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Cold in pregnancy

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 150 views

A cold during pregnancy is not uncommon. In principle, the viral infection of the upper respiratory tract is not a problem at first – and in most cases it is over within a week. However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you catch a cold during pregnancy. Read more about this and what you can do about the symptoms here!

ICD codes for this disease:

ICD codes are internationally valid codes for medical diagnoses. They can be found, for example, in doctor’s letters or on certificates of incapacity for work.

J00 J06 J11

Cold during pregnancy: Usually no danger for the baby

Pregnant and cold ? This is a concern for many expectant mothers. Basically, a cold during pregnancy is not dramatic. In fact, pregnant women are even more likely to have a cold than non-pregnant women. The mother’s organism is under a lot of stress, as it also has to take care of the child – the immune system is therefore more susceptible to cold viruses and other germs.

nest protection of the unborn

Many women fear that a cold during pregnancy and breastfeeding can harm the baby. However, this is very unlikely. In the case of a cold, the viruses mainly attack the mucous membranes in the nose and throat as well as the upper respiratory tract in women. Before they penetrate deeper into the body, the immune system has usually already formed enough antibodies. In addition, the placenta barrier holds back some pathogens.

Beware of secondary infection!

The mucous membranes normally form a natural barrier against invading substances from the outside. However, this barrier is weakened during a cold. This makes it easier for other pathogens (such as bacteria ) to enter the body as well. When that happens, doctors speak of a secondary or superinfection.

A bacterial infection can be more dangerous than a viral cold – both for you and your unborn child. Therefore, you should try to avoid a cold during pregnancy – with the risk of a secondary bacterial infection – if possible. See the last section below for tips on how to do this.

Medicines for colds during pregnancy

Colds are often fought with drugs such as paracetamol or ibuprofen . These have a pain-relieving effect, for example with a sore throat, headache or body aches. They also reduce any fever that may occur.

But even “light” medication for a cold should not be taken without hesitation. For example, ibuprofen can have a negative effect on the unborn child’s cardiovascular system. Therefore, pregnant women should, if possible, cure a cold without medication – because the symptoms are usually not that severe, this is generally possible without any problems.

In the case of certain diseases, such as a strong bacterial infection or a chronic illness, taking certain medications during pregnancy is often unavoidable. However, this should always be done in consultation with a doctor.

Common cold during pregnancy: home remedies

You can usually successfully relieve a cold during pregnancy with various home remedies. Home remedies are usually gentler than medication. When used correctly, you don’t have to worry about your baby being negatively affected.

Medicinal herbal teas for pregnant women

Medicinal plant teas are effective against various cold symptoms. You can loosen and soothe stubborn mucus and sometimes even fight viruses and bacteria. The following medicinal plants, for example, are also suitable for pregnant women:

  • Linden Blossoms
  • elder
  • lemon balm
  • chamomile
  • anise
  • fennel
  • Caraway seeds
  • peppermint

However, pregnant women should not drink too much of some herbal teas, such as anise and fennel tea. This is especially true if it is not a simple herbal tea from the supermarket, but medicinal teas from the pharmacy (reliable active ingredient content). Some medicinal plants are even discouraged during pregnancy (e.g. liquorice).

The basic rule is: Let your doctor, pharmacist or midwife advise you on the selection and dosage of medicinal plant tea.

Sore throat home remedies for pregnant women

Neck wraps are beneficial for sore throats and can also be used during pregnancy without hesitation. Some patients find cold, others warm neck wraps particularly pleasant and pain-relieving.

You can read more about the preparation and effects in the article Neck wrap for sore throats .

Healing earth pad: A pad with healing earth during pregnancy can also relieve a sore throat and slow down inflammation. Mix the desired amount of healing clay with a little cold water to form a spreadable paste and apply this about 0.5 to 2 cm thick directly to the neck. Cover the healing clay with a cloth. Let the whole thing take effect until the healing earth is dry. Then remove, cleanse, dry and oil the skin .

Gargle : If you have a sore throat, you can gargle with chamomile, sage or buckhorn tea, for example. You can also make your own gargling solution with salt, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar.

You can read more about this in the Gargling post .

Milk with honey can also be used for sore throats during pregnancy. Honey milk can soothe irritated throat mucosa and promote restful sleep. In addition, honey milk has a slightly expectorant and anti-inflammatory effect. Warm up a cup of milk and add a teaspoon of honey.

