At 18 weeks pregnant, I was pregnant with a cold. I’m not the type of person to get sick very often but during our stay in Australia, I got sick towards the end of the trip.
I had heard that while you are pregnant, your immune system is a lot weaker than normal and taking good care of your body is important not only for the baby but for the mother too.
At 18 weeks pregnant, I started to get a cold and could not believe it. I managed to stay healthy and not get sick going from the stinking hot weather of Ecuador to the freezing cold of New York to the warm weather again in Sydney.
I believe it came from exhaustion as we were just about to end our 3 week trip in Australia and make our way back to Taiwan where we would live for the next few years. The entire Sydney trip was a much needed visit to see family and friends- some people we haven’t seen in over 2 years! Needless to say, I ended up creating an excel sheet to schedule when we would see friends and family as there were weddings, lunches, dinners and hang outs with so many groups of people we needed a way to manage and make sure we could fit everything in just 3 weeks.
We also had to spend time with our families equally and moved from my husband’s parent’s house to my parent’s house mid way through our trip.
It took me a good 3 weeks to get over this cold and I thought I should share how I did it for others who may also be catching a cold while pregnant.
What can Pregnant Women Take for a Cold?
With so many options of cold and flu medication readily available, it is important to take a step back and check whether or not these medications are safe for your growing baby.
Firstly, speaking to your doctor if you are pregnant with a cold is the first step. Getting advice from a health professional is important to ensure the health of you and your baby. Anything you put into your body needs careful consideration, particularly if they are drugs or medications that you are unfamiliar with how it will affect the baby’s health.
Personally for me, I would avoid any drugs and medications for colds that are given over the counter. These would be very strong and can affect the health of your baby. Treating a cold the natural way is the best option and avoiding medication completely is often recommended. If your cold is severe or persist for more than 3 weeks, speak to your health professional for other options.
How I Overcame a Cold While Pregnant
During the time I was sick, I did not want to take any form of medication or drugs that I normally would because I knew that this would affect the health of the baby. Instead, I had to find more natural ways of reliving the cold.
Apart from drinking lots of water to flush all the bad stuff in my body, I also drank a whole lot of 100 percent orange juice. I wanted to boost my immune system and drinking orange juice is also great if you are pregnant as it helps absorb iron. This is particularly important for pregnant women who are vegetarian, like myself. Tea with ginger or lemon are also great options. Keep in mind that tea may contain caffeine and while pregnant, you are only allowed to have a certain amount per day. Because of this, I avoided it completely.
I also made sure to rest more often, taking a short nap in the afternoon and after meals. Since we left Australia, I had more time for myself and rested when I could whilst trying to find a new home in Taiwan. I also found getting out of the house and getting fresh air was also good. Short outings and walks helped to clear my nose and helped me breath a lot better.
I also took shorter showers, avoiding washing my hair no more than 2 times a week. I just used some dry shampoo to remove the natural oils and give volume to my hair during the week. And of course, wearing warmer clothes helped too, even though it was so hot in Taiwan!
3 tips to prevent a cold
for those who have not been attacked by a cold and flu while pregnant yet, here are three useful tips to prevent it from happening.
1. Plan Your Day With Some ‘Me-Time’
Prevention is always best and what I had learnt from this experience was that putting yourself before others is most important for your health especially when you are pregnant. Don’t over work, drain your body. Be well rested.
It is better to stay healthy and strong than to burn yourself out by over committing yourself to activities, outings and events with family and friends (or work for that matter). When planning your day or month out, make sure to balance the pressure of work, friends and family and give yourself some ‘self-love’ time as well. Block out at least a few hours every day for yourself. This helps you relieve stress and minimize the risk of getting sick.
2. Eat Healthy
During my pregnancy, I spent a lot of time figuring out what foods to each and how much of each. I wanted to make sure that I was providing the baby with as much nutrients as possible. Though this was obviously, I totally forgot to make sure I was eating healthy to avoid getting sick during my pregnancy.
Making sure you have a good intake of foods with high in vitamin C s a good start. Garlic, oranges, broccoli, berries and ginger are all great ingredients to have daily to help boost your immune system. These are also really good for your pregnancy too!
3. Stay Clean
You will be surprised at just how much dirt and germs are lying around on communal areas. Going to the shops, using public transport and eating out means there’s a higher chance you might catch the cold and flu from being in contact with something.
As much as we run around during the day, remember to wash your hands before and after each meal can make a huge difference in preventing sickness.
It’s also handy to bring with you a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you everywhere you go. It’s portable and you don’t need a sink or water to keep clean. I have been using hand sanitizer for years now as we found it very useful while traveling, but now use it in our everyday lives whenever we are on the go.
I hope these tips and suggestions come in handy during your pregnancy journey. Know that if you are pregnant with a cold like myself at 18 weeks pregnant, it isn’t the end of the world. There are ways to naturally treat your cold and ways to prevent it from happening again. Share with me your experience and tips during your pregnancy. What worked for you? I would love to know 🙂