It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to come down with a cold at least once during their nine months of pregnancy. It’s important to take extra care to avoid exposure to viruses, but it’s often hard to avoid.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about two- thirds of women in the U.S. take one or more prescription medications during pregnancy. Yet, most medications have not been adequately studied for their safety during pregnancy. Be sure to consult your medical provider with any questions about prescription medications during pregnancy for the well being of you and your baby.

If you are pregnant and do become sick, be sure not to take any over-the-counter cold or cough medications without confirming with your OB/GYN or practitioner that they are safe.

Here are a few of our recommendations for trying to avoid getting sick and some safe options to consider if you do catch a cold while pregnant.

How to Maintain A Healthy Immune System During Pregnancy

Consuming a balanced diet, maintaining a regular exercise schedule and washing your hands often are the best ways to maximize your chances of staying healthy during pregnancy. The following can keep you healthy and strong during your pregnancy:

  • Receiving plenty of rest and sleep
  • Avoiding stress and anxiety
  • Getting plenty of fresh air
  • Staying hydrated
  • Eating foods rich in vitamin C, zinc and selenium

Nonmedical Treatments

Coughs and colds are typically caused by a virus which is difficult to treat with antibiotics. Here are a few non-medical tips to try before consulting your medical provider.

  • Sleep Propped Up – Sleeping with your head and upper body inclined allows for better sinus drainage and makes it easier to breathe through a stuffy nose
  • Room Vaporizer – If a congested cough is keeping you up at night, invest in a small vaporizer to clear nasal passageways and loosen mucus in your lungs- allowing you to get more rest
  • Hot or Cold Packs – From a cold, you may develop painful swelling and tenderness in the sinus membranes accompanied by thickened mucus and discharge. Apply a wet washcloth on your face and use cold packs to ease swelling or relieve a sinus- related headache.
  • Eat Nourishing Foods – A healthy prenatal diet plays an imperative role in providing your growing baby with beneficial nutrients.
  • Take a bath – Baths are an excellent source of relief for achy joints and stuffy sinuses. Find a bath salt with lavender, mint, or chamomile for stimulating deep breathing and increasing relaxation.

Over-the-Counter Medications

There are numerous over-the-counter medications on the market, but you have to be aware what is safe for you and the baby. Below are a few medicines to try for instant relief, Contact your health care provider for additional information on their safety or for medications not listed below.

  • Mentholated Chest Rub – A little scoop of mentholated salve on your chest, temples and under your nose will open the body’s air passageways by triggering blood vessels to dilate.
  • Take Tylenol/ Acetaminophen – This medication has a long record of safety. It is a highly recommended over-the-counter pain reliever during pregnancy to help reduce aches, pains or fevers.
  • Nasal Sprays – Lower doses of zinc, which are found in nasal sprays, are commonly used to speed recovery from the common cold.

Do you have other tips for expectant mothers to find relief from a cold? Comment on our Facebook page! Read other Wellness Journal posts on pregnancy and childbirth.