Written By: Dr. Shannon Vander Doelen, ND
There are lots of natural remedies that are safe in pregnancy (and while breastfeeding) that can help you feel better, faster!
How do I know if I have a cold or a flu?
While both colds and flus are viral illnesses (meaning taking an antibiotic won’t be helpful), there are a few symptoms that might suggest what you are dealing with is the influenza virus as opposed to just the common cold. If you think you may have the flu and you are pregnant, it’s important to be in touch with your Midwife or OB/GYN. These are some ways to differentiate:
Is there anything I can do to prevent getting sick?
Absolutely! As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! In addition to prioritizing good sleep, healthy diet and physical activity, I often recommend patients take probiotics and vitamin D on the regular throughout pregnancy. Not only do these serve important roles in supporting the baby’s growth and development, they are superheros at boosting the functioning of your immune system. There is also a growing body of evidence that suggests that taking echinacea during cold and flu season can prevent you from getting sick (it might not be that great once you actually are sick though) - echinacea is one of the few herbal medicines that is deemed safe in pregnancy, but still be sure to run it by your primary care provider or Naturopathic Doctor before you start taking it.
It happened, I got sick! What can I do now?
I highly recommend staying home and resting your body - it’s already working super hard to build a baby, so it needs all the help it can get! Sleep is one of the best ways to support your immune system’s ability to fight off a viral infection. If you haven’t been already, consider starting to take a probiotic and Vitamin D. A bit of extra Vitamin C and some Zinc may also be additionally helpful to giving your immune system a kick in the butt. One of my favourite herbs to consider when you are sick, specifically with the flu, is Elderberry - it not only helps boost your immune system, but also acts as an antiviral agent to kill off the influenza virus (and it tastes delicious!) Again, while these are all considered safe in pregnancy, be sure to speak with your primary care provider or Naturopathic Doctor before starting any new supplements to make sure they are safe for you.
With winter on the horizon, start to make a plan to support your immune system and prevent yourself from getting sick this cold and flu season. Curious about how working with a Naturopathic Doctor during pregnancy can help you? Book yourself in for a complimentary 20-minute meet and greet to discuss your health concerns and goals, and what options might be available to you.