Being sick as a mom can be really draining on multiple levels: mentally, physically and emotionally. Not to mention that we often need to keep up with all our regular responsibilities around the house, helping kids with school or other activities, meals and anything else that’s on our plates. Add in being pregnant and you might just be feeling like death warmed over. This is exactly how I’ve been feeling up until the last few days or so. I’ve been sick four different times since Thanksgiving and I’ve felt so run down and not a very fun or engaged mom and wife. While the options for what we can do do help ourselves feel better are more limited when pregnant, there are some tried and true ways that can help you get back on your feet a little bit faster.
Extra Vitamin C
If you’re like me and have been taking a whole slew of prenatal vitamins, adding one more in isn’t too big of a deal. But sometimes the thought of swallowing one more pill (especially if you struggle with acid reflux) isn’t appealing. This is where you have some options for getting that extra vitamin C into your body. I’ve been drinking one packet of Emergen-C everyday for the last three weeks or so and I definitely feel like it helped me get over my most recent cold much quicker (they also have chewables). Another option is the Airborne brand, which also offers both chewables and a drink mix. Lastly, if you want another choice for getting that vitamin C, you can chew up some vitamin C gummies. The drink mix versions of Emergen-C and Airborne have more vitamin C in them (1000 mg per dose), while you’d have to take about four gummies to get the same amount.
Does it really help?
I read through some information online and there is some debate about whether or not taking extra vitamin C when you’re sick actually helps cut down on the duration of a cold. While there have been studies that appear to show that taking extra vitamin C while sick can cut down on the duration, the best piece of advice I found said to just make sure that you are getting enough vitamin C in your daily diet so that your immune system is getting the boost it needs to fight off colds in the first place (prevention). (You can read more here.)
Being pregnant means that a lot of medication is off the table. Even with the short list of approved medicine from my doctor, I still try to avoid taking it during pregnancy as much as possible. That means looking at other options for easing the symptoms of colds. One common symptom of pregnancy is nasal congestion which is due to the hormones estrogen and progesterone. So if you have a cold, it can double (or more) the amount of congestion you’re dealing with. A nasal rinse is a great way to give your poor nose a break from all the blowing, plus the warm water and saline (salt) helps loosen the congestion so you can breathe easier. We have a sinus rinse squeeze bottle (like this one) that I’ve been using and I always feel so much better afterwards.
Going right along with the nasal rinse is using a humidifier to put more moisture in the air. I have one next to my bed that I’ve been using (like this one). The extra moisture clears your nasal passage, helps you breathe better and (hopefully) get more sleep. Additionally, the humidity can help prevent, or decrease, nose bleeds–another fun side effect of pregnancy. *wink*
This seems like a no-brainer, but sleep can be extremely elusive when you’re pregnant and even more so when you have a cold. So any opportunity to get a little extra nap (or two) in when you’re trying to recover from a cold will help your body heal a little more quickly. Since sleeping on your back after 16 weeks isn’t recommended, what can you do to to relieve some of the congestion? Something that’s worked for me is napping in the corner of our sectional with a pillow supporting my lower back and under my knees with my head propped up on the side perpendicular. If you have a recliner, I would imagine you could also sleep on that for a few hours.
Ask for help
Maybe one of the hardest things for us moms is to ask for help. I know it’s not easy for me to admit that I can’t handle things myself, but it’s something I’m working on. Everyone has had a cold at some time or another and I’m willing to bet that at least one person you know has been pregnant and sick and knows exactly how you feel. If you’re sick with no other kids at home to care for, this might be as simple as asking a friend to grab dinner for you and bring it to your house. If you do have kids at home, talk to a friend, neighbor or family member about watching them for an hour or two so you can get some rest. Recently, I’ve been taking small naps in the morning after my daughter gets off to school and letting my son have a little extra TV time. Any guilt I have from allowing more than the normal amount of screen time for my kids is offset by the knowledge that the sooner I get better, the better mom I can be to my kids.
Being sick and pregnant is hard enough so anything I can do to decrease the length of my cold is definitely worth trying. I hope you found these tips helpful!
What else have you found helps you to feel better sooner?