Getting sick when you’re pregnant is scary business. Not only do you feel awful, but there’s also a worry that your developing baby is at risk – especially if you’re unable to keep any fluids or food down.
Pregnant women are at higher risk for illness during pregnancy because your immune system is weakened during those 40 weeks. Mother nature is a miraculous thing, and your body changes so much when you’re pregnant. When you’re expecting, your immune system becomes weakened to tolerate the unborn baby, since it is a “foreign substance.” To prevent your body from attacking your growing child, your immune system naturally takes a back seat and alters its immune responses. So you are more vulnerable to getting sick.
Colds are usually not too worrisome in pregnancy; however, the flu is another story. Pregnant women who catch a flu can get very sick. Having the flu is awful even when you aren’t pregnant, but when you have a belly full of baby, and you’re puking, exhausted, and feeling ill, it’s no fun and it could turn dangerous for both you and baby. The flu could turn into pneumonia or a more severe case; and it may increase the risk of premature labor and delivery. Fortunately, most expectant mothers who catch the flu don’t have any complications, but it is something you need to watch out.
Common Symptoms of the Flu
The flu, also called influenza, causes you to be sneezy, stuffed up, and just awful. Unlike with the common cold, which can develop over a few days (since you generally know you’re getting sick with a cold, and then the cold progresses), the flu can come on very suddenly and without warning. The flu comes with a fever, which does not always occur with a common cold.
The flu typically begins with a fever, exhaustion and fatigue, and achiness. You may also experience common cold symptoms, including having a runny or stuffy nose, a sore throat, a cough, chills, and sneezing. If your flu is severe enough, you may also experience vomiting and diarrhea.
If you are vomiting or have diarrhea, and you are worried that you’re not getting enough fluids, you need to seek medical attention. You need to also go to the emergency room if you experience the following symptoms:
* Severe vomiting or diarrhea
* Difficulty with your breathing
* Limited movement from your baby (there are changes in his movements)
* A high fever
* Dizziness or confusion
* Pain in your chest or abdomen
Use common sense when it comes to your illness. If you are very sick, you should seek medical care. Make sure that you get checked out by your doctor.
What To Do If You Have the Flu
If you experience any flu-like symptoms (or cold symptoms), you need to stay at home and get some rest. Make sure that you keep hydrated.
Call your doctor right away to tell him your symptoms. Your doctor will let you know whether you need to come into the office for further examination.
If you have a fever, treat it right away. Tylenol (acetaminophen) is considered safe during pregnancy, and is the recommended treatment option for reducing a fever during pregnancy.
Please consult with your healthcare provider when you are sick. You will want to make sure that you get any medical treatment necessary to prevent complications.