Posted by Nicole on 11th September 2011

Upper Respiratory Infection While Pregnant Causes And Treatment

Respiratory Infection In Pregnant Women

Any form of respiratory condition can worsen in the course of pregnancy because the growing uterus compresses the diaphragm and the lungs. This reduces the size of the thoracic cavity and available space for the lungs.  The woman compensates for the thoracic crowding by expanding the lungs horizontally. These conditions, especially respiratory infections, can pose serious injury to the fetus if these are allowed to progress to conditions where oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange is affected. Both the mother and the fetus will not, at this point, receive enough oxygen.

Causes Of Upper Respiratory Infection During Pregnancy

Respiratory diseases can be mild, severe, or chronic. It can range from the common cold to pneumonia and even tuberculosis.

  • Acute Nasopharyngitis: Common cold is more severe during pregnancy compared to pre-pregnancy situations. During pregnancy, stimulation of the hormone known as estrogen causes nasal congestion or nasal stuffiness.
  • Influenza: Influenza is of viral origin. It is accompanied by symptoms such as high fever, prostration, aching back pain, and a sore throat. Bouts of influenza are not correlated with congential anomalies.
  • Pneumonia: This condition is usually of bacterial or viral origin. The collection of bacteria or virus within the lungs can fill the segements with fluid, thereby blocking breathing space. This condition can limit the available oxygen to the fetus.
  • Tuberculosis: Lung tissue is invaded by an acid-fast bacillus. Fibrosis, calcification, and scar tissue develop. Symptoms are the same as with pre-pregnancy levels.

Treatment For Infected Respiratory Tract In Pregnancy

There are ways available to treat upper respiratory symptoms. These include:

  • Rest: Pregnant women need more rest periods, such as extra rest throughout the day and sleep during the night. A diet high in vitamin C, such as orange juice and fruit, should be consumed to help boost the immune system.
  • Humidification: The use of room humidifier or a mist can help moisten nasal secretions and drain mucus accumulation.
  • Honey and lemon: These natural ingredients can help reduce coughing.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids: Foods high in omega 3 such as salmon help boost the immune system.
  • Ointment: Apply a vapor rub such as a mixture of camphor and mint to help relieve nasal congestion.
  • Gargle:  For a mild sore throat infection, pregnant mothers can gargle warm water with a teaspoon of salt every 3 hours. Another equally effective alternative is a mixture of honey and onion juice. This will help treat the infection and can also help soothe the throat.
  • Compress: Cool or warm compresses can help relieve sinus headaches.

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