What should you do if you catch a cold during pregnancy?

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The information leaflet in the pack often reads «this medicine should not be taken during pregnancy». But what if you're coming down with a cold or you can't get rid of a cough? Natural home remedies that can help ease the symp­toms and when it's better to see a doctor.

Weakened immune system leads to more colds

During pregnancy, our immune system isn't as strong as usual. We are more likely to catch an infection. Naturally, we tend to worry: how can we get well again? Will the infection harm the child? What remedies can we take without harming the baby? A feverish cold doesn't usually have any effect on the unborn child.

Can a cough during pregnancy harm the baby?

A coughing fit can be another major cause of worry: can the baby come to any harm if the stomach contracts uncomfortably during a coughing fit? Don't worry. The amniotic fluid protects your child both from external shocks and from the pressure caused by coughing.

Preventing a cold

A balanced diet and plenty of exercise in the fresh air are essential for strengthening the body's own defences. You should also avoid large groups of people, sick people, and direct body contact, such as shaking hands. And last but not least, you should make breaks and time to relax part of your everyday routine. Ways in which you can do this include simple breathing exercises, gentle pregnancy yoga and getting plenty of sleep.

Helpful home remedies

Mums-to-be will certainly find it helpful to know a number of home remedies that can be taken safely even during pregnancy.

For a cold or a runny nose

If you still catch a cold or have a persistently runny nose despite taking precautions, the following home remedies will help:

  • Chest rubs containing thyme, marjoram or angelica
  • Nasal sprays with saline solutions
  • Steam inhalations using natural ingredients, e.g. chamomile

Reducing a fever

When you're pregnant, a short-lived fever that stays below 39 degrees is usually nothing to worry about and can be treated with the help of fever-reducing home remedies. Paracetamol (Dafalgan, Ben-u-ron) may be taken during pregnancy, but you should always speak to your midwife, doctor or pharmacist first. And, of course, it's important to drink plenty of fluids when you have a high temperature. Lukewarm calf wraps can also help.

Soothing a sore throat

A sore throat can be very painful – but, here too, home remedies can support the healing process and relieve the pain. When your throat hurts, it's important to keep it moist. Here's how:

  • Drink warm beverages
  • Gargle with fennel tea or chamomile tea, for example
  • And don't forget to keep your throat warm by wearing a scarf
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Getting rid of a cough

Plagued by a wearisome cough? The following home remedies can help:

  • Chest rub: many drug stores and pharmacies have their own special mixture
  • Drink plenty of fluids – preferably water or tea
  • Always consult your doctor first before taking cough medicines

Make your own cough syrup

A plant-based cough syrup can also soothe irritable coughs or help get rid of stubborn phlegm. The syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.

What you need:

  • 2 tbsp. candy sugar
  • 1 organic lemon (sliced)
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)

How to prepare:

  1. Layer all the ingredients in a sealable jar.
  2. After a short time, a syrup will form, which can be taken a teaspoonful at a time when required.
Discuss alternatives such as acupuncture, homeopathy, Schuessler salts, etc. with your midwife, druggist or pharmacist.

Not all herbs are harmless

Certain essential oils and tea mixtures can set off early contractions or negatively affect the pregnancy. These include herbs such as cinnamon, cloves, sage and rosemary. This list is not exhaustive. Therefore, it's important to pay attention to what herbs the teas or oils contain and to consult your midwife, druggist or pharmacist before taking them.