So all of last weekend my plans to help celebrate two of my friends birthdays as well as my planned date night with Sam was totally out of the question as I unfortunately had a cold, a virus that took over every inch of my being within a few days and took, what felt like an age to get rid of.
- I miss those days of getting a cold and being able to sleep it off without having to get up to pee 12 times a night
- I miss those days where I could drink lemsip even though it tasted rank
- I miss those days where I could take all types of painkillers to help fight off a cold
Unfortunately being pregnant the options to take to make us feel normal and healthy again are limited. Apart from throat lozenges and paracetamol, there’s really nothing that us ladies can take because of our unborn babies- there’s just too many risks involved. It’s never pleasant catching a cold when pregnant, our immune systems are weaker making us prime targets to get just about any sickness going, especially a cold in winter. Somewhere over a period of 2-3 days I picked up a cold from someone or something. I could have picked it up at work, through one of the other patients on the maternity ward, on the bus, in a cab or because the weather down here shifted really quickly from sunny, warm and not needing a jacket to really windy, chilly and cold.
Between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, I couldn’t sleep. My throat felt awful and every time I swallowed, it felt like knives stabbing me, my glands felt swollen, my head was throbbing and my ears felt like they were going to pop as if I’d just come out of a swimming pool. But the paracetamol and throat lozenges I had taken weren’t doing anything apart from the sugar coating was giving Missy more of an excuse to party harder in my bump, using the little room she hard to hurt my tummy with each kick and punch. Saturday morning was spent mainly on the phone to NHS’ 111 and then a visit to the out of hours clinic at the hospital which resulted in my blood pressure being taken, the doctor listening to my chest (I’m asthmatic), checking my temperature and making sure Missy was still OK.
If you’re feeling unwell, here’s a simple guide to help you find the best treatment possible:
Take your temperature twice a day. If it’s higher than 38 degrees Celsius, you’re showing signs of a fever. Call 111 straight away where they’ll be able to assist you further.
The doctor I saw recommended to continue taking paracetamol as this is safe throughout pregnancy and helps reduce fever. It’s recommended that us pregnant ladies should avoid ibuprofen, antihistamines and aspirin during pregnancy, so stick to paracetamol instead.
Avoid cold cure tablets and lemsip. Not only do they contain paracetamol, they also contain phenylephrine, a decongestant which has blood vessel constricting properties that could restrict blood supply to your placenta.
For a sore throat:
- Make your own lemsip style drink. Buy dissolvable paracetamol (available at most supermarkets or over the counter at pharmacies), mix with water, gargle and swallow. Try lemon and honey mixed with warm water.
- But a throat lozenge that contains glycerine.
- Buy a nasal spray that can help defend against winter colds (check with your doctor if you can use this if you are asthmatic).
- If lemon and honey isn’t your thing, menthol sweets and vapour rubs such as Vicks can help clear congestion.
- Drinking a glass of orange juice will give you the much needed vitamin C that your body loses out on when you’re sick.
We’re already reminded at every midwife appointment how important it is to guzzle down water. But not only is it important to drink water as it is, the 2 dreaded litres we need to drink a day, it’s important to stick to this and/or drink more to keep hydrated when our bodies are being devoured by a cold.
Whilst our noses run and we sweat (gross I know), all the fluids we do drink really help replace all those that we lose when sick.
Maintain a good well balanced diet
In the winter months it can get really cold, so the foods we’ve been used to over the summer months need to be gradually pushed to one side whilst nutrient-rich foods that help maintain good levels of immunity help.
Anything from soups, homemade broths, casseroles, winter salads using brightly coloured foods help boost your immune system.
Rest, rest, rest
You’re already growing a little person inside you and all that extra weight is super tiring on your body. You need to look after yourself by getting plenty of rest. Sleep as much as you can. When we’re not pregnant, sleep lets our bodies fight off illness pretty well and this can be done when pregnant. The only downfall is the endless bathroom breaks, especially if you’re in your third trimester.
Wash those hands
You already keep them clean by washing them but be extra cautious when you are ill. Keeping germs at bay help passing on or receiving germs from others. You can buy an antibacterial hand sanitizer, they cost as little as £1 that can help keep your hands protected when out at about.
If you’re unsure about how you feel or if your symptoms get worse, call your GP as soon as possible or call 111 (NHS).
Make sure you get your free flu jab if you haven’t already to protect you again the flu.