Coughs in Pregnancy
by Tasha Mayberry
Falling ill is never fun; most certainly not when you are pregnant! However, since your immune system will undergo changes during your pregnancy, the chances of you catching a cold and cough increase.
If you are pregnant and have been coughing constantly, it is probably because of a viral infection, and you can expect it to subdue with time and proper rest. Typically, cough is known to last up to three weeks, while most other symptoms of cold usually last for only about a week. While this could be a sign that your body wants you to slow down and get some well-deserved rest, it could be a concern if your cough doesn’t go away and you don’t have any other symptoms of the common cold. In this case, you should consult with your general physician to eliminate any other illness you might be experiencing.
Can your Cough Affect Your Baby?
This is a common question that most pregnant women have. Though you might feel your tummy shaking or moving up and down while coughing, it will not cause any physical harm to the little one in your tummy. Also, it is common to feel uncomfortable and experience a little pain in your abdomen when you cough, but you can easily alleviate this by using your hands to support your abdomen.
When Should You See Your Doctor?
If the cough seems to be severe or if you have been coughing for over ten days, then you should consult with your doctor. You need to make sure that your cough is not accompanied by symptoms like high fever, nasal discharge, you are coughing up mucus, and feel sick and weak. If you happen to experience one or more of these symptoms, the reason behind your persistent cough during pregnancy could be something else, like a chest infection or sinusitis, and you need immediate medical attention.
Can You Take Medications for the Cough?
While it is generally safe to take some of the cough medications you used to take before you were pregnant, like paracetamol, there are some you will need to avoid. Therefore, it is best to have cough medications prescribed by your doctor during this time. If you do choose to go with an over-the-counter cough remedy, do remember to carefully read the label to see if it is recommended for pregnant women. This is because some remedies are known to be harmful when taken during the first trimester, and some harmful during the last trimester, or vice versa.
Natural Cough Remedies
There are some natural remedies you could try to get relief from a persistent cough during pregnancy:
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is naturally capable of curing cough by making your body more alkaline, which in turn works towards getting rid of viruses that cause your coughs. It is safe to drink apple cider vinegar right from when you experience symptoms of cold and cough, and you can continue with it until your cough subsides. You can add a few tablespoons of the vinegar in tea or water.
Lemon’s natural antibacterial and antiviral properties make it an excellent and easily available natural remedy for cough. Rich in vitamin C, lemon also does the job of making your body alkaline, which again helps with fighting cough.
This is yet another natural antioxidant that also has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Therefore, eating a few cloves of raw garlic can be a lifesaver in alleviating coughs in pregnancy. If the raw garlic smell and taste are off-putting, you could try mixing it with some honey. Have this twice or thrice a day until you feel better.
Drinking water is the most basic and highly efficient remedy you could try for a lot of illnesses, including coughs during pregnancy. Persistent coughs can make your body lose more water, leading to dehydration, which you can prevent by drinking more water than usual. Drinking slightly warm water helps with your decongestion, and you could also infuse your water with lemon.
If you have dry coughs, ginger would be the best natural medicine, as it can reduce inflammation and phlegm. You can either use readily available ginger tea sachets, or make your own ginger tea by boiling a few glasses of water, adding tea and two teaspoons of grated ginger to the boiling water, letting it steep for about 15 minutes, and drink it. Add some honey if you prefer.
Preventing Coughs in Pregnancy
Though you cannot completely prevent catching a cold and coughs when you are pregnant, there are some simple steps you could follow to minimize the chances:
- Make vitamin C a part of your diet right from the beginning weeks of your pregnancy. Drink fruit juices, like orange juice regularly, and include vegetables that are rich in the vitamin in your regular diet.
- Wash your hands with soap and water at frequent intervals. When you are out and about, use hand sanitizers often to reduce your chances of getting infected.
- Stay away from people who have a cold and cough.
- Get sufficient sleep.
- Avoid taking your hands to your face, especially around your nose and mouth when you are out and about.
- Avoid sharing towels with others.
- Drink a lot of warm liquids during the winter months.
Coughs in pregnancy are common, so do not be over-concerned if everything else seems normal and you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
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