How to Fight the Cold and Flu While Pregnant
Congestion, colds, and flus are extra frustrating when you’re pregnant. Your body is already working so hard! I personally went from hardly ever being sick pre-baby, to having the flu three times and multiple colds while pregnant. You have all this extra fluid and congestion in your body, but might not be able to reach for your tried and true remedies, as most medicinal decongestants and steroids are not recommended for use during pregnancy. Even natural and herbal decongestants, like stinging nettles, aren’t appropriate for use while pregnant. What can you do? Here are a few options to get you through the funk faster:
It may sound strange that an extremely light touch massage could help your immune system, but the lymphatic system creates and houses the white blood cells that defend you from illness. Free flowing lymph fluid carries immune cells from lymph nodes to the organs that need them, and also collects bacteria, damaged cells, and toxins to take back to your lymph nodes where they can be destroyed. Don’t discount the value of a trained lymphatic drainage practitioner, but if you can’t reach one as soon as you’d like, you can start to work on yourself anywhere at any time. There are a lot of great videos and articles that describe the right pressure and location for lymphatic mobilization. You can get similar results from dry brushing your body as well.
Speaking of our immune systems, scientists are now predicting that the majority of our immunity begins in the gut, or the good bacteria that reside in your intestines. Particularly if you have a history of antibiotic use, or tummy troubles, you may want to begin taking a probiotic. Particularly physician-grade probiotics (with higher potencies and diversity of organisms), can help build the army in your gut that protects you from intruders. Consult with a care provider familiar with functional medicine with questions about the best options.
We’re already consuming some of this natural element in our milk, grains, and water, but silver has been used as an effective antimicrobial for a long time. It’s been used to heal wounds, burns, and infections since ancient times. Unlike an antibiotic, silver targets both bacteria and viral infections. Also unlike an antibiotic, it won’t take all of the good bacteria while it’s killing the bad bacteria. It’s important to note that not all silver is created equal. Toxicity becomes a concern when the concentration and particle size is more than 10 parts per million (ppm). I highly suggest using a brand called Sovereign Silver, which only manufactures at the 10ppm level, which is very safe when using the suggested dose. If my life was “A Big Fat Greek Wedding” this would be my Windex. It can be used topically, aspirated, orally, or in the ears for ear infections. Bonus: they make it for kids and pets, too!
The Neti Pot is a drug free way to clear out the nasal passages. With a homemade or store bought saline solution, you can use physics to your advantage by pouring the solution through one nostril and out the other. If anything, it can make blowing your nose easier, which isn’t an easy feat with a very pregnant belly! Click here for a quick “how-to”.
Additionally, remember to keep your circulation flowing and reduce inflammation by drinking plenty of water and exercise if you feel up to it (hello, BIRTHFIT Prenatal Program). You can also make some temporary changes to your sleeping space by elevating your head, or using a cold mist humidifier in your bedroom. Avoid pollution, both public and personal, when you can. This may mean ditching the perfume and hairspray for a few days. Overall, decreasing inflammation will help you recover more quickly so you can return to being the super heroine you are regularly.
Hannah Anderson, DC, CACCPBIRTHFIT Cedar Rapids, Iowa. @birthfit_cedarrapids