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With a Cold and Pregnant

It is still cold season, can't you tell?  So what to do when your pregnant with a cold.  Emily needs some of your suggestions for curing or at least helping to get some relief.  She writes:

I am wondering if anyone has any cold remedies for a pregnant mama. I've got the vaporizer going and am getting as much rest as I can, but I'd love to hear what people suggest for a sore/itchy throat, sneezy/congested nose, and body aches. Thanks!

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Oh, I wish I had a good answer for you. I got a very severe cold like yours while I was pregnant with my second-born, and my firstborn was about 15 months old. I called the nurse to ask if I could take a combo medicine, and she said that she "preferred" that I only take one medication at a time. No straight answers on whether the stuff in the combo meds were safe.

However, I can tell you for certain that Benedryll is safe, as is Tylenol. Vicks Vapor Rub can also be a life-saver. I wish I knew some good natural remedies. I'm excited to see what other people will post!

For the sneezy/congested nose, I took a wet washcloth, popped it in the microwave for a brief time (1 minute? - hot as you can stand it without burning yourself!!) and then place it over your face. The steam helps release the congestion in nose & sinuses.

Best parts: non-toxic, repeatable as often as you'd like and CHEAP. My best friend taught me this & she even used it with her kids (although I don't think mine would allow me to place a washcloth over her face).

Wow -- that happened to me, too. So sorry! I echo the safety of benadryl -- I don't know how much it did for my symptoms, but it did let me sleep. I also did a lot of holding my head above a steaming pot of water and I used a netti pot. Good luck!

Is there anything more miserable than a bad cold while pregnant? Ok, there probably is. But I had one with my first pregnancy and it was awful. I feel for you.

Push fluids so the congestion in your nose/throat/chest is thin and comes out easily. Stay away from sodas (too sugary and often full of caffeine).

Eat spicy food (if it doesn't give you heartburn) to clear your sinuses. You don't have to do anything special--just at some chili oil, cayenne, or tabasco to some soup.

Use a heating pad, a hot bath, or tylenol to treat the aches and pains.

For a ticklish cough (the kind that won't let you sleep), try a few sips of whole milk. I know that sounds bizarre and unappealing, but it will coat and soothe your throat. Just remember to brush your teeth afterwards if you're doing this at night.

Try ginger-honey-lemon tea to treat a sore throat and help a bit with congestion. Take some raw ginger and cut it into slices. Simmer the slices in a pot of water until the water tastes very gingery (as gingery as you can handle). Add some lemon juice and sweeten with honey to taste. Drink it as hot as you can without burning your mouth.

Gargle with warm salt water if you feel like a sore throat is starting. Do it twice a day with water as salty as you can handle without gagging.

Hope some of these are helpful. And if you're feeling tempted by those colorful cold medicines, remember a couple of things. One is that decongestants work by constricting blood vessels. They will also constrict blood vessels in the uterus and reduce the oxygen supply to the baby--that's why they're not recommended for use during pregnancy. And the other thing? Taking cold medicines usually prolongs a cold, so it may be milder, but it lasts longer.

Oh, and keep repeating to yourself "this won't last forever"--a good mantra for once the baby is born.

I agree with the above posts but I never really used the Benadryl as it wasn't really suited to my symptoms. For the cough, I wouldn't use the medicated lozenges... just peppermint candies, which cleared my sinuses temporarily and soothed my throat. I loved the ginger lemon tea but I would have to be constantly sipping it for it to be effective. Also useful is a steamy shower... this always felt refreshing and helped clear the sinuses. They also sell that eucalyptus cake that you set in the bottom of the shower to make eucalyptus smell, which can be nice and clearing for the sinuses.

Good luck and feel better soon! I'm off to nurse my babies back to health (probably just in time to get the sick myself -- ahhh the joys of motherhood!)

Have you tried a neti pot? You fill this little pitcher thing up with warm water and salt (non-iodized) and pour it into your nose. It drains out the other side. It's kind of gross and feels really weird, but it does wonders for nasal congestion and is completely non-pharmaceutical. I had a nasty cold while pregnant, and the neti pot was the best relieef I found.

Second the recommendation to try a neti pot. I'm also pregnant and since having a cold weeks ago, I can't seem to kick the congestion. Using the neti pot once a day definitely provides relief.
Good luck!

Neti pot, neti pot, neti pot! Pre-neti, I had chronic sinus problems for years and it is the ONLY thing that has helped with the constant nasal secretions. Twice a day when feeling icky, once a day otherwise. When not sick, it helps to clear the nasal passages of the airborne junk that ends up there. Hope you feel better soon!

oh man... colds while pregnant = agony. Don't they seem to hang on forever? I had two brutal ones this past pregnancy, and not much brought relief. They tylenol helps with the sinus pain and other aches. I also took mucinex, because that got the junk out of me, but ask your dr. of course. The neti pot is fantastically helpful, as is a warm shower first thing in the morning to get the pipes running again. Benedryl never seemed to help, except that I could sleep, so I didn't take that for long. The cold I had late in pregnancy caused such severe coughing spells that my dr. put me on a Rx cough suppressant that was safe, but I took less than half of the prescribed dose since I was so nervous about the fetus. What helps calm my throat (and I still use this since I'm currently nursing) is either putting honey in my tea, or just swallowing a spoonful of honey. I don't love the super sweetness of it, but it works for a while, and that's all that matters. Other than that, water water water! Good luck and feel better!

