Is the Flu more Distressing During Pregnancy?
Even though getting colds and the flu is a common phenomenon, most women find getting sick much more distressing during pregnancy. Common worries include not knowing what medications are safe to take, and whether the baby will be okay.
Preventing Colds and Flu
Trying to avoid getting sick is probably the best thing you can do when pregnant. Current recommendations are that every pregnant women get the flu shot after twelve weeks of pregnancy; check with your primary care provider or Ob/Gyn to see where and when you can get the vaccination. It can be helpful for your partner to get the shot as well so that you aren’t exposed to the virus in your household (should your husband get sick).
Wash your hands frequently and try to avoid people who are obviously sick (when you can). Carry anti-bacterial hand soap with you and avoid touching your face or mouth as much as possible. These measures don’t guarantee that you won’t get sick, but it will help.
Pregnant women should, at all costs, avoid people who are sick with the chicken pox, measles, fifth disease and CMV (cytomegalovirus). If you know someone who has one of these infections, you (and ideally your partner) need to stay away from them until they are no longer contagious.
Treating Colds and Flu
Unfortunately, being pregnant means that you can’t take many of the cold and flu medications that you’ve come to rely on. First and foremost, you should speak with your doctor about what you can take and what you should avoid. Tylenol (acetaminophen) is generally considered to be safe; you shouldn’t take Advil (Motrin or ibuprofen) or Aleve without speaking to your doctor first. Many of the active ingredients in the common cold and flu products are not safe so avoid taking anything until you can speak with the doctor.
Always double check the active ingredient in the medication to make sure you are taking the correct medication.