Wellness Wednesday: Coping with Colds During Pregnancy

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Last week we talked about preventive tips for avoiding colds during pregnancy. However, sometimes , you will still get a cold (part of the whole broken world!). Today, I will give some coping tips. This comes at an appropriate time for me because I was battling a cold a couple of weeks ago and wanted to avoid typical cold medicine as much as possible.

If you do get a cold during pregnancy, it can be miserable when you can’t take herbal supplements or an over the counter medicine. Pre-pregnancy, I could cope with a cold by taking Day-Quil or a similar cold medicine. During pregnancy, I was forced to take a day off and stay in, often because I did not take cold medicine to help me cope. Of course, the time off helped my cold end more quickly (and I highly recommend it!). But colds can still be miserable, and I had one particularly nasty one. Here are some things to help.

Note: There are decongestant medicines that your doctor can recommend during pregnancy. As I mentioned in the last post, I still wanted to avoid these so I mostly tried to avoid colds. But if you get a bad enough cold, it may be worth it to take something strong so it will go away. Talk to your doctor about this.

1. Neti pot. This is honestly one of the few things that changed the overall quality of my life. One fall of teaching, I got every cold and bug that went around. The next fall of teaching (while pregnant), I used the Neti pot any time I felt congested. A Neti pot puts a gentle saline mixture through your sinuses. It gets rid of congestion and prevents those horrible colds where you can’t even breathe. Use it at the first sign of a cold or even as regular prevention. I have a cheap one from a drugstore, but you can get really nice ones from specialty food stores.

If you suffer from allergies, a Neti pot is also a tremendous help. Keeping the congestion out will go a long way toward helping you stay allergy-free. I had terrible allergies before I started using the Neti pot more frequently. Now I haven’t had to take allergy medicine in over a year.

The Neti pot may seem odd, gross, or a bit scary. But give it a try. There’s lots of good information out there, but typically you can use the information that comes with the Neti pot you purchase.

2. Rosemary. Put some rosemary (dried or fresh) into a pot of water and bring it to a boil. Then set the pot off the stove eye. Cover your head with a towel and lean over the steaming pot carefully. Breathe in and out. This especially helps with those sinus headaches that come as a result of congestion. You can do it frequently to help with the headaches and breathing.

3. Lemon-honey water. My husband put lemon juice and honey in a cup of hot water for me to sip. It always helped me feel better. I have heard that the better quality (i.e. more natural and raw) honey that you use, the better it is for you. You might also look into any safe herbal teas. Hydration is key, especially during pregnancy.

4. Salt water gargle. You can gargle with a little bit of salt water in a cup of water. The Mayo clinic website suggests 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water. This felt so good the first time that I did it that I decided more couldn’t hurt. Wrong. Don’t overdo this or your throat will feel both raw and sore–much worse than your initial problem.

5. Rest. Sleep is crucial to the body’s healing. If you feel like sleeping, do so. It will speed your recovery time. Plus you can always use extra sleep when pregnant.

6. Eat well. Continue to eat foods full of protein and nutrients. While there is always the obvious chicken noodle soup, I also ate scrambled eggs with cheese, lots of walnuts, and plenty of chicken.

What are your tips for coping with colds (pregnant or not)?

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