Another neti-pot believer. It saved me during a horrible sinus infection during pregnancy. You can get them at Walgreens or New Seasons (elsewhere, I'm sure, but those are the two I know).

gargle, neti pot, herbal tea with honey and lemon, steamy showers, sleep with pillows to elevate your head, hot and sour soup from a good thai place, massage from someone you love, possess positive healing thoughts.

My remedies while pregnant or not are the neti pot for sinus congestion and for sleeping, breath right nasal strips, vicks vapor rub and a vaporizer in the room. I hope you feel better soon!

If you're not into pouring water into your nose, you could use a saline nasal spray several times a day instead. Just make sure it is not medicated--only saline. "Simply Saline" makes a good one that stays sterile until it is empty.

Last winter when I was pregnant I got a horrible cold. I recommend you buy some fresh ginger, peel it, and put it in a pot of water. Boil it and let it seep for a while. Then, drink a cup of the hot ginger water with some honey and squeeze lemon juice in it. Also, put some eucalyptus oil in your bath water. You could also put it in some lotion and rub that on your chest. Take care Mama and Happy Healthy Pregnancy to You!

I had a terrible cold while in my third trimester; the nasal congestion wasn't lessened at all by steam or saline spray. My doctor gave me the okay to take Afrin nasal spray, and it worked great (there are a couple of different kinds, so check with your doc about specifics). You can't use it for more than a few days though.
Good luck to you, feel better soon!

Seconding (thirding?) the neti pot. I use the plastic version--you can check it out at neilmed.com. (not affiliated, I swear!) I too had chronic headaches before I used it. Now colds are soooo much easier to deal with and shorter really since you don't have gunk stuck in your face.

This is a crazy thing that will stimulate your immune system, help you get a better night's sleep and help drain some of the congestion from your sinuses. Anyone can do this, my kids ask for this when their sick, because they know it helps them feel better:

Warming socks:
What you'll need: 1 pair of cotton socks, 1 pair of wool socks, cold water & 1 towel
1. soak cotton socks in cold water and wring them out. Put them on (yes it's cold)
2. put the wool socks on top
3. go to bed and wrap your feet in the towel so your bedding doesn't get wet.

This is called hydrotherapy and has been used for years.

Other tactics you can use while pregnant- Vitamin C & garlic (raw) help boost your immune system. If you're not up for a neti-pot, you could also consider a salt water nasal spray from the drug store- will do a similar thing.
gargling with salt water
get lots of rest
Don't be afraid of a fever- this is a sign that your immune system is working on fighting the cold.

See a naturopath- she has a lot of other tricks up her sleeve that can help you get through it naturally!

Hi all,

Loved your suggestions for treating a cold while pregnant. I'm a writer and working on a story for a national women's magazine and your ideas really helped. If you'd like to be mentioned in the article (an opp to see your name in print!) for suggesting a safe cold remedy during pregnancy, let me know. Would love to give credit where credit's due.

Has any one had a congested headeach as part of a pregnancy cold? I feel like my head is full of air but I don't have any other cold symptoms, is this normal?

I have the worst cold ever right now.

I have read on the net fro hours and so far i have tried these..

1. Nasal strips to open the nasal passage.
2. Vicks Vapo rub on chest, over the sinus cavity and under the nose. Also put a tablespoon into a pot of water, toel over head let steam open you up. Also vicks on teh bottom of your feet with a pair of warm socks was wonderful.
3. Instead of lozenges ( NOT RECOMMENDED BY DR) i used ginger candies to soothe throat. Hot teas( caffiene free of course!!)

4. HAS EVERYONE FORGOTTON, CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP!! it was heavenly, even though i was in serious misery.

5. Check with your Dr. that you dont have a sinus infection becuase there are safe antibiotics NOW that he can prescribe. you will need that to cure the infection.

6. ALWAYS check with your Dr. About all reccommended treatments... keep ur baby or like in my case babies!!!( yes twins) SAFE.

Due to the known side effects of eucalyptus, and the unknown effects during pregnancy or breastfeeding, eucalyptus should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women. And certain essential oils like Lavender and Rosemary. Be careful using that Vick's!

The ginger and herbal tea recommendation is great and has been working well for me (3 trimester, really bad cold), I would however suggest, if at all possible some Reiki treatments, totally safe for your baby, relieves symptoms pretty quicky and can be given to yourself if you have been initiated, otherwise check out a Reiki practioner in your area. I am a Reiki master/teacher and Reiki has become indispensable during the whole of my pregnancy.

