Sick and Pregnant: 6 Ways to Fight Congestion Without Cold Meds

Dealing with a cold during your pregnancy? Most cold meds are verboten, but here are some non-medicinal ways to get relief from congestion while pregnant

This woman (an audience member from Oprah) looks way better than I did using my Neti Pot.

Ugh. When pregnant ladies get sick, we get SICK.

Not only are we more likely to get sick in the first place, but it can also take us that much longer to get better. A cold that will manifest as a sniffle in my non-immuno-compromised friends will take me out at the knees. And those blissful knock-me-out and clear-me-out kinds of pills are verboten. It hardly seems fair.

But there are a few ways to get respite, as I’ve discovered while battling this most recent cold (it’s a doozy). Here’s what has seemed to help:

Steam! Try the towel-over-the-bowl-of-steaming-water trick (add a slice of lemon or some mint leaves), or have a hot, steamy shower. Steam can really help loosen things up.

Saline nasal spray. It’s not going to work miracles (or at least, it hasn’t for me), but a bit of saline spray can help provide a bit of much-needed relief from congestion, especially at bed time.

Tylenol in moderation. When congestion becomes painful (as it did for me), Tylenol can be taken to provide some relief. Check with your doctor or midwife before taking anything, and if you develop a fever, consult a health-care practitioner, as a fever could pose a risk to your baby.

A Neti Pot. I admit: I was intimidated by the idea of pouring saline solution into one nostril, only to have it drain out the other. It’s called “nasal irrigation” for Pete’s sake. It sounds gross, and it feels weird, but it really does help flush things out, and has been invaluable in helping me get to sleep at night. Think of it as a saline car wash for your nasal passages.

• Speaking of sleep: add an extra pillow so that you can prop your head up a bit for a better night’s rest.

Rest. We’re all told that we should stay at home and rest when we’re sick, but many of us don’t listen. But when you’re pregnant, I think it’s even more imperative—hence: I am writing this post from home and not the office. If staying home is not an option, do as much as you can to get rest. While resting, drink plenty of fluids (warm tea!) and eat a healthy diet (Thai soup!). If you’ve had your quota of tea (herbal or otherwise) for the day, try a cup of warm water with ginger and lemon in it.

Being sick while you’re pregnant is certainly a miserable experience, but  there are at least a few options to help us through it. What worked for you?


One response to “Sick and Pregnant: 6 Ways to Fight Congestion Without Cold Meds”

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