Honey is dangerous for children under the age of one because the bacterial toxins it may contain can cause infant botulism. However, there is no need to worry during pregnancy. Your gut flora protects both you and your child.

Home remedies for colds

If you have a cold during pregnancy, you can treat the blocked nose with saline nose drops . To do this, dissolve exactly nine grams of table salt in one liter of boiled water. Pour this saline solution into an eyedropper bottle or spray bottle (rinse with hot water first!). Put three to five drops or two sprays in each nostril several times a day. You should change the salt solution every two days.

Inhalation during pregnancy : Boil some water in a saucepan, add table salt and inhale the mixture. As a result, the nasal mucous membranes swell and the mucus is loosened. Alternatively, you can also do steam baths with thyme or chamomile blossoms.

You can read more about this in the article Inhaling .

Various compresses, wraps and pads can also help you with a cold during pregnancy. Are suitable:

  • lemon compress
  • horseradish topping
  • Flaxseed Compress
  • moist, warm breast wrap

You can find out how to make and use the wraps correctly in the article wraps (envelopes) and pads .

Home remedies for muscle and joint pain

If you suffer from muscle or joint pain as part of a cold, home remedies can also help. Heat applications , for example, are suitable for pregnant women . Place a hot-water bottle, a warm grain pillow (cherry stone pillow) or a potato wrap (potato topping) on ​​the aching limbs.

Warm compresses with flaxseed or beeswax also relieve aching limbs when you have a cold.

cold bath during pregnancy also relieves muscle and joint pain. You can get a suitable bath additive in the pharmacy or in the drugstore. A slowly warming foot bath also helps against the pain.

You can find out what you should consider before you get into the tub in the article Bathing during pregnancy .

Home remedies for headaches

If possible, you should not take any painkillers during pregnancy (unless prescribed by your doctor). Instead, use home remedies that gently relieve headaches.

First, try cold forehead and face affusions . To do this, with your upper body bent forward (preferably in the bath or shower), let cold water at around 18 degrees flow over your right temple, your forehead, your left temple and then back again. Then, one after the other, run the water jet up and down the right and left half of the face three times. Finally, circle the face three times. Wipe off or lightly blot the water. After that you should rest.

damp washcloth or a chilled seed pillow used as a forehead compress can also relieve a throbbing headache.

horseradish pad has an expectorant effect and relieves pain. Place a tablespoon of freshly grated horseradish on a gauze compress. Wrap the compress in and tape it shut. Then place this packet on your forehead for a few seconds to a maximum of four minutes. Then rub the reddened skin area with vegetable oil (e.g. olive oil) and rest.

You can also benefit from the effects of essential oils if you have a headache with a cold. You can gently rub your feet and forehead with a little lavender oil, for example.

As a precaution, the use of essential oils during pregnancy should first be discussed with an aromatherapist, doctor, pharmacist or midwife.

Cough home remedies for pregnant women

If you suffer from a cough during pregnancy , you can use various compresses to relieve the symptoms. This includes:

  • ginger wrap
  • Body-warm curd topping
  • Moist and warm breast wrap
  • beeswax compress

You can find out how to prepare and use the wraps in the article wraps (envelopes) and pads .

Can’t take cough syrup? Then make a natural cough syrup yourself! For onion syrup, place a large diced onion in a clean mason jar. Add two tablespoons of sugar, close the jar tightly and shake. After that leave it. After about two hours, the sweet onion syrup forms. Take one to two tablespoons of it several times a day. Radish juice or radish honey has a similar effect.

You can find out more about this in the medicinal plant article Black Radish.

Reduce fever during pregnancy

If you catch a cold with a fever during pregnancy, you should be careful. If the temperature rises above 39 degrees for several days, there is a risk of premature labor – it could lead to a premature birth! There is also a risk if abdominal pain occurs together with the fever. This can lead to premature rupture of membranes !

You should therefore consult a doctor if you have a fever during pregnancy and the high body temperature does not go down on its own after a short time.

In principle, the following home remedies can help against the elevated temperature in case of fever during pregnancy:

  • pulse wrap
  • calf wrap
  • chest wrap
  • curd topping

You can find out how to prepare and use the wraps in the article wraps (envelopes) and pads .

cooling bath is suitable for high fever to lower the temperature. However, discuss with your doctor or midwife whether you are allowed to take such a bath and what you should bear in mind when doing so.

