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7 incredible home remedies for colds during pregnancy that actually work

You might reach right for the cold medicine when you get sick, but when you’re pregnant, you have to double-check and reconsider every medication you take. Stand-bys like aspirin and ibuprofen aren’t recommended during pregnancy, and many docs recommend not taking any medicine at all during the first trimester when key developments are taking place. This leaves us going back to basics when looking for home remedies for colds during pregnancy. It turns out some of these DIY treatments are more than myths. Here are some home remedies that actually work.

A pregnant woman sleeping with a pregnancy pillow

Rest and fluids

Start with the obvious! The top two ways to feel better are to get some rest and drink plenty of water and other fluids. Water is best, but electrolyte drinks like Pedialyte can help restore hydration if you’ve been vomiting or sweating. If you’re a coffee drinker, cut back on the milk or cream because dairy causes congestion. Warm tea with honey can soothe a sore throat. Drink as much water as you can throughout the day, and you can even get more fluid through foods like watermelon.

Gargle warm saltwater

This can ease a sore throat or cough. Add a half teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water and gargle for as long as you can before spitting it out. Repeat with new gulps until the cup is done. The salt can actually prevent harmful bacteria from creating an infection and it relieves inflammation and pain. It’s not dangerous to swallow the water, but it’s not recommended since it could add to dehydration or too much salt intake. The water can be warm because it feels nicer on your sore throat, but as long as the salt dissolves into the water, it can be cold if you prefer.

Breathe in warm, humid air

Take deep breaths in a hot shower, put your face over a pot of steaming water (you can even drape a towel over your head to keep in the steam), or use a facial steamer or hot-mist vaporizer if you have one. Breathing in steam can help loosen congestion. If you’re dealing with coughs and pregnancy, this may temporarily make you cough a little more as you get out the loosened congestion, but then it will clear up and feel better afterward.

Saline nasal spray

You can loosen nasal mucus and feel sinus relief with saline nasal spray. By using saline (saltwater) instead of a medicated spray, you are sure to be safe for baby and for you without the chance of overuse. If you do use it often or daily, you may get excess water running out of your nose, and since you are trying to relieve your runny nose, try not to do it more than a few times per day. Use as directed on the bottle.

Chicken soup

Funnily enough, chicken soup may actually be medicinally beneficial, not just a cliché. A study out of the Nebraska Medical Center showed that homemade chicken soup (a recipe with vegetables) actually may work as an anti-inflammatory. The steam you breathe in while hovering over the bowl of hot soup to take your sips also helps. It’s the perfect go-to comfort food for colds for a reason. Consider making sure your recipe includes onions and garlic, which both contain helpful properties for cold relief.

Hot and cold compresses

An ice pack on your face could help relieve your sinus pain and a warm pack on your forehead can feel nice if you have chills. Use temperature changers like a fan or a blanket to help soothe yourself with whatever feels good. Getting outside to soak up the warm sun may be comforting as well, and some Vitamin D doesn’t hurt (as long as you use sunscreen).

Coconut oil

You can rub coconut oil on your chest or eat it tea, broth, oatmeal, smoothie, or another way. Coconut oil has antiviral properties that can help several symptoms and help shorten the cold. Rubbing it on your chest after mixing in a little peppermint oil can help clear nasal passages so you can breathe easier and ingesting it can help soothe a sore throat and reduce coughing.

You don’t need cough syrup to help a cold. With these home remedies that are pregnancy-safe, you’ll be feeling better in no time.

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