuprofen when pregnant as it is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine. It is not clear if taking drugs in this category increases your risk of miscarriage. Avoid it entirely in your third trimester as it can cause bleeding before childbirth, heart problems for the unborn child, or delayed labor. Paracetamol is the preferred pain relief medicine in pregnancy.
Antihistamines. They are a popular medication for allergies and may help relieve a runny nose, sneezing, and watery eyes caused by a cold. Around 15 % of women use antihistamines in pregnancy, and experts consider them generally safe for the unborn child. The following are safe for use during pregnancy:
Decongestants. Decongestants like pseudoephedrine are safe to take during pregnancy as over-the-counter medications or when directed by the doctor. However, some studies show that they may increase the risk of abnormalities in your unborn child, and you should thus take them cautiously. This is especially crucial during the first trimester. Instead of decongestants, use nasal strips and saline nasal sprays as safe alternatives.
Natural remedies. It is okay to not want to use any cold medication when you are pregnant. Natural remedies like plenty of rest can work to help your body to recover. Lie down with your head slightly elevated to help with stuffiness and breathing.
Drinking a lot of water can also help you recover from a cold. Natural fruit juices and smoothies can provide you with your daily nutritional intake when you have no appetite. Applying warm compresses to the shoulders, head, and sinuses may also help reduce the congestion and pain accompanying a cold.
Most importantly, you must take preventative steps to protect yourself from catching colds and flu during pregnancy:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizers
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, and face with unwashed hands
- Stay away from sick people
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NHS: "Ibuprofen for adults (including Nurofen)," "Paracetamol for adults," "Signs and symptoms of pregnancy."
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UTSouthwestern Medical Center: "Baby (and tissues!) on board: Tips for managing pregnancy rhinitis."