Colds, Flus and Other Ailments while Pregnant in the First Trimester

There is nothing more cruel than being in a weakened immune condition like pregnancy and not being able to take anything for it.

I have been battling the worst cold/flu I have experienced in over a decade.  There's head congestion, chest congestion, sneezing, coughing and a general feeling of death.

I waited a few days to see if it would pass, like most colds usually do for me, but a few days, I had gotten worse.  When I finally saw my Primary Care Provider, I was told it was a virus and that there was nothing they could prescribe, like handy antibiotics, to make it go away. 

She did mention I could take Tylenol, Robitussin (the alcohol free version) and Sudafed.  Being extra careful, I called my Labor and Delivery department and searched the internet to double check that these three medications were actually safe for someone in her first trimester.  As a result, Sudafed was out and only Tylenol and Robitussin stayed options.  And they didn't help much.

As someone who previously miscarried, I'm naturally a paranoid person and prefer natural remedies over medication anyway. 

Here are the things that did that actually did help:

Ginger Lemon Honey Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic
3 slices from a knob of ginger
1 tablespoon of honey
1/2 a lemon
3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1/2 a cup of filtered boiling water

 Take 3 slices of ginger and place into a mug with 1/2 cup of filtered boiling water and allow to steep for 1 minute.  Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the same mug. Add 1 tablespoon of honey and 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.  Stir until honey is dissolved and drink quickly.  Repeat up to 3 times per day.

Neti Pot/Sinus Rinse
I used the Neilmed Sinus Rinse, though we have a Neti Pot also.  The Neilmed Sinus Rinse comes with directions.  Basically, fill the Sinus Rinse container with water up to the denoted line and microwave the bottle to disinfect and heat the water. Add the saline mix to the water and shake until dissolved. When the water has reached a comfortable temperature, place in the nasal opening and gently squeeze the saline solution into the nasal cavities while allowing the fluid to flow out through the other nostril until half the solution is gone. Repeat on the other side.

I repeated this once in the morning and once in the evening. It gave me immediate congestion relief that would last up to an hour at the beginning and half the day towards the end.

Vicks Vaporub
As a child, my mother had a magical green bottle of eucalyptus oil that was a cure all.  Headaches?  Dab some on your temples.  Stomachaches? Dab some on your stomach. Unfortunately, that miracle oil is not safe to use on pregnant women.  My mom claims that it's simply too strong to be used on pregnant women.  I think it might be that they haven't done the proper testing to prove that it's safe for us with buns in the oven.

Regardless, Vicks Vaporub, though not as strong as the green oil, acts much in the same way.  When rubbed onto the chest, it relieves some of the chest congestion.  At least it relieved enough to help me fall asleep.

Hot Towels and Heat Packs
When pregnant, heating pads are not recommended because it's easy to overheat the body which causes issues for fetal development. What helped me were hot face towels that would create a steam effect when on my face and rice based heat packs that I warmed up in the microwave and placed on my chest.

Chicken Stock Based Soups
As a child, my mother would always make Chinese chicken rice soup with ginger from scratch when anyone in the house was sick.  She made me some as soon as she heard I was sick and swore by the healing properties of fresh chicken broth and ginger.  DH, not being a Chinese mother, picked up a variety of canned chicken soup for me to choose from while I was at home.  My favorite is still Campbell's Chicken Noodle.  Either way, there's nothing more soothing that a blazing hot bowl of some chicken broth based soup while sick. It's just enough food and heat to lull me to sleep.

It took almost 2 weeks but I'm fully recovered and back in the throes of nausea and vomiting because of morning sickness instead of laying in bed, immobilized and congested.

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