Have you ever been asked yourself how to get rid of a cough during pregnancy? Maybe not! But better be safe than sorry, right?
Some women know from personal experience that in the last years alternative therapies and natural treatments have gained more and more ground. A special moment in which they focus their attention towards them is pregnancy, because during this period they try to avoid classical treatments for fear of harming the baby. Cough drops might seem harmless at first, especially if they are made from plants, but it`s recommended not to take anything without the doctor`s approval.
Table of Contents
- 1 About Cough
- 2 What Are the Risks?
- 3 Preventing Coughs during Pregnancy
- 4 How to Get Rid of a Cough during Pregnancy?
- 5 Can You Take Cough Drops while Pregnant?
- 6 Take Medications only when Prescribed by the Doctor!
- 7 Additional Advice to Relieve Cough
- 8 Chronic Cough during Pregnancy
- 9 Dry Cough during Pregnancy
- 10 When Coughs Are an Emergency?
- 11 No Drugs if You Caught a Cold or Flu
- 12 Conclusions to Remember
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.
If you are coughing during pregnancy, you need to alert yourself because this symptom can affect the baby.
What Are the Risks?
- Weeks 1 – 14 of Pregnancy
During the first trimester of pregnancy, any type of cough is dangerous. Dry cough, paroxysmal cough and whooping cough, they all flex the abdominal muscles. During early pregnancy, coughing can lead to miscarriage.
The second thing that you need to know is that a strong and long-lasting cough removes the oxygen from the organism. The lack of oxygen during pregnancy can lead to a poor placental circulation, an inaccurate supply of oxygen and nutrients. In extreme cases, the lack of oxygen consumption by the pregnant woman can cause fetal hypoxia.
Wet cough during pregnancy can cause vomiting. Due to this process, you`ll be dehydrated and you`ll be lacking in vitamins and minerals.
Pay special attention to cough accompanied by wheezing. This can by a dangerous viral disease which may prevent the development of the fetus. If you suffer of this disease, most likely, the doctor will recommend you an abortion.
- Weeks 15 – 26 of Pregnancy
During the second trimester of pregnancy, long-lasting attacks of dry coughing are the most dangerous. They may lead to giving birth to babies with low weight. Additionally, coughing at 15 – 26 weeks of pregnancy can lead to disturbances in fetal nervous system development.
- Weeks 15 – 26 of Pregnancy
Coughing in the last trimester of pregnancy is the most dangerous. This can disturb the maternal milk production, cause strengthening of the placenta, amniotic liquid expectoration or causing premature birth.
If you are pregnant and you are coughing, you should treat it as soon as possible.
Preventing Coughs during Pregnancy
To prevent coughs or colds, you need to the rules of a healthy lifestyle. Make sure you are eating properly, sleeping enough and do exercises. It`s important to take vitamins, but only under the supervision and in accordance with the doctor`s recommendations. Uncontrolled use of vitamins during pregnancy can harm the fetus.
Wash yourself regularly on your hands! Use only utensils and personal hygiene products.
How to Get Rid of a Cough during Pregnancy?
A lot of times, we neglect simple rules of treatment and, thus, without taking into considerations the consequences, we catch a cold. For pregnant women, this diagnosis is unacceptable.
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 medication we are talking about. 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.
- Stay lied down in bed.
- Get enough sleep at night and 1 – 2 hours during the day.
- Drink a lot of water. Add chicken soup in your menu, and drink warm fruit or plant tea. Juices should be replaced with compote of dried fruits.
- Eat well and choose lots of rich foods in proteins. Use small portions and eat often.
Pregnant women may be treated with coughing syrups or tablets, but only what the doctor`s recommended. Most of these syrups are used for dry coughing at first pregnancy. – Visit this online link!
Can You Take Cough Drops while Pregnant?
Cough drops are known to come into 2 different forms: mentholated or non-mentholated. The mentholated ones are known to numb any throat pain, but they most of the time contain oral anesthetic and cough suppressants. Non-mentholated ones have a soothing substance that coats the throat, and they don`t numb throat pain or suppress coughs.
Generally speaking, it may be best to abandon the idea of using cough drops during pregnancy because they mainly contain synthetic ingredients. However, some experts claim that particular brands of cough drops are acceptable; but again, not without speaking to a doctor first.
According to Women`s Care, some brands of cough drops are safe during pregnancy:
- Halls Menthol-Cough Suppressant / Oral Anesthetic Plus Medicine
- Ricola Cough Suppressant Throat Drops
- Vicks Menthol Cough Suppressant / Oral Anesthetic Drops
On the other hand, BabyCenter.com claims that they aren`t safer than any other non-natural brands. If you still choose to use them, you shouldn`t eat them as candies no matter if you are pregnant or not. Some drops contain herbs which aren`t safe during pregnancy, so it`s best to avoid them.
Take Medications only when Prescribed by the Doctor!
Some medications can affect the fetus. It`s strictly recommended to get advice from your doctor before using any medication. Most antihistamines and cough syrups shouldn`t be taken by pregnant women, except when the doctor prescribes them. They generally haven`t been tested when pregnant women are concerned, so they can have side effects that are very dangerous for the child. In most cases, it`s good to take paracetamol as a way to prevent minor pains. – Learn about this!
Future mothers should avoid aspirin and ibuprofen. These have been tested and have shown side effects for the nervous system of the infant. A lot of antibiotics are safe during pregnancy, but some of them they aren`t. If you aren`t sure, talk to your doctor to be sure you make the right decision for your baby`s health and yours. The most important thing to do is to follow the instructions with the administration of any medication. If there aren`t any complications, there are some natural remedies that you can try at home.
Additional Advice to Relieve Cough
Experts recommend that pregnant women should treat themselves like they would treat their babies. Less drugs they use, the better. Most allopathic cough syrups contain iodine, an expectorant which isn`t recommended during pregnancy because it can affect fetal development. Plantain syrup can be an option if the pregnant woman starts coughing. The future method can also choose to use Stodal syrup, a homeopathic drug good for any kind of cough.
- Give up smoking! Smoking, even the passive one, can cause lots of problems. Try to breathe clean air, unpolluted.
- Avoid irritants, like dust, smoke or other pollutants;
- You can do inhalations to help the mucosa liquefy;
- If you cannot sleep due to coughing, try to use an extra pillow;
- You can gargle with salt water;
- Massage your chest with menthol products;
- You can take a steam bath;
- Don`t use cough syrup without the doctor`s recommendation;
- If you have fever, visit your doctor immediately.
Try to prevent colds and coughs during pregnancy. Don`t expose yourself to cold, don`t stay around sick people, dress yourself according to the season and try to remember that temperature differences can cause dry cough. – More info!
If you are allergic, stay away from anything that may trigger your allergies.
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. – Read about this!
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.
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.
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.
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. – Click here!
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.