Pregnant with the flu
Sanity-saving tips for when conventional flu medication isn't an option.
One of my worst fears when falling was pregnant was getting sick. Even something as seemingly trivial as the common cold suddenly became synonymous to the Black Plague. But the inevitable happened because when you’re pregnant your immune system is lowered considerably so that your body doesn’t reject your own offspring.

And the best part is that there are no wonderful drugs that you can take to make you feel better. You just have to ride out the storm with a few things to make life slightly less awful.


A fever is really dangerous when you’re pregnant. According to Dr Mary Lake Polan, an Ob-Gyn on “Early in pregnancy, a low fever is probably not a problem, but a high fever (over 39.4°C) can be lethal for the baby.

The physiologic processes in early foetal development, such as protein activity, are temperature sensitive, and the entire foetal development process hinges on the right proteins getting turned on at the right time. If your body goes from 37 degrees to 39.4 degrees, it could keep the proteins from working properly and cause you to have a miscarriage.”

So Panado is your best friend, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat it like it’s a packet of jellybeans. Two every four hours (like the box says) if you have pain and/or fever. Unfortunately pregnant women can’t take anything wonderful like ibuprofen as it's been linked to having a miscarriage.


For congestion I used my little Vicks inhaler. It went everywhere with me, so from my bed to the bathroom basically. Also, rubbing Vicks on my chest helped with the cough and my mother swears that rubbing Vicks on your feet and covering them with socks helps with a cough. The jury is still out on that one though.


Another thing that really helped me was steaming. Some hot water in a bowl with a teaspoon of Vicks, cover your head with a towel and allow the lovely Vicks-infused steam to open up your sinuses. If you don’t have a Vicks type product, you can use a few drops of Eucalyptus essential oil. Karvol has a decongestant room spray that my constantly blocked nose is dying to try out.

Vitamin C

I’m pretty sure Vitamin C is known as the flu fighter. My gynae recommended I take Cal-C-Vita which is basically Vitamin C, Zinc and Magnesium. All the fun vitamins to help fight disease. I also drank a lot of water and pure orange juice, with the bits and everything.


Humidifiers are nice to have but you won’t die without it. They basically provide moisture to dry air and it helps with nasal congestion, dry cough, sinus irritation and allows for easier breathing and a good night's sleep.


Speaking of a good night’s sleep, rest is very important. Your body heals when it’s resting so don’t try to be Superwoman and do everything. There’s a reason you have sick leave, your unborn child is more important than that 9 am meeting. Have your partner take care of the other kids while you’re busy mending your body so that you can grow this one.

I’m not a doctor. But these are the things that helped me get over a really bad cold that made the Ebola Virus look tame (I may be over exaggerating but that's what it felt like!) Always be sure to talk to your doctor.

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

What tips and advice do you have for pregnant women with the cold or flu?

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