Dealing With A Cold While Pregnant
A cold is a very common mild viral infection of the nose, throat, sinuses and upper airways. It can cause a blocked nose followed by a runny nose, sneezing, a sore throat and a cough. The cold will usually last for about a week as the body fights off the infection.
There is no cure for a cold, although you can usually relieve the symptoms of a cold at home by taking over-the-counter medication, such as paracetamol, and drinking plenty of fluids.
Cold Medicine And Pregnancy
Coming down with the common cold is always unpleasant, let alone if youre pregnant. While many medications are off-limits during pregnancy, there are some remedies to relieve your symptoms.
Common Cold Medicine and Pregnancy: Go Natural
Before you consider taking drugstore medicines for the common cold, you might want to consider some good old-fashioned home remedies, says Elisa Ross, MD, an obstetrician and gynecologist on staff with the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
The reason: No over-the-counter medicines are really treating the cold or helping you get better, they just control symptoms.
Dr. Ross suggests:
- Chicken soup
Common Cold Medicine and Pregnancy: Whats Safe?
If you cant get enough relief from those home remedies, its possible to use common cold medicines with a few precautions. First, guidelines say its best to avoid all medication during the first trimester.
In the first 12 weeks the baby is making its organs, and so in general, if people dont need to take something during that time it would be great if they didnt, says Dr. Ross. more serious consequences at the beginning of the pregnancy.
Next, Ross says the safest bet is to look for medications with the fewest ingredients possible.
There are also specific medicines to avoid during pregnancy:
- Any herbal medications or remedies
Common Cold Medicine and Pregnancy: The Safe List
- Zinc lozenges
Signs Of A Sinus Infection During Pregnancy
If youre pregnant and havent had much experience with sinus infections in the past, you might wonder what hit you. Chances are you have a sinus infection if you notice:
- Yellow or green drainage from your nose
- Nasal congestion
- Facial pressure
When these symptoms last more than a week to 10 days without any improvement, its probably a bacterial infection instead of a viral one, notes Ahmad R. Sedaghat, MD, PhD, an associate professor in the department of otolaryngology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. In that case you may need to be prescribed antibiotics, so be sure to let your doctor know if your symptoms worsen.
While sinus pressure and pain in pregnancy might leave you feeling pretty under the weather, the good news is that the infection wont affect your baby.
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Safe Allergy Remedies During Pregnancy
- Oral antihistamines, like cetirizine , chlorpheniramine , diphenhydramine , fexofenadine , and loratadine seem to be safe. So does cromolyn sodium nasal spray and the steroid nasal spray Rhinocort, according to Web MD.
- Allergy shots: If you took allergy shots before pregnancy, your doctor might recommend you continue taking them. But do not start them while pregnant.
- Sudafed 30-60 mg every 4-6 hours can be used in the second and third trimesters in women without gestational hypertension. Avoid use in the first trimester and with breastfeeding. Sudafed PE should be avoided because of its uncertain efficacy and safety in pregnancy.
Allergy Medications to Avoid During Pregnancy
- Decongestants: During your first trimester, dont take decongestants by mouth, according to Web MD. Decongestants may make some birth defects more likely. Watch out for antihistamines combined with a decongestant. Because theres not enough evidence for their safety, avoid antihistamine nasal sprays.
- Mucinex, Mucinex D, Mucinex DM, and the extra-strength versions of each, because the six forms of Mucinex contain guaifenesin. Avoid taking any of these during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, they may be safe to use during later trimesters. Ask your doctor.
Where To Find Reliable Information On The Web
An Internet search will turn up lots of websites with advice on safe medications to use during pregnancy. But the advice is inconsistent and recommendations are often based on a lack of data, rather than evidence for safe use according to a study of Web-based information published in 2013.
For up-to-date, reliable information, we recommend www.MotherToBaby.org, the consumer website of the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing evidence-based information on medications and exposures to other substances during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. You can also call toll-free at 1-866-626-6847 to talk to an information specialist free of charge.
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Can I Take Reactine While Breastfeeding
Claritin or Reactine is safe to take during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Benadryl is safe to take during pregnancy and breastfeeding. *Caution: may decrease milk production during breastfeeding. It may also make the baby sleepy or irritable.
Cold And Flu During Pregnancy
Colds and flu symptoms can be very similar to the symptoms of COVID-19. Even if your symptoms are mild, get tested for COVID-19 immediately use the colds and flu Symptom Checker if you’re not sure what to do. You can also learn more here about COVID-19 during pregnancy.
Getting the cold or flu when you are pregnant can affect your unborn baby. If you are considering pregnancy or are already pregnant, it is highly recommended that you have the flu vaccination to help protect you and your baby.
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Be Cautious When Seeking Treatment
Many women use non-prescription, over-the-counter decongestant sprays to open up their nasal passages. Know that these medicines dont work for pregnancy rhinitis. These medicines may give you temporary relief. However, they may actually make your symptoms worse and lead to a complete nasal blockage.
How can you get relief from pregnancy rhinitis? Experts say you can breathe easy with these measures:
Dont use OTC nasal decongestants.
