Dry Cough During Pregnancy- Causes, Treatment And Prevention

8 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.

Dry cough during pregnancy

A cough is sufficiently troublesome at the best of days. When you are pregnant, coughing can be more inconvenient, especially if it hinders 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 the 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.

In This Article

What is a Dry Cough?

Normal cough fills a demand. Cough 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 non-productive.

If a Dry Cough has Not been 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 persistent dry cough indicates the presence of unwanted irritants and microorganisms in the air passage.

What Causes a Dry Cough During Pregnancy?

What Causes a Dry Cough During Pregnancy_

The major causes of dry cough during pregnancy are:

1. 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

2. Rhinitis of Pregnancy

Rhinitis is the inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose. In the course of pregnancy, as the estrogen level shoots up, the mucus membrane that lines the nose swells. This swelling and irritation can prompt a dry cough

3. Hay Fever

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, occurs due to hypersensitivity to animal fur, grass, and tree pollen, which can bring about eyes and nose irritation. If the throat is affected, hay fever will bring out a dry cough

4. Bronchospasm

Bronchospasm refers to the sudden shrinking of the muscles in the walls of the bronchioles. This results in the 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

5. Acid Reflux

Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux, which is quite common during pregnancy, now counts as a cause of dry cough. 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

6. 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

7. Asthma

Asthma sufferers usually experience dry coughs and breathing challenges in the course of pregnancy

8. Viral infections

A cough may come along with (maybe from the beginning, or middle, or even towards the end of) viral infections like a common cold or the flu. A dry cough will continue even after the other symptoms disappear

9. 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 Coughs During Pregnancy?

woman controlling cough

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:

  • Avoiding exposure or contact with the allergen.
  • Decreasing the chances and intensity of acid reflux by reducing the quantity and increasing the frequency of meals, maintaining healthy postures, etc.
  • Adopting measures to increase the resistance of the body.
  • Try not to be exposed to the poor quality of air.

Complications Can Cough Bring About During Pregnancy

Anyone who has ever encountered an extreme episode of a cough knows how bothering it can be. 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:

1. 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 lead to sleep issues, particularly in the last trimester

2. 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 due to cough

3. Improper Nutrition

A dry cough can interfere with the eating routine. You may not be able to eat properly with a troublesome dry cough. This is not good, as during pregnancy proper intake of nutritious food is necessary

4. 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

Does Dry Cough Affect my Baby?

A dry cough during pregnancy will not harm your baby because the baby is safe inside the womb and even doesn’t feel you coughing. However, some underlying causes of cough like bronchitis, or pneumonia may cause complications during pregnancy.

Similarly, sometimes home remedies for dry cough like particular herbal teas, and intake of OTC medicines for dry cough without medical supervision can harm the baby. Pregnant women must see a doctor if they have a persistent cough or other respiratory diseases.

This way, they can initiate treatments that are safe for the baby at the right time and avoid complications.

Home Remedies for Cough During Pregnancy

Home Remedies Dry cough

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:

  1. Garlic can be very helpful in alleviating the cough. You can simply suck on garlic, as long as you can take it!.
  2. Increase fluid intake and stay well hydrated.
  3. Coughing can worsen while you lie down, keeping the upper body and head in an elevated position will help to sleep well.
  4. Sipping ginger tea may help to reduce throat irritation. Just prepare your regular cup of tea with a dash of fresh ginger root and soothe your throat.
  5. Stay away from known allergens, pollens, any smells, and foods.
  6. Weakened immunity is one huge cause of cough during pregnancy and hence fill your daily menu with immune-boosting items.
  7. Drink warm water with a spoon full of honey in it. Honey has anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and antiseptic properties and can help to treat cough and cold.
  8. Chicken soup with onions is both nutritious and soothing to the throat.
  9. Drink lukewarm water with half a lemon squeezed. Lukewarm water is also known to soothe irritated throat and lemon is antibacterial.
  10. A paste of skinless (soaked) almond, sugar, and butter is good for a dry cough.
  11. Gargling with warm salt water is one of the most effective ways to treat cough.
  12. Take naps and try to sleep as much as you can. Resting gives your body the much-needed time to recover.
  13. 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?

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:

  • Persistent dry cough.
  • If nausea and vomiting accompany a dry cough.
  • If fever appears with a dry cough.
  • Chest pain and/or wheezing also appears along with cough.
  • You notice coughing up discolored mucus.

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 solve this issue. Foremost of all, tell your doctor regarding 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.

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 unborn baby and you.


1. Can Dry Cough Cause Bleeding in the Throat?

Yes, in some cases it might. If you have a resistant dry cough it can irritate your throat. However, if you see too much blood or the bleeding is continuous, consult your doctor immediately.

2. Can Turmeric Milk Help With Dry Cough?

Yes, it can. The curcumin in turmeric can help combat dry cough. Turmeric has other benefits too.

3. Can I Take my Usual Cough Medicine to Combat Dry Cough During Pregnancy?

No, please don’t. When you are pregnant, you should take only medications prescribed by your doctor. Some medications can cause harm to your baby.

4. Can Dry Cough During Pregnancy be Hormonal?

Yes, it can. It is quite common for pregnant women to suffer from cough when they are pregnant. It will subside on its own after the delivery.

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

Responses (0)

Please check a captcha

Want curated content sharply tailored for your exact stage of parenting?

Discover great local businesses around you for your kids.

Get regular updates, great recommendations and other right stuff at the right time.


Our site uses cookies to make your experience on this site even better. We hope you think that is sweet.