One of the downsides to being pregnant is that your body does not fight off colds or flu as well as it normally does. During pregnancy, a woman’s immunity levels are slightly lowered to avoid rejecting the unborn baby. Hence, a pregnant woman may be more vulnerable colds, the flu, stuffy nose, runny nose, a cough and sore throat.
While a cold is just annoying, the flu can be very dangerous for a pregnant woman. It is highly recommended that a pregnant woman receive a flu shot. However, please check with your doctor before obtaining a flu vaccine.
It is not recommended that a pregnant woman use decongestants or nasal sprays as these can cause damage to the baby especially during the first trimester.
One of the best ways to avoid illness during pregnancy is to minimize stress but also eat a healthy diet. Fresh fruit and vegetables boost your immune system.
For example, here are some eating tips:
• Eat garlic. Fresh garlic has virus fighting compounds.
• Add cinnamon, cloves and cardamom to your meals as they are also other anti-viral spices. For example, add a cinnamon stick to your apple juice or hot apple cider.
• Drink water, and plenty of it.
• Drink lots of clear, decaffeinated liquids, such as teas and broths.
• Drink orange juice or other juices with vitamin C.
• For extra doses of vitamin C, eat plenty fruit like kiwi, strawberries, tomatoes, melon, mango and papaya. And amp up your C with vegetables like broccoli, bell peppers and spinach.
• For extra zinc you can eat eggs, oatmeal, wheat germ, yogurt, turkey, beef, cooked oysters and pork.
Other home remedies to lower your risk for a cold or the flu include:
• Plenty of rest. Take a nap whenever possible.
• Remember your prenatal vitamin. Vitamin C will boost your immune system and zinc will help fight off germs.
If you have a stuffed up nose or sore throat, here are some things you can do to help alleviate your discomfort:
• To relieve sore throat pain, try a salt water gargle. This consists of one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water.
• To moisten your nasal passages, try a saline spray only.