A dry cough during pregnancy usually causes difficulty in breathing and may escalate into something more dangerous like a fever. The immune system becomes weaker during pregnancies and requires assistance to recover. From disrupting healthy sleep patterns to causing interference with daily tasks, a dry cough can become problematic if not taken care of. Read on for an overview of the ailment and learn ways to identify and treat it.
What is a Dry Cough?
A dry cough is coughing without any discharge of mucus. A dry cough in women causes a host of problems from insomnia to urinary incontinence. During the final stages of the gestation period in pregnancies, dry coughs interfere with regular breathing and cause shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing. Fatigue is another problem associated with pregnancy-related dry coughs.
Difference Between Dry and Normal Cough?
The only difference between dry and normal coughing is the lack of mucus discharge in dry coughs. Due to this key aspect, dry coughs are considered unproductive as opposed to normal coughs which are meant to flush out harmful bacteria from the nasal passages. While dry coughs do not dispel any mucus, they are designed by the body to clear out the linings in the lungs and larger breathing areas of the body from harmful irritants, microbes, and allergy-causing bacteria.
Why are Pregnant Women More Vulnerable to Cough?
Pregnant women are vulnerable to a cough due to various reasons, the primary being increasing oestrogen levels in their body. The efficiency of the immune system is lowered during pregnancy, and this causes the body’s natural line of defence to weaken and become vulnerable to allergies and coughs. Technically, babies are considered foreign entities inside the womb and the lowered immunity ensures that they are not suppressed, attacked or eliminated.
Causes of Dry Cough in Pregnancy
There are several causes of dry cough during pregnancy. The main reasons for dry cough are:
- Allergies – A weaker immune system is more susceptible to allergies. Although babies aren’t affected by these, the mother is. Allergens entering the pathways of air flow inside the body create difficulty in breathing or dry coughs
- Asthma – If the patient is already diagnosed with asthma, she will have problems related to dry coughs even during pregnancies
- Bronchospasm – Hyperactivity of the bronchioles’ muscles leads to dry coughing. Insect bites and certain foods causing allergic reactions cause dry coughs too
- Rhinitis – A pregnancy-related condition, rhinitis leads to a flare up in the mucus membranes and causes them to swell. This leads to dry coughs, and the reason behind this activity is high oestrogen levels in the body
- Low Immunity – Low immunity is common amongst women during pregnancies. This makes them prone and susceptible to various allergies and infections, thus leading to dry coughing
- Heartburn – Acid reflux or heartburn occur a lot during pregnancies. These can contribute to a dry cough as well
Are There Any Ways to Prevent Getting Dry Cough?
There are several tips and tricks for preventing dry cough. Here are some home remedies for dry cough during pregnancy:
- installing a humidifier to reduce congestion in the nose
- Propping your head on the pillow at an angle helps in breathing easier too
- Drinking warm tea or gargling with lukewarm salt water solution also helps prevent dry cough
- Eating hard candy or sucking on ice chips are good for alleviating dry cough symptoms during the day
Sign and Symptoms of Dry Cough while Pregnant
Knowing how to get rid of a dry cough while pregnant begins with identifying the signs and symptoms the right way. Here are the signs and symptoms that manifest themselves when you are going through a dry cough phase:
- Wheezing coughs and a blocked throat are common signs of a dry cough during pregnancy
- The coughing may also accompany nausea
- Dry coughs can also lead to problems in sleeping
Home Remedies for Dry Cough during Pregnancy
Home remedies for cough during pregnancy include incorporating a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals. Although low appetite is a common symptom among pregnant women suffering from dry cough, the best remedy entails improving immunity via a healthy diet. Foods rich in zinc boost immunity and provide relief from dry cough. A good cure for dry cough is to stay hydrated throughout the day and include foods rich in Vitamin C like kiwi, tomatoes, oranges, grapefruits, and similar foods. Taking cough syrup during pregnancy is one among well-known home remedies for cough and sore throat. Other common remedies include:
- Getting enough sleep will help heal your body and stimulate recovery. It also helps you cope with the suppressed immune system and cures passages prone to allergies and infections. A good rest beats infections and diseases better than anything else
- Sucking on a slice of lemon sprayed with a pinch of black pepper can help reduce the intensity of coughing symptoms
- Eating 2 to 3 pieces of chopped or grated raw garlic with your meals can alleviate the various symptoms of dry coughing
- Take basil leaves and honey, grind and mix well to make a smooth paste. Consume this every day to soothe dry coughs
- You can make a natural cough syrup at home by mixing onion juice with honey and drinking the solution
- Drinking orange juice strengthens the immune system and relieves symptoms
- Avoid any allergens aggravating dry cough symptoms originating from sources like dust, dirt, and other toxic pollutants
- If you are facing extreme cough symptoms, a good home remedy recommended by many is drinking lukewarm water mixed with lemon juice
- Taking hot showers or using a humidifier in your bedroom at night can increase moisture content in the air and relieve dry cough
- Broth-based soups, teas, and water mixed with honey are good remedies too
