I am 33 weeks pregnant and have just contracted a cold—maybe even the flu. Is there any medication I can take, or do I just have to ride it out?
Nobody likes a cold, especially during pregnancy. Most winter colds are caused by viruses and will eventually resolve after several unpleasant days. I recommend trying natural remedies before resorting to cold medication. Drink lots of fluids, get plenty of rest and don't underestimate the power of chicken soup.
For aches and pains, a combination of acetaminophen (Tylenol®), rest, massage and heating packs could provide relief. For a sore throat, try lozenges and gargling with salt water. And for a stuffy nose, try saline nose drops or use a humidifier, vaporizer or steam to loosen secretions.
If you're not getting relief from the above measures and find your symptoms prevent you from sleeping, there are several over-the-counter pharmaceutical products available. For nasal congestion, pseudoephedrine (Sudafed®) should be used with caution. A recent study suggested an association between using vasoconstrictive drugs like pseudoephedrine, smoking and an increased incidence of a birth defect called gastroschisis. I recommend asking your doctor for his/her opinion before taking this; it may be safer to wait until the second or third trimester to use pseudoephedrine.
If you have a cough, detromethrophan (Robitussin® DM) is considered safe during pregnancy. And for a runny nose and itchy watery eyes, chlorpheniramine (Chlortrimeton®) or diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) can be used. Be aware that these last products may cause drowsiness.
Never exceed recommended dosages. Even acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful in excessive doses. If you develop a high fever, a sinus infection or a productive cough, contact your doctor.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.