The World of Pregnancy

How to Get Rid of a Cough during Pregnancy?

Have you ever been put in the situation to ask yourself how to get rid of a cough during pregnancy? Maybe not! But better be safe than sorry, right?

About Cough

A cough is a natural mechanism of cleaning the upper airways of irritant substances and excess mucus. It can also appear with an unusual frequency, force or pattern (pathological), in which case it becomes a symptom. Most often, coughing appears as a consequence of upper respiratory infections – pharynx (throat), larynx (voice box). Most of these infections are viral, so the administration of antibiotics for a simple cough isn`t recommended, especially during pregnancy.

A cough is a symptom and not a disease in itself. Thus, its treatment depends on the disease that produced it. The antitussive drugs or those that thin the mucus are recommended when the symptoms are very unpleasant and there`s no causal treatment. But remember, not without talking to a doctor first.

Dry Cough during Pregnancy

A cough can be dry (irritating) or wet when is expectorated – there`s a fluid with a high density eliminated from the airways, named sputum. Dry cough is also often caused by allergens, irritants (smoke) or drugs. There`s a myth that yellow or greenish sputum is in fact related to a bacterial bronchitis, so it`s required a treatment with antibiotics. It`s true that viral infections can also produce sputum with a similar aspect, but only the doctor can recommend antibiotics. Coughing up blood requires your immediate presence to the doctor.

When Coughs Are an Emergency?

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • Difficulty breathing (shortness of air, “fighting” for air);
  • Rapid breathing, shallow or slower than usual;
  • The swelling of face or lips, breathing difficulties (acute allergic reaction);
  • Fever of over 39°C;
  • Stridor (low-pitched noise when inhaling);
  • Wheezing (hissing during exhalation) and no medication for asthma;
  • Coughing up blood.

How to Get Rid of a Cough during Pregnancy?

Viral respiratory infections can be treated at home, but the time in which they will evolve is practically almost impossible to influence. You need to be patient because you know that the healing with occur in a few days. Don`t take any kind of drugs, no matter what kind. Talk to a doctor for additional investigations if you sense don`t improve or go terribly wrong (high, prolonged fever, chills, coughing up blood weight loss) or if you expectorate a large amount of sputum with an unpleasant odor.

  • The easiest remedy for coughing due to viral respiratory infections appears to be a combination of honey and lemon – for instance, a tea. Honey forms a thin film that covers the irritant mucosa, which relieves the cough. Drink enough liquids (water, tea, soup), especially if you have fever. Note that although tea isn`t really recommended during pregnancy, a cup of tea every now and then to get rid of a cough isn`t harmful.
  • Gargle with warm salty water from time to time and suck on ice chips to alleviate your sore throat.
  • Place a humidifier in your room can relieve the symptoms of irritation of the airways. The same effect will be achieved if you make a warm bath and inhale the warm air from within the bathroom.
  • Use nasal strips and place your head on a pillow to keep elevated while you rest.

Chronic Cough during Pregnancy

A cough can last less than 3 weeks, in which case it`s named acute coughing. Between 3 and 8 weeks, we name it a subacute cough, and when it persists for more than this period, the cough is chronic. Common causes of chronic cough include smoking, nasal mucus discharge in the throat, asthma or gastroesophageal reflux.

Although almost everyone knows that smoking is harmful during pregnancy, there are still future mothers who simply think they cannot quite and smoke a cigarette every now and then. There`s no such thing as to not being able to quit, and if you didn`t quite already, you should really make an effort because this may be another reason for your cough. The most severe cases of chronic cough appear more often at smokers. Additionally, they may develop a specific chronic cough, also known as the smoker`s cough, which is mostly experienced during the morning when the airways are filled of discharges.

No Drugs if You Caught a Cold or Flu

You should keep in mind that the immunity of a pregnant woman is lower than of a woman who isn`t pregnant and the explanation is as it follows: The product of conception has genetic and structural components from both parents, the mother`s organism perceiving it as a foreign body and seeking to reject it. Here comes into play the physiological mechanism known as immunological tolerance, which lowers the immune response and makes it in such a way for the mother not to reject the pregnancy.

Consequently, the mother becomes much more vulnerable to infections, like colds or flu (if this is the reason that leads to coughing). Unfortunately, colds during pregnancy cannot be treated with drugs, but there are certain tricks that you can use to combat it and tips to prevent it.

The first thing you should do if you catch a cold is to check if you have fever. General pain in the body, headaches and a temperature higher than 38,5°C can indicate a flu. In such a case, you should consult a doctor immediately. In case of a mild fever, the doctor may recommend the administration of acetaminophen.cough-medicine-during-pregnancy

However, if you don`t experience these symptoms, there`s no need to worry. For mild colds during pregnancy, it isn`t necessary to use drugs, first because they are forbidden during this period as they contain vasoconstrictors which might be dangerous for the baby; secondly, specific drugs don`t even cure a common cold, which is a viral infection and passes on its own, but aims only for relieving the symptoms. This objective can be achieved through safe remedies which can help you heal in 5 – 7 days.

Conclusions to Remember

  • The most frequent cause of a cough is a respiratory infection caused by viruses. This cough shouldn`t be treated with antibiotics during pregnancy.
  • If the cough doesn`t disappear or you are coughing up blood, you should get in touch with a doctor right away.
  • Shortness of breath or other abnormal noises (wheezing, stridor) also required an immediate visit to the doctor.
  • The treatment of a cough should be focused on finding and eliminating the disease that caused it.
  • Relieving the symptoms at home includes at first air humidification and proper hydration.
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