- Gargling with salt water that is lukewarm can help with a dry cough as it works on the inflamed areas and removes excess fluid accumulations. Gargling aids in the thinning of the mucus and removes various irritants from the throat and nasal passages
- Exercising regularly can counteract symptoms of dry cough. Supplementing these exercises with probiotics and prenatal vitamins is recommended
- Certain medications that mesh well with dry cough without causing any harm or side effects are Acetaminophen (for fevers, headaches, and aches in the body), Lozenges (for easing throat pain), and Codein and dextromethorphan (for suppressing dry coughs)
- Drinking plenty of water will allow you to stay hydrated and flush out harmful toxins, mucus, and other foreign bacteria from the body. This will protect your baby and support your suppressed immune system, providing comfort and relief
Dry Cough Treatment in Pregnancy
Certain vaccinations may be recommended to you during your pregnancy to prevent disorders and complications with regards to the development of the baby. These include Hepatitis B and the flu vaccine. Hepatitis is a transferable disease that can seep into the foetus if the parent is diagnosed with it and it’s highly recommended to administer this vaccine during pregnancies. October-May marks the period of the flu season, and the flu vaccine will keep you and your baby protected. Flu vaccines must be administered in the form of a shot (containing the inactive form) and are preferred over their nasal spray counterparts for maximum effectiveness.
If you are experiencing whooping cough, you may be prescribed special Tdap vaccine during your pregnancy by the doctor.
Will Dry Cough During Pregnancy Affect The Baby?
As stated earlier, no. A dry cough only causes lowered immunity and affects the mother, not the baby. Foetuses are considered resilient in nature and the placenta provides adequate protection to them. Only the stress hormone cortisol can seep through the barriers of the placenta and harm the baby. Babies are known to be tolerable to certain levels of the cortisol hormone; however, in extreme cases where the pregnant women are prone to high levels of stress, anxiety, and trauma, birth defects might follow in the development of the foetus. ,
Please note that not treating the cough, cold, or flu for long periods of time can spread the diseases internally which may affect cognitive development of the baby and lead to impairment during birth. As a precaution, eat healthy and consult the doctor for regular check-up to ensure the well-rounded development of the foetus.
Complications Involved With Dry Cough during Pregnancies
There are several complications involved with dry cough, especially during the latter stages of pregnancies:
- Lack of sleep or disturbed sleep patterns are extremely common with dry coughs. A coughing episode leaves the body fragile and weak, and a lack of sleep can worsen this
- Urinary incontinence or disrupted passage of urine from the bladder can cause discomfort amongst women. During pregnancy, the uterus exerts pressure on the bladder, leaving barely any room to hold the urine in it. This becomes worse during a dry cough and might cause the urine to leak out and cause stress or inconvenience
- A dry cough causes a lot of physical, mental, and emotional stress which often carries on to other inlets of the body. mother’s
- A suppressed immunity converts into a huge opportunity for various infections. Infections can cause various health problems and lead to a variety of diseases or complicate existing pregnancy-related problems
- Nutrition deficiency is another trait commonly associated with dry coughs. Dry coughs leave you feeling vulnerable and weak and this can lead to a reduced sense of appetite. Reduced appetite equates to less eating and more nutrition deficiencies due to the lack of ingesting the right foods rich in vitamins and essential nutrients
When Do You Need to Consult a Doctor?
Although dry cough symptoms alleviate with the right foods and medications, complications of dry cough in pregnancy can occur, which may require further consultation and visits to the doctor. You should consult a doctor regarding your condition if you experience the following:
- Frequent bouts of insomnia over a long period of time
- Prolonged loss of appetite
- Fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit and above
- Coughing accompanied by chest pains
- Discharge of discoloured mucus during coughing episodes
It is important to visit a doctor when any of the above signs appear. Do not wait until these symptoms get worse or your body gets weaker due to frequent coughing. A visit to the doctor is highly recommended especially if the above symptoms persist and do not fade with time despite the use of the recommended home remedies.
Warnings Associated With a Dry Cough
You can take certain over-the-counter medications for combating various symptoms of dry cough in the body. Here are some recommendations and warnings associated with the consumption of dry cough medications:
- Common dry cough medications safe for consumption during pregnancies include Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Dextromethorphan cough supplements, and cough drops containing menthol as the prime ingredient
- Over-the-counter medications should only be used when their advantages and effectiveness far outweighs the risks associated with them
- Overuse of certain medications can harm the foetus. Hence, only certain medications in moderate control and certified dosages are allowed
While a dry cough during pregnancy is a common occurrence, it is important to monitor it, and consider seeing a doctor if it persists. With a healthy diet, enough sleep, and by taking care of yourself and your baby, you can prevent as well as cure a dry cough.