Pregnant women are more vulnerable to various infections and illnesses. That’s why they have to be more careful and mindful of their health. Any minor symptoms can be enough to schedule an unplanned appointment with your doctor. The immune system is rather weak during pregnancy. So, whenever a mother-to-be feels under the weather, things can escalate very quickly. That’s why you better have a strategy just in case. Here is how to recognize if you are getting sick, what to do, and what treatment is recommended during pregnancy.
Common Flu Symptoms
People often confuse the first symptoms of the flu with a common cold. Of course, these illnesses are rather similar. They both cause fever, stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, and fatigue. However, all flu symptoms will be more expressed and stronger. Plus, the flu often comes with body aches and chills.
Also, sometimes, flu can also lead to nausea and vomiting, which is uncommon for a regular cold. Of course, pregnant women often suffer from the latter even without dealing with the flu. So, if feeling nauseous is one of your first symptoms, it’s easy to miss it.
Don’t underestimate the effects of the flu on a weakened immune system. If you start noticing any complications, or worsening of certain symptoms or don’t get better in a few days, contact your doctor. Flu consequences on pregnant women can be rather severe, including before-term labor or birth defects. The healthcare specialists in obstetrics and gynecology will guide you through this time safely.
Overall, being sick with a cold is less dangerous than having the flu. Simple home remedies will help you cope with a cold in a few days. Whereas flu may require medication treatment or hospitalization.
Most of us don’t think twice about taking an over-the-counter (OTC) medication when feeling sick. As soon as you notice that you come down with something, you go for regular Advil or Robitussin. However, a pregnant woman should always have second thoughts about taking any OTC medication without their doctor’s approval. Sure, most cold medications are completely safe for women and fetuses. However, normally, doctors will warn women about taking such meds during their first trimester.
Still, there is no reason to stress over such a decision when you can be certain. So, here are the best treatment methods for women after 12 weeks of pregnancy:
- Pain relievers, i.e. Tylenol;
- cough syrup (preferably without flavors), i.e. Robitussin;
- medications for nausea and upset stomach, i.e. Mylanta;
- regular nasal strips or saline sprays;
- gargle with warm water mixed with baking soda or salt. You can also try both at once for a better effect. Salt will decrease the inflammation, while soda kills the bacteria;
- take plenty of rest and reduce stress;
- finally, studies suggest taking antiviral medications as soon as you start
- suspecting the flu over any other sickness.
Keep in mind that it’s best to start with your treatment as soon as you feel the first symptoms. Don’t wait till you are certain. If you already feel blue, the symptoms won’t go away on their own. Chances are, they will escalate within a day or two unless you start taking respective measures.
Of course, the easiest way to fight sickness is to prevent it altogether. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can keep yourself and your baby safe while pregnant. So, try these methods to decrease the risks and maintain your good health throughout the entire pregnancy:
- Take a flu shot – it’s completely safe during pregnancy;
- take prenatal vitamins – they are rich in Vitamin C and can boost your immune system;
- maintain a balanced diet – eat foods rich in zinc, Vitamin C and D, iron, and selenium;
- drink plenty of water – dehydration weakens your body;
- exercise – a healthy amount of physical activity will help enhance immunity;
- have plenty of rest – exhaustion will weaken you and make you vulnerable to the viruses;
- avoid stress – our mental health also affects immunity;
- wash hands frequently;
- eat garlic, ginger, berries, oranges, and nuts;
- avoid large public gatherings, especially during the flu season.
All these recommendations can help you stay safe as long as you stick to them and stay cautious about your surroundings.
Every woman should know when it is time to call the doctor. Most common flu symptoms don’t lead to any consequences. However, there are certain states that can affect a fetus’ well-being. So, in case you start feeling any of the symptoms below, waste no time and contact a hospital:
- vaginal bleeding;
- shortness of breath;
- fever that doesn’t reduce after medications;
- pains in the chest area.
All these sensations and symptoms are abnormal and can interfere with your pregnancy. So, do seek medical assistance if you fall into a worrisome physical state.
Pregnant women are very vulnerable to various viruses. That’s why they have to stay cautious about their physical health, notice any sudden changes in their well-being, and not hesitate to contact doctors upon any new symptoms. Women during their first trimester should be particularly careful about their physical health and being exposed to viruses. They are in the most vulnerable state during such time and can suffer severe consequences for being sick. Meanwhile, they are not yet recommended to take any medications without their doctor’s approval.
Overall, taking plenty of rest, avoiding large crowds, and working on boosting your immune system should be sufficient enough to keep a mother-to-be safe and healthy. Finally, do watch out for worrisome symptoms and stay in contact with your ob-gyn till full recovery.