Cold and Flu During Pregnancy: Symptoms, Possible Complications and Treatment

When a woman is about to become a mother and already pregnant, she needs to be healthy. However, it is not always possible to avoid such common illnesses like cold and flu during pregnancy.

Symptoms of Cold and Flu

People, who caught a cold or flu may feel fever, runny nose and nasal congestion, tickling and sore throat, cough, weakness, headache, chills, and body aches.

Complications at Different Stages of Pregnancy

Doctors believe that viral infections, especially in early pregnancy (before 12 weeks) may be dangerous for the baby.

The main complications of viral infections in early pregnancy include:

  • Spontaneous abortions
  • Fetal malformations
  • Intrauterine infection and fetal death

A special feature of colds in the first trimester is the fact that pregnant women often hardly bear the disease.

In the second trimester the level of protective forces of women increases. They easier undergo ARVI and flu, but the effect of infectious agents on a child still remains significant. The formation of the fetus at 12 weeks is already over, so the impact of viruses does not cause severe malformations. The main blow of infectious diseases falls on the growing placenta.

Therefore, its circulation and supply of baby with oxygen and nutrients become difficult.

Complications of viral infection in the second trimester:

  • Premature termination of pregnancy
  • the development of placental insufficiency (reduction of the placental ability to ensure adequate exchange between the mother’s body and fetus)
  • Intrauterine growth restriction
  • fetal hypoxia (oxygen deficiency)
  • Intrauterine infection of the fetus
  • Premature rupture of membranes

Complications of ARVI and influenza in the third trimester, except for the ones mentioned above, also include an increased risk of birth trauma, an increase in blood loss during childbirth, and the development of postpartum infectious diseases of internal genital organs.

Treatment of Influenza and Colds

At the first signs of flu and ARVI due to the high risk of complications, you should immediately begin your treatment. It should be remembered that many drugs are strictly contraindicated during pregnancy and may cause irreparable harm to the child. In no case do not resort to self-treatment! It is necessary to consult a general practitioner, who adequately assesses the condition and prescribes appropriate treatment.

Begin treatment of colds with the use of folk methods. The main task is to reduce the heat. Fever is dangerous both for the mother and for the child’s development. Prolonged pyrexia (two days or more) can lead to the following complications:

  • Fetal malformations (this applies only to the first trimester)
  • Increased uterine tone and premature termination of pregnancy
  • Violation of the circulation in the placenta, which impairs its work and leads to developmental delay and fetal hypoxia
  • Violation of the cardiovascular system of the mother

The main and most effective methods of reducing heat include:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids (green tea with lemon, cranberry juice, decoction of chamomile, lime, raspberry, honey milk). Your drink should be warm but not hot
  • Cool compresses on the forehead
  • Wiping the pulse locations with a towel soaked in cold water (axillary and popliteal cavities, wrist, elbow bends)
  • Vinegar rubbing
  • Half of paracetamol two times per day

A frequent symptom of the common cold is nasal congestion. To treat a runny nose is a must because shortness of breath can cause an insufficient supply of oxygen to the baby.

Runny Nose

The main methods of rheum treatment in pregnancy are:

  • Regular ventilation and humidifying of rooms
  • Inhalation on medicinal herbs (chamomile, sage, thyme) and essential oils (peppermint, eucalyptus)
  • Nasal lavage with saline. You can also wash out a nose by freshly brewed infusions of chamomile or sage. Repeat 3-4 times a day
  • The use of self-made drops of freshly squeezed carrot or beet juice, herbal infusions (chamomile, sage) 4 times a day
  • Vasoconstrictive drops. They can be used only when folk remedies have no effect

Scratchy or Sore Throat

Influenza and ARVI are often accompanied by tickling and pain in the throat. If ill effects, consult a doctor for examination.

The main methods of treatment include:

  • Plenty of warm drink (high water temperature will exacerbate the swelling and enhance pain)
  • Frequent gargling with herbal infusions (chamomile, eucalyptus, mint, oak bark), mixtures of soda, salt and iodine (in a glass of warm water 1 teaspoon of salt or baking soda and two drops of iodine). Gargle every hour until you feel better
  • Warm milk with honey and butter (in a glass of milk mix one tablespoon of oil and a teaspoon of honey). Drink the prepared solution with small sips 4 times a day
  • Inhalation on medicinal herbs (chamomile, thyme, sage, mint). Perform this procedure for 10 minutes 3-4 times a day
  • Use ready-made medicines only on doctor’s advice!


For colds, pregnant women often complain of severe coughing. Cough can be of two types: dry (without a discharge of mucus, painful) and wet (with copious sputum). Coughing often brings severe discomfort and also can be dangerous for the further development of the pregnancy. During frequent bouts of cough abdominal muscles and ligaments strongly strain and reduce. This can lead to the threat of pregnancy termination, and in more severe cases trigger bleeding. Cough Treatment:

  • Inhalation. If your cough is dry, you can use steams of boiled potatoes, baking soda solution, herbal teas (chamomile, linden, sage). If you have wet cough – go on herbs (yarrow, cranberries, rosemary). Do it 10 minutes to 5 times a day
  • Herbal concoctions with honey or warm milk with honey
  • Gargling with infusions of herbs (mint, oak bark, eucalyptus) every two hours
  • Regular ventilation and humidifying of the air in the room (in the absence of a humidifier, you can simply place the dishes with water)
  • Medications. Apply only on prescription

Consult a Doctor if

  • You cannot cope with the malaise for 2-3 days
  • Your temperature is above 38 degrees, especially if it is accompanied by severe intoxication – a feeling of weakness, malaise, headache, vomiting
  • You found raids in the throat, “plug” on the tonsils
  • Mucus from the nose or sputum acquired a yellow-green color, especially with specks of blood
  • You have strong headache in the forehead and eyes
  • You are concerned about strong cough, wheezing, difficulty in breathing

Prevention of Cold and Flu During Pregnancy

Any disease, including colds and infections, is easier to prevent than to treat. Preventing colds should be consistent throughout the entire pregnancy. The main preventive measures include:

  • Reception of multivitamins and herbal infusions rich in vitamins (tea with rosehip, cranberry juice)
  • Balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, intake of natural volatile production (onions, garlic)
  • Frequent walks in the fresh air
  • Regular room airing
  • Avoiding of hypothermia and overheating
  • Minimizing contacts with sick people
  • Lubrication of the nasal mucosa with oxolinic ointment before each exit to the street during the ARVI epidemic

Unfortunately, women are at increased risk for infection with cold and flu during pregnancy due to a significant decrease in immunity. So you should make every effort not to get a cold or flu. It is time to take measures to prevent your body from malware infections!