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Cough and Cold During Pregnancy - Causes and Home Remedies

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  • November 7, 2020
  • MKB Team

When you become pregnant, your immune system will experience a drastic change and you might catch a cough and cold. But there’s no need to worry as it is a perfectly natural occurrence. Here are the health tips and home remedies for cold and cough during pregnancy. Read to discover and know more!

Cough and Cold during Pregnancy

When it comes to cough and cold during pregnancy, you should always be aware of the problem and the situation, right from understanding why we get colds and how it affects our body to the best remedies available.

Causes of Cold and Cough

There are more than 200 viruses that cause symptoms of the common cold, the most common being the rhinoviruses. Germs spread these colds especially when someone sneezes or coughs. These germs can survive on hands and other surfaces for 24 hours. A cold virus can enter your body through your nose, mouth or eyes.

During pregnancy, there are changes in the functioning of the immune system. That makes an expectant mother susceptible to cough and cold symptoms. The symptoms last for about a week, although a cough can last up to three weeks. The reasons why antibiotics don’t help much to ease the problem is because colds are caused by a virus and not by bacteria.

A cough is caused by viral or bacterial infections in the respiratory tract, and this can be caused because of a cold. Pollutants in the air might worsen a cough by causing irritation, and this is common in many Indian cities today. 

The following symptoms generally define a cold:

  • A runny nose, which gets stuffy as the cold progresses.
  • Sneezing fits.
  • Mild fever accompanying the cold.
  • A sore throat.
  • A cough, which becomes dry and sometimes lasts longer than the cold itself.
  • Fatigue and dehydration.

How to Determine If it’s a Cold or Flu?

Ensure that the diagnosis is proper and that cold is not misdiagnosed as flu or vice versa. Note that flu is a much worse condition than cold and requires much more attention, care and treatment. Flu also lasts longer than a cold. The two core symptoms of a cold are cough and a runny nose. The main symptomatic difference between the two conditions is that flu is characterized by a high fever, chills, headache and a sore throat that worsens gradually by the second or third day. Flu also brings about soreness in the muscles and makes you physically weak.  

Does cold and cough during pregnancy affect the baby?

Thankfully, a common cough and cold during pregnancy and its related symptoms haven’t been known to adversely affect a baby. The baby is protected by the cushioning of amniotic fluid and coughing does not affect the baby as a result. But it is advisable to treat a cough and cold during pregnancy, and not permitting the symptoms to linger as it weakens an expectant mother, thus affecting her nutrition. This affects the baby’s development in the long run. 

Home remedies for cold and cough during pregnancy

There is no reason to panic if you catch a cough and cold during pregnancy. There are many natural home remedies for cough and cold during pregnancy, which have proven to be highly effective for years.

  • Continuously hydrate yourself with lukewarm water. Take small sips throughout the day.
  • A saltwater gargle eases sore throat.
  • Add fresh garlic in soup or have a clove or two whole. 
  • Ginger tea will help clear up your throat. Tulsi tea works for colds. A mix of tulsi and ginger is also effective. 
  • Honey mixed with lemon is great to remove dry cough.
  • Warm milk and turmeric is an age-old Indian home remedy to fight cold symptoms.
  • Try Flax seed water with a bit of lemon and honey.
  • Carrot juice battles cold viruses effectively.

You can also try these special remedies, depending on the symptoms.

  • For a stuffy nose, add two or three drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of hot water or a steamer. Lean over the bowl with a towel over your head and inhale the steam to help clear your congestion. Before you turn in at night, put a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil on a tissue, and sniff. 
  • For sore throat or cough, add honey, ginger and lemon to warm water and drink up in moderation.
  • Raise your upper body with extra pillows when you lie down to rest or sleep. This can help your nasal passages drain. Use a wedge pillow or layer cushions or pillows to form a triangular shape for the right support. Ensure that your upper body is raised and not just your head for you to breathe comfortably.

As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure! 

To keep that immune system strong and avoid cold infections a healthy lifestyle is a must. So is good hygiene. Avoid exposure to extreme climate as this puts stress on the body and weakens its defences. Wash your hands with soap regularly and get good sleep and a little exercise. Avoid eating out too much and consume healthy and hygienic food. Keep all your surroundings clean, especially surfaces you come in contact with regularly like doorknobs, keyboards and mobile phones.    

Did you like this article? Do you have a unique home remedy for cough and cold during pregnancy? We’d love to know more. Write in to us!

Q & A

You ask and we answer!

Can a cough and cold harm my unborn baby?

Puja Bhatia, Chandigarh.

No! A cough and cold might make life miserable for you, but does not harm your health or your baby’s. It’s normal that you may pick up a cold during your pregnancy as we catch 2-3 colds annually. 

What can cause cough during pregnancy?

Saloni Singh, Gurgaon.

The efficiency of the immune system lowers during pregnancy, causing the body's natural defence system to weaken and become vulnerable to allergies and coughs.

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