It’s common for expecting mothers to experience morning sickness and pregnancy symptoms including nausea, vomiting and fatigue. With the physical and hormonal changes your body endures over the course of 40 weeks, it’s normal for you to experience a fair share of discomfort while your immune system is familiarizing itself with the new tissues of the fetus. There are, however, cases that are considered a bit more concerning. Those include food poisoning, influenza and common colds.
It’s important to understand how sickness impacts your unborn child. This information allows you to take precautions and seek necessary treatment to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
Identifying Sickness and Pregnancy-Related Symptoms
Pregnant women who are sick or experience pregnancy symptoms require different remedies than the average person who is sick. For instance, if a typical person gets food poisoning, they may experience raised temperatures and diarrhea. For an expecting mother, these symptoms can be dangerous.
Food poisoning and pregnancy symptoms can combine and cause severe dehydration, which can harm your unborn baby. Dehydration during pregnancy increases the chance of neural tube defects, less amniotic fluid production and premature labor. It’s important to speak with your healthcare provider about your treatment options. You may need IV treatments to replenish lost fluids.
Common Cold versus Influenza
Hormonal shifts during pregnancy make fighting infections more difficult. Sickness and pregnancy symptoms can mirror each other, so it’s important you can identify the differences to improve treatment options. Mild respiratory symptoms like congestion and sneezing are often associated with a common cold. These symptoms can seem severe in conjunction with pregnancy symptoms like fatigue and nausea, but aren’t definitive signs of serious illnesses like influenza.
Both common colds and influenza share symptoms like runny nose and coughing. If you’re experiencing shortness of breath, diarrhea, loss of appetite and chills, it’s likely you have influenza. While a common cold may not impact your unborn baby, influenza can pass through the placenta and harm your fetus. If left untreated, influenza can lead to premature labor and birth.
Treatment During Pregnancy
Treatments used prior to getting pregnant aren’t always an option during pregnancy. For instance, if you take over-the-counter medication for an illness, they may be harmful to your unborn child. If you do take medications of any kind, be sure to speak with a healthcare provider to ensure they’re safe for your sickness and pregnancy symptoms. Your doctor may be able to prescribe an alternative medication or discontinue your prescription altogether until after you give birth.
In cases of dehydration and mild sickness, natural remedies are a healthy alternative. Rather than getting an IV, you may simply need to increase your fluid intake. Smoothies are a great way to retain nutrients when you don’t have an appetite. If you’re sick, avoiding inflammatory foods can also help ease congestion and cold-related symptoms.
The best treatment for sickness is preventative care. For instance, if your family members are sick, do your best to isolate yourself for the duration of their illness. Make sure to get plenty of rest. Resting allows your immune system to work on preparing itself, which is especially important during pregnancy. You should also kick habits like smoking and drinking, especially during pregnancy. Smoking increases damage to your respiratory system and can be passed onto your fetus.
Pregnancy is a beautiful experience. There are stumbling blocks to overcome such as tiredness, nausea and potential sickness. Don’t let these symptoms discourage you. Oftentimes, these are normal side effects of your body’s adjustments as you create your little one.
The best way to stay in good health is with preventative care. Be sure to stay hydrated, eat immune-boosting foods and get plenty of rest. Light exercise is another way to remain healthy. Be sure to speak with your healthcare provider prior to creating a workout regimen. Eliminate unhealthy habits, especially in the first trimester, to minimize adverse side effects.
If your symptoms cause your temperature to rise above 100 degrees or persist for longer than two weeks, it’s best that you visit a doctor immediately. Ignoring your symptoms can be fatal for you and your baby. Take extra initiative to keep you and your baby safe.