When it comes to managing colds and the flu, there’s an entirely new set of rules to be considered when a woman is pregnant. This is because she has to look after not only her own health, but that of the fetus growing inside her as well. These tips should help every pregnant woman cope better if she gets sick.
Often times, expectant mothers fall into a higher risk category for colds and the flu because pregnancy weakens their immune system. This is a natural process, because it helps stop their bodies from rejecting the babies growing inside them.
Pregnant women should get the flu vaccination as soon as they find out that they’re pregnant. This is the best moment to protect both baby and mother, as it will generally reduce the risk of flu until the babies are up to six months old, when they can have their own flu vaccine.
Most colds won’t generally cause major problems for pregnant women. However, the flu is a different story and can cause added complications including pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and high fevers. Birth defects and premature labor risks are also increased.
If a pregnant woman has a cold or a flu, it’s vital that she gets plenty of rest and sleep. She must keep her fluid intake up, and this can be done through hot teas, water, soups and other drinks she likes. Keeping warm should be a priority too. Eating healthy meals will create additional energy, helping her body function better. This is essential, because she is now eating for two.
If the mother is still working, it’s better to take some time off every now and then. This way, she won’t have to get in contact with other people, who may be sick. It will also help reduce her stress level and get more rest, allowing her body to put up a better fight against the cold or flu condition.
The mother must get immediate medical help if she experiences symptoms such as: confusion, severe vomiting, trouble breathing, pressure/pain in the chest area, dizziness, less movement of the baby or a high fever that lingers for too long, despite taking medication to ease it.
Seeking a doctor’s advice should be the top priority, because many medications that may help ease the flu or a cold may be contraindicated for pregnant women. In fact, many obstetricians recommend avoiding all medications within the first 12 weeks of being pregnant, as well as caution after the 28 week point. This means that the mother may have to try alternative remedies to better protect her unborn child.
Using a humidifier can help moisten and clear the nasal passages, making it easier to breathe. The mucus stays looser this way, and it is easier to expel by coughing or blowing the nose. It’s a safe way to help reduce the symptoms.
Pregnancy is a wonderful experience for a woman to go through, and if she can care for her own health by following these tips, she should be able to avoid colds and the flu, or at least to better cope with the situation if she does get hit.