Abdominal pain: home remedies for pregnant women

If gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal pain occur during a cold, heat is a suitable home remedy. Place a hot water bottle or grain pillow on your stomach or, if you are lying on your side, next to your stomach. That will ease the pain. A mashed potato can also help. It retains heat for a particularly long time.

Hot-water bottles, grain pillows and potato pads should not be warmer than 38 degrees Celsius during pregnancy. It is best to place a cloth between the heat source and your skin.

A gentle abdominal massage can also be beneficial. For example, warm some almond oil in your palms and then begin the massage, specifically in the lower right abdomen: Gently rub the oil in a clockwise direction over the abdomen for a few minutes. Be careful not to apply too much pressure. Then let it rest, well covered, for about 30 minutes. You can repeat this gentle abdominal massage during pregnancy several times a day as needed.


If you suffer from earache during pregnancy, you can try an onion wrap ( onion bag ).

Other warming home remedies can also help against earache . For example, put a hot-water bottle or a warm grain pillow (cherry stone pillow) on the aching ear . A potato wrap can also be good.

bed rest and drinking plenty of fluids

Drink a lot : During a cold during pregnancy, it is particularly important that you drink a lot. This makes the mucus less viscous, making it easier to loosen and cough up from the throat. This is important because stuck secretion offers a good breeding ground for a secondary infection with bacteria.

Well suited drinks are, for example, black currant juice diluted with warm water and unsweetened herbal teas. You can also eat hot lemon during pregnancy.

Bed rest : When you feel sick, you should give your body rest. Keep bed rest and recover.

Ventilate regularly : If you have a cold, ventilate your living space two to three times a day, depending on the season. The fresh oxygen stimulates the circulation. Ventilation also lowers the viral load in the room air.

Home remedies have their limits. If the symptoms persist over a longer period of time, do not get better or even get worse, you should always consult a doctor.

cold and breastfeeding

You can continue breastfeeding your baby during a mild cold. Flu and cold are not usually passed on to the child through breast milk . Breastfeeding even has a preventive effect: the little ones get antibodies from the mother through breast milk. These offer natural protection against many diseases, but cannot ward off every infection. In addition: Due to the physical proximity when breastfeeding, the offspring can become infected despite everything.

Therefore, you should adhere to basic hygiene measures . Wash your hands before and after breastfeeding and thoroughly clean any utensils you may need, such as a breast pump or nipple shield . Cough and sneeze into a handkerchief or the crook of your arm. This prevents the spread of pathogenic pathogens.

Cold medications while breastfeeding

When it comes to medication while breastfeeding, the same general recommendation applies as during pregnancy: you should only take it if absolutely necessary and recommended by your doctor. So first try to fight the symptoms with home remedies.

If home remedies are not enough for your symptoms, go to the doctor. He can recommend medications that are also allowed during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The doctor will also advise you on the right time to take it.

If you are catching a cold and are concerned that you may need to take medication, you can freeze a few servings of breast milk beforehand. You can then feed your baby with these without worrying while taking medication.

Preventing a cold during pregnancy

The following tips can reduce the risk of catching a cold during pregnancy (and in general):

  • Distance : Keep your distance from people with a cold or flu. Pathogens are usually transmitted through the air via small droplets of saliva that an infected person releases when speaking, coughing or sneezing ( droplet infection ). During the cold season, you should avoid large crowds in particular.
  • Hygiene : Some pathogens can also be transmitted via dirty hands and surfaces (e.g. door handles) ( smear infection ). Therefore: wash your hands regularly! In addition, you should not share cutlery, glasses and plates with a sick person. In addition, sick people should not leave used handkerchiefs lying around in the apartment.
  • Balanced diet : Make sure you eat a varied and balanced diet. Vitamin and mineral supplements are no substitute!
  • No Stress : Try to reduce stress as much as possible. Here, for example, relaxation exercises or yoga for pregnant women can help .
  • Restful sleep : Get enough sleep and take regular breaks to relax during the day.
  • Exercise : Regular exercise supports a healthy immune system. You can also exercise during pregnancy. However, high-performance sport is not advisable. Instead, choose endurance sports like swimming or cycling. Gymnastics or yoga are also good.

If you catch a cold during pregnancy, you should avoid exercising. The increased activity would put additional strain on your body. Instead, take it easy. A short walk is also allowed during a cold during pregnancy.

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