A cold during pregnancy raises questions for many expectant mothers: Is the cold dangerous for the baby? When should I go to the doctor? Can I have a cold job or should I get sick leave? We answer the most important questions about colds during pregnancy.
Why am I constantly catching a cold?
Many women often catch cold during pregnancy. This is not uncommon, as the immune system eventually has to protect two people and is therefore more stressed than usual. This also makes it easier for cold viruses to be attacked. No wonder that many women feel that they have caught the whole pregnancy.
Is a cold dangerous during pregnancy?
Pregnant and caught a cold? That's no reason to panic. A normal cold during pregnancy is not bad and usually does not harm the baby. Still, there are a few things pregnant women should be aware of.
Since the immune system already has enough to do with the pregnancy, a cold is not only particularly stressful for expectant mothers, it also makes them susceptible to further infections (so-called secondary infections). In the case of a cold, pregnant women should therefore take particular care not to come into contact with pathogens, and therefore avoid crowds. As a general rule, pay attention to the signs of your body and seek a doctor if in doubt.
If you catch a cold shortly before the delivery date, it may be that the baby is waiting for you, because the body of the expectant mother is initially focused on fighting the common cold.
Does the cold harm the baby?
A cold during pregnancy is usually neither harmful nor contagious to the baby. The common cold viruses attack the upper respiratory tract as well as the nasal and pharyngeal mucosa of the mother. Your immune system prevents the viruses from penetrating deeper into the body and reaching the baby. In addition, babies in the womb are protected from pathogens by the mother's antibodies, the so-called nest protection.
Pregnant women also need not be afraid to hurt their baby when coughing or sneezing. The vibration is cushioned by the amniotic fluid, so that babies feel it at most a rocking.
When to the doctor with a cold?
A mild cold does not require a doctor's visit even during pregnancy. However, caution is advised when the cold is accompanied by fever. Short attacks of fever are not cause for concern. If the temperature remains above 39 degrees Celsius for several days, premature labor is possible. If the fever does not go away by itself, you should go to the doctor at the latest after two days.
In addition, pregnant women should consult a doctor if another illness is already present, if the cold persists for more than a week or if there is a suspicion of flu. Signs of flu can be, for example, chills and muscle aches.
A doctor's visit is also advisable if you have any of the following symptoms:
- severe cough, as this can cause premature labor
- Fever associated with abdominal pain
- bloody or purulent secretion or expectoration
- long-lasting breathing difficulties or extreme weakness
- sudden onset and rapidly worsening discomfort
- especially severe symptoms or pain
To which doctor?
Often there is uncertainty about which doctor is responsible for a cold during pregnancy: family doctor or gynecologist. In principle, it does not matter which doctor you go to. If your family doctor is unsure about what to do in case of pregnancy, he will refer you to your gynecologist.
Exclude other viral infections
Some viral infections cause symptoms similar to those of a cold and are therefore often not recognized immediately. For example, the cytomegalovirus (CMV) of the herpes virus family causes headaches and swollen lymph nodes in a healthy adult, but can be life-threatening for your child.
Also the pathogen of the Ringelröster seems to cause a harmless cold, but it is dangerous for the baby. Therefore, if the cold is associated with fever and rash, pregnant women should consult a doctor.
Work in spite of cold?
In case of a cold pregnant women should treat themselves to rest and spend a few days rather, so as not to delay the infection. If you feel too ill to work, it's better to get sick.
Are pregnant women allowed to take medication?
As a basic rule: In pregnancy you should avoid medication as possible. Also, some herbal ingredients, homeopathic remedies and some home remedies can harm the baby. Therefore, find out what remedies you can use and ask a doctor or naturopath for advice.
Prevent colds during pregnancy
A cold during pregnancy is uncomfortable and pollutes the immune system. So it's best not to let it get that far. How to prevent a cold:
- If possible keep away from cold people and large crowds, but also from things that could have come into contact with the pathogens, such as door handles and railings.
- Wash your hands more often and thoroughly.
- If your partner has a cold, avoid kisses and do not share the same dishes. In order not to spread the pathogen unnecessarily, your partner should immediately dispose of his used handkerchiefs in a closed trash can.
- Remember to ventilate the rooms thoroughly!
- Strengthen your immune system through a balanced, vitamin-rich diet and drink enough.
- Give yourself regular exercise (best in the open air) and avoid stress.
Flu in pregnancy
In contrast to a cold, which is also referred to as a flu infection, flu can have dire consequences for pregnant women and their baby. As pregnancy progresses, the risk of severe flu and complications such as pneumonia increases. Miscarriages and premature births are possible.
For this reason, pregnant women from the second trimester of pregnancy is recommended a flu vaccine. Under certain circumstances, it is also advisable in early pregnancy. The flu vaccine is considered risk-free and should be carried out in good time before the start of the winter season.
Breastfeeding with a cold - what should be considered?
Even with breastfeeding mothers a mild cold is not a problem. Since babies also take antibodies with breast milk, chilled mothers usually can not catch their child. Of course, you should still be careful not to admit or cough your baby.
Take good care of yourself with a cold during breastfeeding. Your body needs a lot of rest and a nutritious diet. Just as with a cold in pregnancy, you should also consult a doctor during lactation in case of fever or a strong cold.