Drink plenty of fluids.
Increase the humidity levels in your home. Use a humidifier.
Dont use nasal irritants, such as cigarette smoke.
Get moving. Regular, moderate-intensity exercise can reduce congestion. It can also help you sleep better. But first, check with your healthcare provider to see what exercises are safe for you.
When you go to sleep, raise the head of your bed. For instance, use an extra pillow or a wedge.
Ask your healthcare provider about using OTC nasal strips and saline sprays or drops.
The good news? Even if you dont do anything, you can expect your stuffy nose to clear up soon after your baby is born. It often goes away within two weeks of childbirth.
Online Medical Reviewer: Bowers, Nancy, RN, BSN, MPH Foley, Maryann, RN, BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 4/12/2016
Is It Bad To Have Sinus Infection While Pregnant
On its own, a sinus infection while pregnant is not likely to harm your unborn baby. However, in rare cases, the symptoms of a sinus infection can lead to complications during pregnancy. Pregnancy can also worsen the severity of sinus infection symptoms.
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Is It Safer To Skip Allergy Medication Altogether When I’m Pregnant
If your symptoms aren’t bad, your doctor may suggest other treatments instead. You could allergy-proof your home or rely on saline nasal sprays.
But if allergy symptoms are a big problem — making it hard to sleep, for instance — taking medication may be better for your health and your baby’s.
If you have allergic asthma, you need to take the medication as prescribed. Uncontrolled asthma can cause serious problems during pregnancy.
Acetaminophen / Phenylephrine Pregnancy Warnings
This drug should be used during pregnancy only if the benefit outweighs the risk to the fetus.AU TGA pregnancy category: B2US FDA pregnancy category: Not assigned:-There is no data on use in pregnant women to know this drugs risks, including the risk of fetal harm or reproductive effects.-Acetaminophen is commonly used during pregnancy and has been assumed safe recent data questions the safety, especially with routine use or varying genetics. -Routine use of acetaminophen during pregnancy is not advised.-Phenylephrine is a sympathomimetic used in emergencies to treat hypotension and alleviate eye and ear allergic symptoms.-Phenylephrine could cause constriction in uterine vessels , reducing uterine blood flow, potentially causing fetal hypoxia.-Phenylephrine may interact with oxytocic or ergot derivatives to cause persistent maternal hypertension cerebral vessel rupture is possible.-Sympathomimetic amines are teratogenic in some animal models, but are not suspected to cause human teratogenicity.-First trimester exposure to phenylephrine may be linked to fetal abnormalities.-Patients with a preeclampsia history should use phenylephrine with caution due to its vasoconstrictive properties.-Phenylephrine may reduce placental perfusion.
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What Can I Take For Constipation
The increase in progesterone during pregnancy or pressure on your intestines from your uterus may affect your bowel movements. Colace Stool Softener is a good option for helping everything continue to run smoothly. You can also increase your fiber intake, eat more fruits and veggies and drink plenty of fluids to help with regular bowel movements.
How To Treat A Sinus Infection During Pregnancy
Most sinus infections are viral, so taking antibiotics generally wont help . As with the cold or flu, your best bet for sinus relief during pregnancy comes from managing the symptoms with home remedies, such as:
Nasal irrigation. Using salt water irrigation, like a Neti pot, can help keep the lining of your nasal passages moist, remove backed-up gunk and promote drainage. Studies have shown that rinsing ones nose with saline by itself will improve sinusitis symptoms as well as swelling in the nose, Sedaghat says. Saline is available as normal saline and hypertonic saline both work equally well, but the hypertonic saline is sometimes associated with nasal dryness or nose bleeds.
Salt water spray. While not as effective as irrigating with a Neti pot, a spray will moisten your nasal-passage lining too and some provide relief. Anything thats pushing salt through would be helpful, Mehdizadeh says.
Cool compresses. Applying a cool, damp washcloth over your sinuses can help ease discomfort, says Mehdizadeh, and can also soothe a sinus headache in pregnancy.
Sinus infections typically clear up within two weeks, but call your doctor if your symptoms remain the same or get worse, and especially if you develop a fever, changes in vision or ear or throat pain.
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What Is A Sinus Infection
Sinus infections are a type of infection that occurs when the nasal cavities become inflamed, swollen, and infected. While viruses are the most common cause of sinusitis, sinus infection causes also include bacteria and fungi.
Sinusitis is classified based on its duration and cause. The two types of sinus infection include:
- Acute sinusitis is a temporary inflammation of the sinuses, and most often follows a cold or allergies. With a compromised immune system, women may develop new allergies and get sick more often during pregnancy. During a bout of acute sinusitis, swelling blocks the sinus openings and prevents normal mucus drainage. This causes mucus and pressure to build up. Symptoms usually worsen, then peak and disappear.
- Chronic sinusitis occurs when the symptoms of sinusitis last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Unlike acute sinusitis, symptoms may come and go and vary in intensity. Continued symptoms will strain the immune system, which is important to avoid if youre pregnant and the immune system is weak as it is.
