Your belly is growing, you feel well, but all of a sudden you’re having difficulty breathing. This isn’t uncommon. A growing baby can result in difficulty breathing on its own, but it can also be bronchitis. It’s not uncommon to get bronchitis while pregnant.
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What is Bronchitis?
Bronchitis is an infection thatdevelops in a person’s airway. The infection will result in excess mucus production, which leads to:
- Difficulty breathing
- Sore throat
- Body aches
And these symptoms are not much to be concerned about. Women will often ignore these symptoms in hopes that they go away on their own, but now that you’re pregnant, these symptoms should be evaluated by a doctor.
When the winter months roll around, people – even those not pregnant – will get bronchitis.
3 Ways to Avoid Bronchitis While Pregnant
Bronchitis is rather easy to contract, and this ailment is caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Since it’s easy to catch, you’ll want to do your absolute best to avoid getting bronchitis. Three ways to avoid getting bronchitis, include:
1. Washing Your Hands
Frequent hand washing will reduce your risk of getting an infection of any Touching door knobs, toilets or any other items that a person with bronchitis has touched can increase your risk of infection. Clean hands will be a major benefit to all pregnant women.
2. Avoiding Exposure
You’re pregnant, and you need to think about yourself and your unborn child above all else. If you can, avoid unnecessary exposure. Stay away from friends and family that have been diagnosed with bronchitis – especially if they have a fever.
3. Getting the Flu Shot
While different, the flu shot is recommended for all pregnant women. Bronchitis is often caused by the flu, so protecting yourself via a flu shot is highly recommended. Keep in mind that the flu shot does not contain a live virus, so it has a much lower risk of getting you sick. Plus, the flu shot will protect your baby for up to 6 months after birth.
Avoiding bronchitis is especially important for pregnant women. If you follow the tips above, you’ll lessen your chance of getting bronchitis. But there is always a chance, no matter how diligent you may be, that you’ll get bronchitis.
Other infections you might need to be aware of:
4 Signs that it’s Time to Call a Doctor
You’ll be visiting your doctor often while pregnant. And you’ll want to watch your overall health to ensure that if a problem does arise, you can contact a doctor and have the issue corrected as quickly as possible.
If you fear that you have bronchitis while pregnant, the following 4 signs are an indicator that it’s time to consult with a doctor:
- You have a fever of 101+ degrees
- You’re coughing up blood, even a little
- You have continual shortness of breath
- You have chest pain
Any of these symptoms require emergency treatment. Point two should be heeded with diligence. Slight blood is common from excessive coughing, but if you’re coughing up a lot of blood, a trip to the emergency room is recommended. Internal bleeding is very serious.
Following an exam, your doctor will determine if you have bronchitis. When the infection is bacterial, you’ll be prescribed an antibiotic. Your doctor will need to proceed with caution so that safe antibiotics are prescribed.
There are a few antibiotics that should be avoided:
The last two antibiotics have been shown to increase the risks of birth defects. If you have been prescribed any of the medications above, discuss your concerns with your doctor before taking them.
Bronchitis can be caused by bacteria or a virus. In the event that the cause is from a virus, the condition will likely correct itself in a few days. Antibiotics will not kill a virus. If you have symptoms for more than a few days following an exam, contact your medical professional to get a prescription to better manage your symptoms.
I advise you to always consult with your doctor if you have any of the symptoms above, especially a high fever or you’re coughing up blood. If the symptoms are very mild, you can perform at-home treatments that may or may not alleviate symptoms.
An at-home treatment that works well is:
- Pour 8 ounces of warm water in a bowl with ½ teaspoon of salt and baking soda.
- Lean over a sink with your nostrils facing the sink at a 45-degree angle.
- Using a syringe or bottle, pour the solution in your nostrils while breathing through your mouth.
This will alleviate your difficulty breathing and can be repeated several times a day. Hot teas or a humidifier can also help you manage your symptoms. Rest and plenty of fluids is recommended to avoid dehydration and to break up mucus.