The arrival of the common cold is annoying at the best of times. During pregnancy, it signals a time of suffering and misery, as every medicine box that promises relief from the symptoms of the cold also warns that it cannot be used by an expectant mom unless she consults her doctor.
While it is always a good idea to book that appointment for a severe cold, there are a natural cold remedies that a pregnant or nursing mom can use to help lessen the symptoms of the cold without endangering her womb-bound baby.
Eat Healthy to Prevent Colds During Pregnancy
Diet is, of course, already on a pregnant woman’s brain. Besides nourishing baby and mommy, what mom eats can help her body’s immune system function better. Jackie Yurko, a naturopathic doctor, advises, “To support immune health during pregnancy, aim for a whole foods diet, which includes whole grains, fresh fruits, fresh veggies, healthy protein sources. It is also important to ensure a balanced level of essential fatty acids intake, found in flax/hemp/fish oil.”
Other foods are known to boost the immune system. If you find yourself turning to chicken noodle soup when you get a stuffy nose, you’re on the right track. Garlic, onion, ginger and berries are also immune boosting foods, according to naturopathic doctor Cynthia Hnatko. For those who don’t like the taste of garlic, it is available in odorless capsule form.
The old advice not to eat sugar while sick is still good advice. Dr. Sears explains, “Eating or drinking 100 grams (8 tbsp.) of sugar, the equivalent of about two cans of soda, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by forty percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours.”
Yurko also recommends avoiding processed foods and caffeine.
Soups Help Pregnant/Nursing Mom Fight Cold Symptoms
Hnatko also recommends eating nourishing foods but avoiding heavy meals. Soups are a good bet and are also easy on a sore throat.
A healthy, easy soup to make is green soup, which Jessica Jackson, a certified homeopath, calls “practically a miracle cure at the onset or during convalescence of any acute illness.” To make this soup, combine 2 zucchini, 2 celery stalks, one handful of green beans and one handful of parsley in a generous pot of water and bring to a boil. Add onions and garlic for greater flavor. If you are feeling chilled, add ginger; if hot or feverish, add soy sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes. Puree and fast on this soup for twenty-four hours.
Water is extremely important to our bodies, but even more so for pregnant woman and for those dealing with illness. Many of the symptoms of a cold—fever, sneezing, runny nose—dehydrate the body. Drinking liquids such as chicken noodle soup, hot teas, orange juice or hot lemonade can help with this.
To make hot lemonade, boil water and then add a few tablespoons of lemon juice, a pinch of cayenne pepper and some honey to taste. Jackson says, “This drink will work better when it is tart and hot. Don’t boil the lemon juice; that reduces the vitamin C content. Cayenne is known to help stimulate mucus membranes, loosen mucus and increase circulation. Gargle with the first two gulps, then drink the rest.”
These tips may help ease the symptoms of a cold and speed your recovery. Giving your body a chance to rest, especially since pregnancy is tiring, is also important.