How to Treat a Cold or Flu when You’re Pregnant


Pregnant women are more susceptible to the flu because their immune systems are suppressed. “The risk of you having a premature labor and birth is a lot higher during flu season,”. Premature labor and birth is a severe illness that can result in serious health problems for both mother and child, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While there is no cure for the flu, experts suggest taking a handful of antiviral medications to treat and shorten the duration of symptoms. These medications are most effective when taken during flu season, usually between October and May, according to the CDC.

One study found that the average decrease in flu symptoms was 34% with oseltamivir, which is what makes it an ideal flu treatment, said Dr. Albert Wu, an internist and an infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Is flu risky

The flu can still be dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn babies even with treatment. Flu vaccine also reduces the severity of symptoms for women who get the flu, but it’s not always effective.

What are the symptoms of the flu during pregnancy?

Symptoms of the flu include a fever of over 100°F, chills, muscle aches, cough, runny nose, sore throat, and fatigue.

It can also cause red eyes, painful throat, and vomiting.

How does it spread?

Flu viruses are spread when infected people cough or sneeze. A person may spread the virus before getting sick. Avoid people who are sick or have flu symptoms.

How do you know if you have the flu?

You will usually know within two to four days after becoming ill. If you get a high fever, breathing problems, and these symptoms usually begin suddenly. A person with the flu is not contagious before symptoms begin. They can spread it before they have a fever or feel sick.

To help your body develop an appropriate immunity to combat new germs, it’s important to keep your immune system active. A recent study from Baylor University discovered that doing a high-intensity aerobic exercise, such as walking, for just ten minutes a day, can give your immune system a boost.

You may also want to keep in mind that a weak immune system is more common in some of us than others. Infants have weaker immune systems than older people, according to the National Institute of Health.

Even if you’re not pregnant, there are still a number of things you can do to protect yourself from becoming a viral/bacterial carrier. However, if you’re pregnant, take a look at these protective measures:

Flu shot

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that pregnant women have a harder time contracting the flu, but there is no scientific evidence to suggest that the flu vaccine will prevent a premature baby. Doctors recommend the flu vaccine, but say that women should discuss any vaccine concerns with their obstetricians, pediatricians, and health-care providers.

The flu shot is safe, but it doesn’t protect against other flu viruses, nor does it protect against any of the strains that the flu can trigger a miscarriage. Even so, health professionals recommend getting the shot to protect yourself and others around you.

Do not give your baby his/her first hepatitis vaccine until two months after birth.

The Hepatitis B and D vaccine can be administered between one and 16 weeks after birth. The first shot should be given two to four weeks after birth to reduce exposure to hepatitis in the newborn. But it can take six months to be completely cleared of the virus, and any children born to a mother who was infected with hepatitis B or C during her pregnancy will be at risk of getting it as well.

Even after the first vaccine, the virus can still be passed to a baby through close contact, like being in the same room as an infected person. So an extra shot may be required.

The MMR vaccine is safe and effective, but parents should first talk with their pediatrician or family physician about the best timing to give the first shot. Some medical experts recommend waiting until the child is at least 18 months old before giving the vaccine to protect the child from getting measles, mumps, and rubella.

The HPV vaccine is not recommended for women who are pregnant.

Call A Doctor

We should be able to know when to consult a doctor in case of a flu during pregnancy.

Following are the symptoms when you should take precautions
  • nausea or vomiting
  • fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more
  • chills
  • runny nose
  • muscle aches

Blistering throat is an indicator that flu is very serious. Call your doctor right away if you have a fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit or a sore throat. These symptoms can indicate a more serious illness and may be a sign that you’re being treated for the flu.

If you are pregnant, be sure to ask your doctor about flu shots. The flu vaccine helps to protect pregnant women and their babies. An inactivated vaccine, which doesn’t stimulate the immune system, is more effective during pregnancy than a live vaccine, which does. The shots can take between two and six weeks to be fully effective, and they must be given before flu season starts.

The vaccine doesn’t protect against other viruses that can cause respiratory illness, but studies show that the flu vaccine is more likely to prevent hospitalizations and deaths in the first few months after a child is born.

These tips will help protect your family during flu season, and they should help slow the spread of the virus, too.

Flu Vaccine

Flu vaccination is most important for people with the following high-risk conditions, according to the CDC:

  • People with chronic medical conditions like asthma and heart or lung disease; and People 65 years of age and older;
  • Children younger than 5 years; and
  • Pregnant women.

Immunization is also recommended for people who are at higher risk of developing severe complications from the flu, such as young children, pregnant women, people 65 and older, people who have certain medical conditions, and people who care for others at high risk.

“Flu season is well underway and we’re currently seeing widespread, high-risk flu activity across much of the country,”. It’s important to get vaccinated, and the vaccine is recommended for nearly everyone six months and older.”

Health officials said there is still time to get a flu shot. People can get flu shots at many doctors’ offices, local health departments and pharmacies.

Home Remedies to cure flu

Before you decide to use any home remedies, you should consult with your health care provider to find out if they are safe and if they are known to help treat the symptom you are experiencing.

  • Use a vaporizer
  • Drink plenty of tea, if you have a sore throat
  • Eat plenty of whole grain foods
  • Clean surfaces with warm salt water

Give yourself time to recover, it takes a day or so for your body to get back to normal. If you need a prescription medication or want to see a doctor, it is always best to go to an office, pharmacy or walk-in clinic.

If you are pregnant and experience any of the symptoms listed above, call a physician immediately and visit a walk-in clinic or urgent care clinic. The doctor will be able to determine the type of cold or flu and then treat you with a prescription medication. There is no harm in using these remedies during pregnancy, but keep in mind that they are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration and are not tested or evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration. It is also important to be sure you are taking the right cold or flu medication.

The following are not recommended for pregnant women


Do not get oxygen to the lungs. Pregnant women should not get oxygen from an O 2 tank if they are experiencing chest or sinus congestion, coughing, asthma, or shortness of breath.

Beta-2 agonists

Do not use beta-2 agonists when pregnant. They may cause a miscarriage or lead to other health problems.


Do not use yohimbine during pregnancy. It may cause birth defects or can cause brain, heart, lung, or other birth defects.


Do not take ibuprofen if you are pregnant. It can cause miscarriage, birth defects, or damage to the developing brain of the fetus.

Paracetamol (Tylenol)


Do not take paracetamol if you are pregnant. It may cause birth defects or can cause damage to the developing brain of the fetus.


Do not take Sudafed or diphenhydramine (Benadryl) if you are pregnant. It may cause birth defects or damage to the developing brain of the fetus.


Do not take azathioprine if you are pregnant. It may cause birth defects or damage to the developing brain of the fetus.

Other Medications

Take extra care when using any other medications if you are pregnant.

If you are pregnant and are taking another drug, consult your doctor before taking an alternative medication.

Bottom Line

Pregnant women can get the flu four to six weeks before they start showing. Most likely they are the ones spreading it to others before they can even acknowledge that they’re sick! For example, if you know that you have a weak immune system, you may be at an even greater risk for catching the flu. But even if you have a strong immune system, you can still contract the flu, so taking certain precautions might help you to get rid of the flu and develop your immune system for the safety of your baby and you.