I second the warning on eucalyptus oil...i have also read that it is dangerous. And ginger, as harmless as it seems, can be too. I would only recommend taking ginger in small doses. No relief is worth putting the baby at risk. Rest, Rest, and more rest is probably the best approach. Light sinus massage and some warm soup are always helpful as well. I always air on the side of caution with any herbs or herbal products because the truth of the matter is there just hasn't been enough research done to come to any solid conclusions.

I agree with all the posts about Neti Pot, it's a great way to mechanically clean out the nasal cavities, and actually flush out the pollutants, allergens and mucus buildups. A standard salt water solution could work but adding sesame oil can help add moisture for dry noses. Runny noses may want to add things like golden seal or ginger.

I had serious FLU twice while pregnant and was technically high risk (my perfectly healthy daughter was born a month before my 35th b'day)--you're perfectly fine taking any acetomenaphin based cold remedy, especially if you're past your first trimester.

If anything (as noted above) be careful about herbal remedies, since some of them may be more harmful than not.

Garlic Lemonade

2 quarts water
8-10 garlic cloves, whole and peeled
the juice of one lemon
honey to taste (I use about 2 Tablespoons for 2 quarts)
optional: a chunk of peeled ginger


Sounds crazy, but is AMAZING!

i have just come down with my first pregnancy cold now that baby #4 is coming and this was all around helpful to read! i now have a whole bunch of things i can try! thanks Mom's from all over!!

I am super early i am 6 weeks preggers with my 2nd and i have just been dying with this cold! my body aches my fever is up i cant get any relief!!!! I know i shouldnt try anything crazy. i have a netti pot and i am going to do sum ginger tea light on the ginger. I have work the rest of the week at a call center and my throat is killing me. so i wont have time to rest at all :( what can i take for being so early because i know my dr stressed the only thing i can take is tylenol until im at 12 weeks...ive read all the posts and some are helpful but i hear do one thing and dont do it on the same thing....any help is appreciated ladies!!

Thanks ladies! I'm 38 weeks w/ my second child & have been miserable for almost two weeks w/ a severe cough/cold. I have found all of your posts super helpful & will be giving a bunch of these tips a try.

Be sure it's just a cold..........I felt so bad I went to the doctor and found out I had pneumonia and strep throat at 10 weeks. Treat yourself properly.

If you have access to an Acupuncturist in your area, they can actually STOP symptoms of a cold, flu, etc. once they have already started. At least if he/she is a good Acupuncturist they should be able to. I go to Acupuncture for some other things and anytime I feel like I'm getting sick, my Acupuncturist treats the cold or flu and it usually goes away! It may be a somewhat expensive form of treatment, but if you are really miserable and other things aren't working, it might be worth it!

My doctor told me to gargle with listerine several times a day for sore throat. It actually gives temporary relief for 1-2 hours. I have also been using Vicks vapor rub, saline spray, and uplifting pillows. I'm still feeling bad, but I'm about 50% better than I was. Sometimes I think things just have to run their course. But partial relief is better than the total misery that I was experiencing!

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A quick rebuttal of the 'don't be afraid of a fever' comment. If your fever is high (say, 101 or more) even after Tylenol you need to contact your doctor. A fever of 102 or higher can cause birth defects or even miscarriage, so if you've tried everything you may need to go to the ER for some cold IV fluids to bring the fever down.

I know that doesn't sound like much fun, but we do what's necessary to protect our babes. I'm also not trying to freak anyone out - I've had a low grade fever for days but since it's stayed under 100.5 with Tylenol I haven't been worried. I just wouldn't want anyone to suffer through a high fever thinking it'll be okay when it can be extremely harmful.

As always, when in doubt call your doctor!

I am a first time mom carrying twins, and just hitting my third trimester. I started feeling the oncoming of a cold/flu a few days ago and went in to see what I can take or be prescribed to help get me past this. But since then, the symptoms have turned into a full blown cold (cough,nasal,congestion,headaches,body aches) I have tried hot towels, steam showers, and hot soup. But with so many helpful ideas, I'm hoping I can at least feel better, or well enough to get through this.. thank you all for the help..

I've got a cold with pretty horrible congestion and my nose is very stuffy right now and I'm 8 months pregnant. I found that Chai tea helped soothe my throat. Then I tried Chamomile tea with honey and vanilla, the Celestial brand and that completely took away the soreness in my throat from coughing. It worked fast too. But,I've still got pretty bad congestion and coughing.

Whenever one of my kids get sick with the flu I let them use my vaporizer to inhale some eucalyptus oil extract. It seems to instantly free up their airways and relieve a soar throat. I don't like giving them medicine that can have unlisted side effects that I'm not willing to deal with.

I bought my PUFFiT X vaporizer at http://magicvaporizers.com/puffit-x-vaporizer and have been using it happily ever since.

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