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Caring for Yourself and Your Baby: How to Treat a Cold or Flu During Pregnancy

Pregnancy, Calgary, mom, photographer

Pregnancy is a time of excitement, anticipation, and, occasionally, unexpected challenges. Catching a cold or the flu while pregnant can be particularly concerning, as you want to ensure both your health and the health of your developing baby. While dealing with illness during pregnancy requires caution, there are steps you can take to alleviate symptoms and promote recovery without compromising the safety of your unborn child.

1. Rest and Hydration

First and foremost, prioritize rest and hydration. Allow yourself ample time to rest and recover, as your body needs extra energy to fight off the illness. Drink plenty of fluids, such as water, herbal teas, and clear broths, to stay hydrated and help loosen congestion.

2. Over-the-Counter Medications

When it comes to medications, always consult with your healthcare provider before taking anything, especially during pregnancy. Many over-the-counter cold and flu medications contain ingredients that may not be safe for pregnant women or their babies. Your healthcare provider can recommend safe options or provide alternatives to alleviate symptoms.

3. Saline Nasal Drops and Steam

To relieve congestion, consider using saline nasal drops or sprays. These are safe and can help moisten nasal passages, making it easier to breathe. Additionally, inhaling steam from a warm shower or a bowl of hot water can provide temporary relief from congestion and soothe irritated sinuses.

4. Gargling and Honey

If you have a sore throat, gargling with warm salt water can help reduce inflammation and provide relief. Additionally, consuming honey mixed with warm water or herbal tea may help soothe a sore throat and suppress coughing. However, avoid giving honey to infants under one year old due to the risk of botulism.

5. Herbal Remedies

Some herbal remedies, such as echinacea and elderberry, are commonly used to boost the immune system and alleviate cold symptoms. However, their safety during pregnancy is not well-established, so it's essential to consult with your healthcare provider before using any herbal supplements.

6. Proper Nutrition

Maintaining a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can support your immune system and aid in recovery. Aim to consume nutrient-dense foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals to help your body fight off the illness.

7. Seek Medical Attention

If your symptoms persist, worsen, or if you develop a high fever, severe headache, chest pain, or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention promptly. These could be signs of a more serious illness that requires medical intervention.


While catching a cold or the flu during pregnancy can be uncomfortable and worrying, it's essential to prioritize your health and the health of your baby. By following these tips and consulting with your healthcare provider, you can effectively manage your symptoms and promote a speedy recovery while ensuring the safety of your unborn child. Remember to rest, stay hydrated, and seek medical advice when needed, and soon enough, you'll be back to feeling like yourself again.


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