Coughing during pregnancy is normal and can occur at any time because of the hormonal changes happening inside the woman's body, which tend to make her a bit more sensitive to allergies, the flu or other problems that can cause this type of symptom.
To relieve coughing during pregnancy is recommended to avoid cold, heavily polluted, or dusty places. Alongside, pregnant women should also drink about 2 liters of water a day, as well as warm teas, with honey and lemon, which can help relieve the cough naturally.
If a cough lasts for a long time or or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as a fever or shortness of breath, it is recommended to see a general practitioner to identify the possible cause and start the appropriate treatment.
How to reduce the cough naturally
Maintaining a well-hydrated throat at all times can be helpful in reducing and controlling a cough. So, some tips that can help relieve this discomfort during pregnancy are:
- Taking a sip of water at room temperature;
- Swallowing 1 spoonful of honey;
- Leaving a basin or bucket with hot water nearby. You can also add 2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to the hot water.
A useful tip for a pregnant woman who has a cough at night is to hug a pillow or cushion whenever coughing, because it lessens the effects of coughing in the abdominal area.
Can cough medications be used?
In some cases, specially when the dry cough lasts for a long time and the pregnant woman feels pain in the belly, do to the stretching of the abdominal muscles and their repeated contractions, the doctor may prescribe a cough syrup or antihistamine, like cetirizine, for relief.
If the cough has phlegm, the medication mentioned above should not be taken because it reduces the cough and, in this case, it’s important to help eliminate secretions from the lungs and airways.
When to go to the doctor
Some warning signs that may indicate the need to go to the doctor are:
- Persistent cough;
- Coughing up blood;
- Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing;
- Chills or shivers.
These signs and symptoms can indicate complications and the presence bacteria that need to be treated with the use of antibiotics. The doctor will be able to check the signs and symptoms and listen to the lungs, to check if the air is reaching the entirity of the lungs or if there’s any blocked areas. Exams such as chest x-rays may also be requested to see if there are diseases that may be causing the cough.
Does coughing during pregnancy harm the baby?
Coughing during pregnancy doesn't harm the baby, as it isn't a dangerous symptom and the baby doesn't feel it. However, some causes of coughing can harm the baby, such as diseases like asthma, bronchitis, or pneumonia, as well as some teas, home remedies, and pharmaceutical products that are taken without medical knowledge.
Pregnant women should see a doctor whenever she has a persistent cough or other respiratory diseases to start treatment with drugs that don't harm the baby, avoiding complications.
Intense coughing doesn’t cause uterine contractions, nor does it displace the placenta, but it can be very uncomfortable and cause pain in the muscles of the abdomen when it’s repetitive. So, medical help is essential to get rid of the cough and allow for more rest.