It seems that most of the country is in the midst of a very active cold and flu season. Having a cold, flu, or a stomach bug while pregnant can be very debilitating and even for non-pregnant women there are very few remedies to help ease the symptoms. Generally, while these illness can make you feel miserable, they typically do not pose a threat to mom and baby.
**However, if you are experiencing a high fever, prolonged or violent vomiting or diarrhea, strong and painful coughing and chest congestion, or other any other symptoms you are concerned about, you should contact your care provider for guidance. Contractions can be common during illness, especially the stomach bug, but you should contact your care provider if you do experience any contractions.**
While there are no sure fire ways to avoid getting sick, there are several easy things you can do to lessen your changes of getting sick.
- Get plenty of rest, relaxation, and healthy food. Fruits, vegetables, lean protein and complex carbs are your best choices.
- Wash your hands often. Especially before eating, after shopping, and when you come home.
- Stay away from sick people
- If you feel like you are starting to get sick, stay home. Relax, drink lots of fluid, and eat healthy food. Make sure to get extra sleep!
- Avoid sugar, fatty foods, and highly processed meals
- With your care providers guidance, up your intake of vitamin C, B-Vitamins, calcium, & magnesium
- Stock up on tea, ginger, lemons, garlic, and broth (all kinds!) so if you do get sick you don’t have to worry about getting to the store.
If You Do Get Sick…
Even though you won’t likely want to eat much or anything at all if you have a cold, flu, or the stomach bug, its very important to stay hydrated and provide nourishment for your baby. It is ok to not eat much or nothing for a little while, but as soon as you feel up to trying something you should. Even small sips of water every 15-20 minutes is good. If you can’t keep anything at all down for an extended period of time, contact your care provider.
Try these foods below to stay nourished while still being easy on your stomach. I always keep a carton of chicken broth in the cupboard just in case we get sick.
- Broth provides many important nutrients such as salt, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Chicken, miso, vegetable, pork, beef, and seafood are all good choices. When you feel up to it add a little chicken, rice, noodles, or egg. If you’re throwing up, try a spoonful every 20 minutes or so to go even easier on your tummy.
- Buttered toast
- Black tea
- Hot water with lemon
- Gatorade, pedialyte, and other electrolyte drinks are good to drink as well. (personally I hate the taste and have a hard time drinking them but in general they can be help to replace lost nutrients. Especially the sugar free kind!)
My aunt, who is a nurse, gave me two recommendations for drinks to keep hydrated and fight the bugs. I was skeptical at first but I tried both remedies, and they really worked! I give them to my kids when they are sick as a “special drink.”
- Hot lemonade. Use real lemonade and drink it as hot as you can stand it.
- Decaf black tea with lots and lots of lemon and a little honey. Again, drink it as hot as you can stand it.
- She also recommended chopping up a garlic clove or two and eating it raw. I did not try that one, but she assures me its her go to sickness remedy.
Other Homemade Remedies
Aviva Jill Romm, a well-known herbalist and midwife, recommends a garlic lemonade and a ginger tea in The Natural Pregnancy Book. Both are good for warming the body, sore throats, congestion, coughing, and other cold and flu symptoms. She also recommends drinking teas with lemon balm, catnip, and chamomile.
Steep 4-6 cloves of chopped raw garlic in 1 quart boiling water (covered) for 30 minutes. Add juice of 1-2 lemons, and honey or maple syrup to taste. Drink warm, 1 cup every two hours.
Steep 1 teaspoon of freshly grated raw ginger in 1 cup boiling water for 15 minutes (cover). Sweet and add lemon if you want. You can have 1 cup every two hours.
While having a cold, flu, or the stomach bug while pregnant can be just terrible (I know from experience!) it generally poses very little threat to that amazing little human growing inside you. In order to decrease your chances of getting sick, take good care of yourself, eat well, and wash your hands.
And if you happen to find yourself sick, rest, relax, stay hydrated and nourished as best you can. These suggestions are generally considered safe for pregnancy, but if you have questions or concerns, make sure you consult your care provider, naturopath, or other trusted resource. Don’t hesitate to contact your care provider if you feel that your symptoms exceed what is normal or something doesn’t feel right.
Do you have any remedies, suggestions, or thoughts you’d like to share? Share it with the world in the comments!
Author: Renee Corbino
Renee keeps Balanced Birth Support organized and amazing as the Administrative Manager. She lives in Northern Virginia with her awesome fire fighting husband and two cute little boys. She is a breech birthing mama and supporter of empowering births.