A cough is sufficiently troublesome at the best of days. When you are pregnant, cough can be more inconvenient, especially, if it hinders with the sleep. Expecting mothers may have a dry cough during any point of the pregnancy, but mostly the issue is found to increase during the final stages of pregnancy, as the breathing turns out to be more troublesome in the later stages of gestational period.
There are two forms of a cough. A dry cough and wet cough. In this article, let us find out the reasons, and remedies for a dry cough.
What Is A Dry Cough?
Normally, cough fills a demand, as the activity helps in taking away the mucus or phlegm, which advances down from the nose through the rear of the throat or, which has been expelled from the lungs. In both cases, normal coughs are useful, as they will allow the body to remove mucus or phlegm and they ought not to be held back or suppressed with medicines. On the other hand, a dry cough does not get rid of any mucus. Therefore, it is just a nuisance for the body. A dry cough is therefore termed as non-productive.
If a dry cough is not helping the body to get rid of the mucus, then, what is its purpose?
A dry cough helps to clear the large breathing passages from the irritants, foreign particles, and microbes. Therefore, a persisting dry cough indicates the presence of unwanted irritants and microorganisms in the air passage.
What Causes A Dry Cough During Pregnancy?
The major causes of a dry cough during pregnancy are:
- Weakened immune system: As the immune system weakens in the course of pregnancy, if proper care is not taken, it is easy to catch infections that lead to a dry cough
- Rhinitis of pregnancy: Rhinitis is the inflammation of the mucus membrane of the nose. In the course of pregnancy, as the estrogen level shoots up, the mucus membrane that lines the nose swells. The swelling and the irritation can prompt a dry cough
- Hay fever: Hay fever also known as allergic rhinitis, occurs due to hypersensitivity to animal fur, grass, and tree pollen, which can bring about the eyes and nose irritation. If the throat is affected, hay fever will bring out a dry cough
- Bronchospasm: Bronchospasm refers to the sudden shrinking of the muscles in the walls of the bronchioles. This results in narrowing of the air passages. Bronchospasm is usually experienced with constant bronchitis. It can likewise happen as a response to an insect bite and during an allergic reaction to certain foods. Bronchospasm can bring about a dry cough
- Acid reflux: Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux, which is quite common during pregnancy, now counts as a cause of dry coughs. What happens is that the acidic contents of the stomach that travel upwards if by any chance enter the upper respiratory tract, can bring about inflammation of the lining of the respiratory tract resulting in a dry cough
- Allergy: Allergies can also prompt a dry cough. If you experience any type of allergy, exposure to the allergen can aggravate your breathing passages, which can lead to coughing
- Asthma: Asthma sufferers usually experience dry coughs and breathing challenges in the course of pregnancy
- Viral infections: A cough may come along with (maybe from the beginning, or middle or even towards the end of) the viral infections like a common cold or the flu. A dry cough will continue even after the other symptoms disappear
- Air pollutants: You may experience a dry cough if you are exposed to smog, irritant gas, or tobacco smoke. This is because the poor quality of air can irritate the back of the throat, which in turn can prompt a dry cough
What Can Be Done To Prevent Cough During Pregnancy?
Keeping the issue of a dry cough 100% at bay in the course of pregnancy is practically impossible. However, the chances of catching a dry cough can be reduced by:
- A cough due to allergy can be prevented by avoiding the exposure or contact with the allergen
- A dry cough due to acid reflux can be prevented by reducing the chances and intensity of acid reflux like reducing the quantity and increasing the frequency of meal, maintaining healthy postures etc.
- Adopting measures to increase the resistance of the body
- Try not to be exposed to the poor quality of air
What Complications Can Cough Bring About During Pregnancy?
