It all started Tuesday night, I woke several extra times that night because my throat was sore. I even got up twice to gargle with Listerine (my go-to remedy to head off a brewing cold). By morning, I knew my body system had taken a hit, I was tired and felt run down… Then the dreaded itchy eyes with a non-stop runny nose started. I kept trying to tell myself that this was the worst of it and I would bounce back in 48-72 hrs like normal, but by the following morning I had finished off a new box of Kleenex and our bedroom floor looked like there had been a freak snow storm. As Wednesday progressed I continued to insist that I was getting better, like I could somehow will the virus to give up and leave my body. Then, as if to retaliate for my stubbornness, the pressure in my head started building– causing my eyes to water and leaving me curled in a ball on the couch. Thankfully, we had Tylenol in our bathroom (one of the few medications safe during pregnancy) and within an hour my headache improved. Unfortunately, that night sleep was elusive, I was exhausted and near tears but couldn’t seem get more then 30 min stretches of sleep. Thankfully, that was the worst of it… starting Friday I slowly started to improve, but even as I write this I am still coughing, congested and unable to breath through my nose. However, I am glad the runny nose-watery eyes- sinus headache part has finally resolved.
After suffering for a week with this cold I decided to go looking for exactly why the pregnant woman’s body is so severely affected by illness… According to the Cleveland Clinic this immune suppression is to prevent the mother’s body from attacking and rejecting her growing baby. The American Journal of American Immunology states that this is accomplished by the elevated levels of Progesterone in the pregnant body, which is a natural immune suppressor.
How to treat your illness:
Just like any other time; rest, increased fluids, and good nutrition are the keys to helping your body heal quickly. Do not take OTC cold medications without first checking the ingredients and talking to your OB. Many websites post lists of medications that are considered safe, however, according to the CDC research on many of these medications is still inadequate. Therefore, check with your physician before taking all medications. Regular Strength and Extra Strength Tylenol however are safe when taken as directed, however, other pain relievers such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen, and Asprin are not safe and could lead to potential side effects in the baby.
How to avoid getting ill:
The best prevention for illness is always good hygiene with frequent hand washing. Additionally, maintaining good nutrition, staying hydrated, rested, and avoiding potential exposures will go a long way to keeping mom healthy. It is also important to stay up-to-date with vaccinations, including the Influenza vaccine, to give your immune system the best chance of fighting illness. As an added bonus, antibodies produced in the mother during pregnancy are then transferred to baby, this is why your OB will recommend getting the TDaP vaccination during your third trimester.
<a href=”http://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/meds/treatingfortwo/”><img src=”http://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/meds/treatingfortwo/images/treating-for-two-btn-300px.gif” alt=”Treating for Two. Safer Medication Use in Pregnancy” title=”Treating for Two. Safer Medication Use in Pregnancy. Click here to learn more.” style=”border:none;” /></a>
Thanks for stopping by!
Dr. Patricia Bast was born and raised in Southern California. After earning her bachelors degree at UC Irvine, she went on to graduate medical school from Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Northern California. She then returned home to Southern California and became a resident in Pediatrics at Loma Linda Children’s Hospital. Dr. Bast is now raising her children and loves working part-time at a pediatric clinic, watching her patients grow and thrive.