A combination of antibiotics, antihistamines, and decongestants is used to fight chronic sinusitis, although many of these medications may not be safe if you are pregnant. According to Robyn Horsager-Boehrer, M.D. at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, pregnant women should avoid taking unnecessary drugs during pregnancy.
Can I Take Sudafed/sudafed Pe When Pregnant
Sudafed and Sudafed PE are generally safe OTC medications to take during pregnancy after the first trimester according to the Cleveland Clinic. Regular Sudafeds main ingredient is pseudoephedrine, a decongestant. Sudafed PE is similar to the plain Sudafed but it contains phenylephrine.
Regular Sudafed has been a go-to for a sinus infection during pregnancy for a long time. This cold medicine works by constricting blood flow to the nasal passages. Common side effects include dry mouth, feeling like your heart is racing, and high blood pressure.
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Pain Due To Headaches Or Sore Throat
Acetaminophen is a first-choice medication for pain relief in pregnant people. Some researchers suggest that taking acetaminophen during pregnancy might not be as safe as previously thought. But ACOG still recommends it as one of the only safe pain relievers expectant mothers can take.
How To Cope With A Sinus Infection During Pregnancy
A sinus infection can be quite uncomfortable in and of itselfbut when one strikes during pregnancy, things can get confusing. For one thing, you might be unsure as to whether its actually a sinus infection or just a run-of-the-mill pregnancy symptom. For another, its not always clear as to whether the typical treatments are safe for baby. Thats why we talked to experts about what its like to suffer a sinus infection during pregnancy, what causes it and how to treat it safely.
In this article:How to treat a sinus infection during pregnancy
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Common Cold Symptoms During Pregnancy
Generally, a cold will start with a sore or scratchy throat lasting about a day or two, followed by the gradual onset of other symptoms which may include:
- Mild fatigue
- A runny, then later stuffy nose
- A dry cough, particularly as the cold is ending which may continue for a week or more after the other symptoms have mostly subsided
- A low-grade fever typically under 100 degrees Fahrenheit
Cold symptoms usually last between 10 to 14 days. However, if your symptoms persist longer than that time frame or seem to progressively worsen, you should talk to your primary care physician so they can ensure it hasnt turned into something more serious like an infection or the flu.
Sinus Infection While Pregnant: When To Call A Doctor
A Nevada-bred traveler & food nerd who dances & eats spinach, sometimes simultaneously. She writes from wherever her curiosity demands, and is passionate about spreading the wisdom of better health.
Ken Cosby M.D.
Ken Cosby M.D.
Dr. Ken Cosby received his medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine and completed his research post-doc work at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health including the National Heart Lung Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute.
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Can You Take Azo While Breastfeeding
The safety of phenazopyridine is not established in infants or during breastfeeding. Because it can cause methemoglobinemia, sulfhemoglobinemia, and hemolytic anemia, it should be avoided while breastfeeding, especially with an infant under 1 month of age or with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency.
What Sinus Medicine Is Safe When Pregnant
The Hippocratic Oath takes on a much greater meaning for a pregnant woman: âI will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment I will keep them from harm and injustice.âMost people mistakenly assume it says, âFirst, do no harm,â but whichever way a patient wishes to take it, the pregnant patient is thinking not of herself, but of her baby. Sinus medicine may relieve the womanâs symptoms, but at what cost to the baby?
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Sinus Infection While Pregnant
Pregnancy comes with its own set of challenges that can make dealing with a sinus infection much harder than normal. For one, you are more likely to get sick, as pregnancy suppresses the immune system.
These natural changes in immunity exist to strike a balance between the mothers health and to protect the baby from disease. Additionally, certain parts of the immune system are suppressed to prevent the body from rejecting the fetus as something foreign.
While these are all natural functions, they unfortunately make sinusitis a pervasive threat, particularly for those who have been susceptible to infections in the past. Additionally, several conventional sinusitis treatments are unsafe for pregnant women, so it is important to know what you can and cannot use to treat your sinus infection while pregnant.
The good news is that, despite these challenges, a sinus infection will most likely not affect your unborn child. The first step is to determine whether or not you have sinusitis.
Treating A Cold Or Flu In Early Pregnancy
While it is usually recommended that women avoid medications during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, there are exceptions. Tylenol to prevent fever is recommended, as fever can be detrimental to a developing embryo.
This is not to suggest that all drugs have a potential for harm. In many cases, they don’t. But, in others, we simply don’t know. For this reason alone, you should adhere to your doctor’s advice to avoid all medications for at least the first 12 weeks.
Instead, make every effort to help your body recover by slowing down, resting, and avoiding stresses that can affect your immune system. You can do this by:
- Staying in bed, napping, and getting as much rest as possible
- Drinking plenty of water, soup broth, or juice
- Gargling with salt water to treat a sore throat or cough
- Sucking on ice chips to alleviate a sore throat and to help with hydration
- Using a humidifier to help relieve congestion
- Eating small, healthy meals regularly
- Taking your prenatal vitamins
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