I've managed to catch a rotten cold this week. Not sure from where (possibly my five-year-old niece, who we saw a few days before over Easter) and I have to say, I feel a bit cheated! It's because I've been trying to keep so healthy – taking my multivitamins, eating lots of wholesome food like greens and citrus and pulses, exercising. And of course not indulging in any of my pre-pregnancy vices like drinking, smoking and late nights! Nevertheless, it would seem even the healthiest pregnant woman is not immune to the common cold. Apparently, our immune systems are supposed to be slightly weaker during pregnancy, in order to prevent the body treating the foetus as a foreign body that needs to be eradicated.
The worst part of it is not being able to take any over the counter remedies to help minimize the symptoms. My usual favourite solution is a few mugs of Lemsip throughout the day and just before bed – I just love the aromatic, lemon-y taste of the hot drink that somehow also manages to comfort me as well as clear my blocked nose and head. At the very least, a couple of Panadol Extras does the trick for me getting up in the morning. Denied these usual crutches, I've spent the last two nights cloaked in martyrdom, sniffling miserably into a damp tissue, fortified with a couple of drops of Olbas Oil (which, by the way, is amazing stuff for clearing a stuffy nose). I've also tried a few drops of this miracle concoction (which is a combination of eucalyptus, clove, juniper and mint oils – available from any chemist) in a wide bowl of just boiled water, inhaling with a towel draped over my head, which has been very effective. If you want to try this, do watch out for inhaling the steam too deeply and quickly, as you may cough and can feel a bit overcome by the vapours.
The upshot for dealing with a cold whilst pregnant is that it is OK to take minimal paracetamol to bring down your temperature (but not Panadol Extra, as it contains caffeine) and you could also use the inhaling method above. You can also try drinking hot water with honey and lemon to soothe the throat. It is NOT SAFE to take aspirin, ibuprofen, codeine or decongestants. You can, however, take up to 60mg of Vitamin C a day. The jury is out on Echinacea.
As for me, I feel better than I did yesterday, which is a sure sign the dreadful thing is on its way out. I'll just use the extra excuse to take it easy for a few more days and have P look after me.
Have you had a cold during pregnancy? What remedies did you use to ease the symptoms?