What is so dangerous about flu during pregnancy? How to treat it? Flu during pregnancy is threatening the future mother and her unborn child with complications. And a pregnancy without any catarrhal disease is a rare thing. In this case, it is necessary to provide bed rest, a clean room and enough fresh air.
Self-treatment is dangerous in any pregnancy trimester. That’s why the first symptoms of flu during pregnancy should become a reason for attending a health professional. A healthy lifestyle, balanced pregnancy diet, preventive measures will help to avoid catching the illness altogether.
The symptoms of flu during pregnancy
Flu is an infectious respiratory disease caused by a virus. It is transmitted through the air – if a person is ill, they’re spreading the infection while sneezing and coughing. Thus, flu can be caught by healthy people. Flu gets into the body where it travels with the blood flow, destroying the mucous membrane in the respiratory tract.
The flu symptoms include:
When you are sick with flu, profuse sweating and fever are taking turns. It’s your temperature changing: when it’s getting lower, you’re sweating. After some time, there is fever again. That means your temperature has raised (sometimes it reaches 104°F).
First of all, it’s necessary to make a correct diagnosis of flu during pregnancy. The issue of treatment is secondary. The symptoms of flu during pregnancy are similar to those of a few other viral diseases. You’ll need a doctor who examines you understands the nature of your illness. Self-prescriptions won’t do!
The aftermath of flu during pregnancy
Flu during pregnancy can cause various complications. How to treat it? What if the treatment will do your baby harm?
The flu virus can negatively affect the condition of the pregnant woman and have an influence on the fetal development. The threat of a spontaneous abortion or premature birth is the possible aftermath of flu during pregnancy.
- The virus influences the cardiovascular system in the negative. Flu during pregnancy can cause a heart failure.
- Flu induces complications, such as pneumonia, sinusitis, bronchitis, otitis.
- The virus of flu during pregnancy contributes to the exacerbation of chronic diseases (gastritis, asthma) and leads to the metabolic disorders.
After the illness the immune system is weakened, the resistance of the organism to bacterial infections is low.
Flu during the first trimester. How to treat?
The most dangerous period when a future mom can catch flu is the early pregnancy terms (weeks 1-12). The virus can infect the fetus through the blood flow. Unfortunately, a doctor won’t be able to tell for sure how flu during pregnancy affects the fetal development in any particular case. According to the experience of the pregnant women who’s been struggling with the disease as well as that of medical experts, the consequences can be totally unpredictable.
There is an assumption that flu during pregnancy has an effect on the central nervous system of the fetus, strikes nerve cells. You should know that the mother’s body is producing antibodies and is able to defend the embryo from the virus.
The grimmest outcome of flu during pregnancy in the first trimester is fetal death. In the 2nd-3rd months of pregnancy, the internal organs of the embryo are formed. The flu virus sometimes induces developmental defects.
So, how to treat the disease in the first trimester? You shouldn’t take any drugs at this term: they can negatively affect the development of your little one. It’s necessary to stay in bed and limit the consumption of salt. You can take antipyretics only if your temperature is very high (101.3°F or higher) – in this case, you have no choice – and choose medications with Acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol).
Flu during the second trimester
You should know that during pregnancy the immune system is suffering, and this process is perfectly natural. It happens because the unborn child’s cells are still foreign to the mother’s body.
Flu during pregnancy in the second trimester contributes to fetal hypoxia. It can be harmful to the placenta, lead to the amniotic fluid deficiency or to the water breaking early during the term. There is also a risk of a miscarriage. So, in the 12th-24th weeks of pregnancy, the flu treatment should start with chamomile and rosehips decoctions. Drink vitamin and fruit beverages.
It’s necessary to rest in a well-ventilated room where the temperature doesn’t rise above 73.4°F. Limit your usual activities and stay in bed. If you’re suffering from appetite loss, don’t force yourself to eat.
The flu virus has an influence on the delivery process in general: after the illness is cured there is still a risk of blood loss and weakened labor.
Flu during the third trimester. Ways of treatment
Since the 24th week of pregnancy, the future mother’s body is especially prone to the virus. The weakened immune system and susceptibility to infections contribute to the complications of the disease.
You should try to avoid crowded places, especially during flu epidemics. The incubation period of this illness usually lasts from a few hours to a few days.
Flu during the last trimester of pregnancy can be a consequence of intrauterine infection or fetal hypoxia. You should start treatment immediately after experiencing the first symptoms of the disease. Call your doctor and follow their recommendations to the letter.
How to treat flu during pregnancy in the third trimester? It’s always better to favor natural remedies and minimize the intake of drugs.
The treatment of flu during pregnancy
You shouldn’t take antiviral medications on your own. If your temperature is too high and you experience severe muscle pains, take Tylenol (according to the instruction inside).
Don’t take any antibiotics or painkillers! You can take such meds only on doctor’s orders when your state of health causes deep concern. You also shouldn’t take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
It’s allowed to gargle with salt water in order to ease a sore throat. If your runny nose is causing you troubles, use nasal drops safe for pregnant women (but remember: it’s not recommended to use them for more than three days). You can clean your nostrils by washing them with saline as well.
Indications to hospitalization:
- The lack of quality home care for the ill, bad living conditions;
- Chronic illnesses exacerbation (cardiovascular diseases, pyelonephritis, tonsillitis);
- Flu complications, such as pneumonia or damage to the nervous system.
Despite the fact that natural remedies are usually harmless during pregnancy, it’s better to consult a doctor before using them.
Raspberry tea with honey or lemon is safe to drink during any pregnancy term. Cowberry and cranberry drinks will help to lower a high temperature and get rid of toxins.
Gargling with calendula, eucalyptus, sage is good for soothing a sore throat. You can take ginger tea as a general restorative: grate ginger root (about one teaspoon) and pour 2 glasses of boiling water. Add honey and lemon to taste.
Preventive measures against flu during pregnancy
Flu vaccination is safe for the future mom and her unborn child. There are few contraindications: the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, allergy or individual intolerance to the vaccine.
Avoiding stress and overcooling is also included in the preventive measures against flu. Keep to a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and take vitamin complexes for pregnant women. Wear gauze mask during flu epidemics.
- Don’t go for a walk when it’s raining heavily;
- Ventilate your room and keep it clean;
- Dress according to the weather;
- Take vitamins (but discuss it with your doctor first);
- Avoid contacts with ill people.