Flu in Pregnancy, First Trimester, Second Trimester, Third Trimester, Harming the Baby, Medications and Home Remedies

An insight into flu in pregnancy first, second, third trimester, harming the baby, medications and home remedies

Flu in pregnancy first trimester

When a woman is pregnant, there are several warning signs that should not be ignored. One of the respiratory illness that she can experience is the infection of influenza virus.

Flu in pregnancy

Flu in pregnancy

Flu in pregnancy is usually bigger than the common colds which people can experience. According to the March of Dimes, “health complications from the flu, like pneumonia, can be serious and even deadly, especially if you’re pregnant”.

Some of the flu symptoms which can be felt by a woman in her first trimester of pregnancy include;

  • Fever
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Fatigues
  • Coughs
  • Headache

If you feel okay in the morning but in the evening you feel that you are experiencing the above symptoms, then you have a flu.


There are several tests that can be performed depending on the symptoms that you have which might including the doctor taking a nasal swab to test for the flu.


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that women get a vaccine for the flu when they are about to get pregnant especially when nearing the flu season just for additional protection.

As indicated above, you might experience;

Fever and headache

This are the common symptoms that you will have due to influenza virus. Fever is usually not very health for the developing foetus especially during the first trimester as it is sometimes said to be responsible for several birth defects among the pregnant women which includes retarded brain and spinal development.

If you are pregnant and then develop a fever, then it is recommended by the doctors that you take a regular-strength acetaminophen so as to lower the fever and reduce the headache.

Flu in pregnancy

Flu in pregnancy

Sore throat and cough

This can also happen to a pregnant woman especially in the first trimester. If you develop a very severe cough, then just know that the fetus is well protected in your uterus as you cannot cough so hard that you go into labor, as stated by the BabyMed.

A doctor might also recommend taking of the cough medications which are very safe to take during the first trimester. The use of a humidifier as well as the throat lozenges might also be very much helpful in relieving of the cough.

If your cough is however accompanied by green tinged sputum, then you might be having an infection which requires to be treated. Contact your doctor for evaluation.

Runny or Stuffy Nose

According to the March of Dimes, in the first trimester where a woman has a runny nose is a symptom of the flu in pregnancy. There are very many natural remedies that you can try during the first trimester.

The use of a warm steamy shower might also assist to relieve nasal congestion. Saline nasal spray, drops might also be very much helpful in clearing of the nasal passages. Sleeping propped up on a pillow in an upright position will assist to drain sinus cavities.

Over-the-counter decongestants as well as the antihistamines are supposed to be avoided during the first trimester. If you develop any given nasal congestion which appears to be intolerable, then ensure that you contact your obstetrician for additional treatment options.

Flu in pregnancy second trimester

Flu infection in the second trimester can also happen to a pregnant woman, especially due to the changes in the body. In this trimester, there is still a higher chance that having flu can also lead to very severe complications like the breathing problems.

Some of the severe strains of flu can increase the risk of premature birth and thus need to go to the hospital.

An exposure to the flu during the second trimester can also increase the risk of the child developing the bipolar disorder later in life. The finding has added a lot of evidence to the causes of several other brain conditions which studies have also linked to the prenatal exposure to this virus.

Flu in pregnancy

Flu in pregnancy

Although pregnant women will show mild symptoms at this stage, all the women are supposed to be given the flu vaccine. Complications of the flu at the second trimester are very rare, although reports show that some deaths have occurred due to the complications in the past.

Ensure that you talk to your doctor about the vaccine if you are unsure.

Flu in pregnancy third trimester

The influenza virus which causes flu in pregnancy has not indicated to lead to any birth defects during the third trimester, although high fever can increase the chance for birth defects such as the spina fida, which can impair the growth of the foetus.

“A pregnant woman has lower immunity as a way of preventing the foetus from being rejected. Thus, she’s more susceptible to flu complications. Pre-existing illnesses, such as diabetes, asthma or heart disease, further increase this risk”, indicates WebMD.

In this trimester, pneumonia can also arise, when the virus spreads to the brain causing inflammation of the delicate brain structures causing encephalitis or meningitis.

Pregnancy usually affects your heart and lungs, especially in third trimester, due to the growth of the baby, the womb usually expands pressing against the lungs of the mother, thus making the breathing to be more taxing and becomes worse if you catch a flu.

In the absence of early treatment after an infection of the flu in pregnancy at the third trimester, a fever has been linked to miscarriage and premature birth.

In the next section, you will learn the effects of the flu in pregnancy to the baby in womb.

Can flu during pregnancy harm the baby

Doctors have for long period of time called on the pregnant women to be vaccinated of flu as the new research has indicated that flu can cause several damages to the baby.

