Getting the dreaded lurgy (a.k.a cold or flu) when pregnant is not much fun at all. If it is on top of other pregnancy discomforts it can feel like a superhuman effort to get through. Unfortunately, pregnancy is a time when women’s immunity is more vulnerable to colds and flu as well as other infections such as thrush and urinary tract infections.
Self-care, nourishment and some useful herbal medicines can help to provide the body with plenty of help to ward off these infections. There are so few pharmacy medications that are safe to take during pregnancy for colds and flu. But not to worry! I’ve put together this little SOS kit of advice remedies that are safe, simple and effective.
#1 Burn immunity boosting essential oils in your home
Whilst it is not always safe to use essential oils in pregnancy on your skin, using an ultrasonic diffuser or oil burner is a beautiful way of bringing immune promoting essential oils into your self-care regime. Essential oils purify the air, fight germs and can help to decongest stuffy sinuses and ease coughs.
Diffuse these at home and in the office. They are particularly lovely to use in the bedroom to help you breathe easy through the night.
- 2 drops Peppermint
- 5 drops Eucalyptus
- 3 drops Lemongrass
- 3 drops thyme
- 1 drop cinnamon
- 5 drops eucalyptus
- 3 drops pine
- 3 drops Lemon
- 3 drops Juniper
- 2 drops Pine
#2 Drink Immune Boosting Herbal Teas
Classic lemon, ginger, and honey is a simple remedy. It soothes a sore throat, supports immunity and helps to relieve congestion. I, however, like to kick it up a gentle notch with the addition of red raspberry leaf and lemon balm.
Lemon balm helps to regulate a fever and is anti-viral. It is a gorgeous herb to have fresh (and grows very easily in gardens and pots alike), but if dried is all you are able to source, that is fine too!
Raspberry leaf packs a punch with an impressive array of absorbable nutrients. It also helps the body to strengthen its defenses against bug getting through our mucous membranes (a.k.a the lining of the respiratory system). For this reason, it has a long traditional use as a remedy for tonsillitis, conjunctivitis and sore throat.
To a teapot that hold 500ml of water add 3 slices of ginger, half a lemon, 2 teaspoons of raspberry leaf and 3 teaspoons of melissa leaf. Allow to steep for 10 minutes, then add 2 teaspoons of honey. Sip slowly throughout the day.
If you would like to know more about how to source safe and high-quality herbal teas, I’ve written an entire post about it over here.
#3 Immunity Tonic
Luckily there are two herbs that are very effective at lessening cold and flu symptoms and strengthening immunity that is safe during pregnancy. Let me introduce you to elderberry and echinacea.
Elderberry: this berry contains a host of anti-viral components and sinus-clearing properties. It tastes gorgeous and is safe for the whole family to use too.
Echinacea: this one doesn’t taste as nice as the elderberry, but it is very useful at clearing swollen lymph glands, cooling off a fever and fighting infection.
Both are best taken as extracts. There are some alcohol-free extracts out there on the market, however, the alcohol is minimal and are safe to use with these doses
Take a combination of the two or choose one and take daily.
Elderberry and echinacea (a 50:50 combination): take 60 drops or 2ml twice daily as prevention and increase to 4 times daily at the first sign of a cold.
Elderberry: 30 drops twice daily as prevention and increase to 4 times daily at the first sign of a cold.
Echinacea: 30 drops twice daily as prevention and increase to 4 times daily at the first sign of a cold.
#4 Nasal Spray
Medicated nasal sprays are off bounds during pregnancy – but there useful alternatives.
I recommend sprays that contain both xylitol and saline. Xylitol is a natural plant sugar that is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. It is superior to regular saline sprays as the xylitol prevents infection as well as calming down inflammation. Use as often as required throughout the day.