Friday, April 25, 2014

Sick While Pregnant: How to Get Rid of That Annoying Cough

You have enough to deal with while pregnant - sore breasts, stretch marks, nausea, nightly heartburn - so having a bad cough or cold can seem like the straw that will break your back. Luckily for you, N’ICE is providing you with a list of remedies to ease your cold and get you back to your glowy, if a bit tired, self:

  • Check with your obstetrician/gynecologist before taking any medicine while pregnant. You want to be sure that whatever you take will not harm your baby.
  • Always try a single medicine to tackle your symptoms, pregnant or not. You could accidentally take more medicine than you mean to. You should be able to find one medicine that can treat both a stuffy nose and a fever.
  • If you do have a fever, you can take acetaminophen. Just make sure you don’t double your dose - some medications may contain acetaminophen in addition to other ingredients. If you have painful aches or fevers, this drug is fine to take for pregnant women. Dr. Gideon Koren, senior scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and director of the Motherisk program (which advises pregnant women on safety in pregnancy), states, “Clearly, women have fever and the bad body feeling of a severe cold should be treated.”
  • Avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin. Aspirin has been linked to delivery complications. Make sure you don’t use drugs like ibuprofen, especially in your last trimester.

Good medications to try while sick with a cold are:

  • Expectorants. These help loosen and get rid of phlegm. Anne Marie Picone Ford, a pharmacist in Moncton, N.B., says to “Look for a medication with Guaifenesin in it and that’s fine.”
  • Cough suppressants. Another powerful cough-fighting medicine is a cough suppressant, which tries to stop your cough from even occurring in the first place. While many cough syrups are safe for pregnant women to use, at times, cough suppressants are used simultaneously with other medication. You should check with your doctor before using any cough suppressants.
  • Decongestants. These cold aids come in many different forms - oral medicines, nasal drops or sprays, They were made to relieve stuffy heads and noses. But while pregnant, these medications should be used with care and only when absolutely necessary. Nose drops or sprays are best when you’re with child, but don’t overdo them. When your cold is at its worst, take a decongestant right before you go to bed, so that your airways are freed up while you sleep. The reason it’s best to use a nasal spray is that little of the medication will be absorbed in Mom’s circulation, so the risk to a baby is little to none.  
  • Humidifiers. The way a humidifier works is that it’ll raise a room’s moisture level, which makes it easier for you to breathe. So, using a humidifier at night works best to unclog your stuffed up nose. Pro tip: use a cool mist humidifier to avoid burns, especially since you may use this in your baby’s room as well (humidifiers are recommended for easing your kids’ cold symptoms). Propping up your pillows to relieve a cough helps as well - it stops postnasal drip.
  • Echinacea. Some do not think echinacea is effective, but some doctors, who have conducted studies in pregnant women, report that it is safe to use, and that many of the pregnant women said it even helped them.
  • Vitamin C. Vitamin C is also safe, but should, like everything else, be used in moderation - especially while pregnant.

The above tips should kick your cold to the curb, and get you - and your baby - feeling stronger and healthier everyday.

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