Anyone who has ever encountered an extreme episode of a cough knows how bothering it can be. Be that as it may, a dry cough in the course of pregnancy can bring about more significant issues. This is because of the fact that, during pregnancy, the body will already be in a super delicate state. A dry cough can put extra effort on the delicate pregnant body. Issues that can happen if you cough too much in the course of pregnancy include:
- Insomnia: Lack of sleep usually comes with a dry cough. Even otherwise, sleep is the easy prey of pregnancy (and motherhood). With the uneasiness of the growing body and related body aches, no wonder sleep is more affected. A dry cough can exasperate sleep issues, particularly in the last trimester
- Urinary incontinence: During pregnancy, your uterus takes up too much space and tends to press the bladder, which can bring about incontinence. Added pressure to the bladder leaves less space to hold urine and you can encounter one too many episodes of urine leakage
- Improper nutrition: A dry cough can interfere with the eating routine. You may not be able to eat properly with a troublesome a dry cough. This is not good, as during pregnancy proper intake of nutritious food is necessary
- An underlying health issue can create complications: A dry cough can be due to some underlying health issues. Ignoring a dry cough naturally results in, the untreated underlying issue creating issues for both mother and the unborn child
Home Remedies For Cough During Pregnancy
If the doctor confirms that your cough is harmless, you can try out a few tips, which help to soothe the discomforts that arise due to a dry cough. Remember that these are not curing measures, just relieving measures. A few things you can do to make yourself more comfortable along with medication prescribed by the doctor are:
- Garlic can be very helpful in alleviating the cough. You can simply suck on garlic, as long as you can take it!
- Increase fluid intake and stay well hydrated. Dehydration can further worsen the condition and cause complications during pregnancy
- Coughing can worsen while you lie down, keeping the upper body and head in an elevated position will help to sleep well
- Sipping ginger tea may help to reduce the throat irritation. Just prepare your regular cup of tea with a dash of fresh ginger root and soothe your throat
- Stay away from known allergens, pollens, any smells and foods
- Weakened immunity is one huge cause of cough during pregnancy and hence you should fill your daily menu with immune boosting items
- Drink warm water with a spoon full of honey in it. Honey has anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and antiseptic properties and can help treating cough and cold
- Chicken soup with onions is both nutritious and soothing to th throat. It helps to reduce the soreness of throat
- Drink lukewarm water with half a lemon squeezed. Lukewarm water is also known to soothe the irritated throat and lemon is antibacterial. It also helps alkalinize the body
- A paste of skinless (soaked) almond, sugar, and butter are good for a dry cough
- Mixing honey with mint, tea, warm water, etc.is very effective in controlling a dry cough. However, in the course of pregnancy, before using honey, it is better to ask your doctors as some expecting mothers are found to react negatively to it
- Gargling with warm salt water is one of the most effective ways to treat cough
- Maintain optimum levels of hygiene and stay away from anyone who has any viral infection
- Rest, rest, rest. Take naps and try to sleep as much as you can. resting gives your body the much needed time to recover
- Chamomile tea with some honey is also known to help with cough during pregnancy
When Should I Seek Medical Attention For Dry Cough During Pregnancy?
A dry cough mostly is innocuous. Be that as it may, do contact your doctor if by any chance you have any of the following signs:
- Persisting dry cough
- If nausea and vomiting accompany a dry cough
- If fever appears with a dry cough
- Chest pain and/or wheezing also appears alongwith cough
- You notice coughing up discolored mucus
It is always better for you to meet your doctor without much delay if a dry cough makes you suffer. Waiting can aggravate your symptoms. However, no need to worry much. The odds are high that your cough will cause no harm to your baby and you.
How Can A Dry Cough Be Treated During Pregnancy?
A dry cough can bother pregnant women a lot. Therefore, it is important to find some solution to facilitate a dry cough. Foremost of all, tell your doctor regarding the issue of a dry cough before trying to ease it yourself. Self-medicating is not a good idea in the course of pregnancy. Besides, identifying, and handling the underlying issue that brings out a dry cough is vital. Medications ought to be entirely under the supervision of your specialist.
Cough Medicine During Pregnancy
It is best to avoid the use of over-the-counter medicines during pregnancy, however, if the cough becomes way too nasty to handle, seek your doctor’s recommendation on what medicines you can take. Common medicines that one takes for cough may not be safe for the growing fetus. Cough suppressants, anesthetic sore throat lozenges, cough syrups etc. should only be taken if prescribed by the doctor. Cough drops with natural ingredients may be effective, but it is always best to check with your doctor first.Cough drops that contain dextromethorphan and guaifenesin (an expectorant) are considered safe for pregnant women to use.