  1. Flu in pregnancy studies have indicated that the disease can lead to brain damage in unborn babies, as well as emotional and developmental disorders.
  2. Flu can also lead to premature birth or even miscarriage.

Flu in early pregnancy miscarriage

Although cold and the flu in pregnancy might sometimes make you to feel very much uncomfortable (especially if you’re pregnant and some of the medications are off-limits), they aren’t likely to lead to miscarriage.

While the CDC and several other organizations claim that the influenza might raise the risk of miscarriage, there is however, no conclusive studies which have indicated a link—at least in the recent years.

During the 1918 flu pandemic which spanned the globe, the influenza clearly played a role in several of the miscarriages. It’s said that one in every 10 pregnant women had early miscarriages during that particular period of time, over and above what would be considered to be the expected incidence.

Since that period, studies that are evaluating the flu in pregnant women have not found an increased risk of the miscarriage.

However, experiencing a fever during pregnancy (which is usually a temperature that’s higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit) is normally linked to an increased miscarriage risk. If you catch the flu, then your doctor might advise you to keep your fever well controlled with Tylenol while you are sick.

Flu in pregnancy

Flu in pregnancy

Remember that you always ask your doctor before taking any of the over-the-counter pill while pregnant due to many—like Sudafed (pseudoephedrine), dextromethorphan, Aleve (naproxen), Advil, Motrin (ibuprofen), Bayer, and Excedrin (aspirin, paracetamol, caffeine)—are not considered to be safe.

Other Pregnancy Concerns Beyond Miscarriage

It’s very important to note that the flu does carry any other concerns for pregnant women. During the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, for instance, women who contracted the flu while pregnant had an increased risk of the premature birth, infant death, and also the intensive care unit admissions.

Medications for flu in pregnancy

When you are pregnant, everything which occurs to you can easily affect not just your body, but that of the unborn child. This particular realization can make the dealing with illness to be more complicated.

In the past, if you got a cold or even became sick with flu, you might just have taken an over-the-counter decongestant.

But now you might be trying to find out if it’s safe. Although some of the medications can relieve your symptoms, you don’t want the drug leading to problems to the baby.

Most of the medications might be taken while a person pregnant, so treating of a cold or even the flu in pregnancy doesn’t have to be a very stressful experience.

According to the University of Michigan Health System and most of the OB-GYNs, it’s better to avoid all the medications in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. That’s a very critical time that is taken into consideration for the development of baby’s vital organs.

Many doctors recommend caution after 28 weeks. Speak with your doctor any time before taking any kind of medication if you’re pregnant or even trying to get pregnant.

Several medications are normally considered safe after a period of 12 weeks of pregnancy. These might include:

  • menthol rub on chest, and also under the nose
  • nasal strips, which are the sticky pads which are used to open congested airways
  • cough lozenges
  • acetaminophen for aches and fevers
  • cough suppressant at night
  • expectorant during the day
  • calcium-carbonate for heartburn, nausea, or upset stomach
  • plain cough syrup
  • dextromethorphan and dextromethorphan-guaifenesin cough syrups

Avoid all-in-one medications which combine ingredients in tackling of the many symptoms. Instead, choose a single medications for symptoms that you are dealing with.

You should avoid the following medications while being pregnant unless recommended by the doctor. They normally increase the risk for problems:

  • aspirin (Bayer)
  • ibuprofen
  • naproxen
  • Bactrim, which is an antibiotic

 What are natural flu remedies that is used for when you’re pregnant?

There are several effective, safe, and also natural remedies that can be used for the flu in pregnancy. Here is a list of things which you can keep on hand in an event of becoming sick:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Preferably raw. ACV normally alkalinizes the body, and most of the illnesses can’t thrive in the alkaline environments.
    • Mix 1-2 tablespoons of the ACV into water and drink for about 3 times a day.
    • Gargle ACV so as to soothe a sore throat.
    • Used topically, ACV can reduce fever.
  • Honey – Raw, local honey is usually antibacterial, and also antiseptic.
  • Onion – Raw onion contains phytochemicals which assists to keep the respiratory tract open.
  • Lemon – Antibacterial. Also assists to alkalinize the body. Rich in the vitamin C.
  • Asian Mushrooms – Antibacterial and antiviral.
  • Coconut oil – Antiviral, and also antifungal.
  • Blueberries – High in natural aspirin, can also assist to lower fevers and relieve aches and pains.
  • Clear, unsweetened liquids – Dehydration is much of a concern in pregnant women, so being diligent about staying hydrated is very much crucial. Coconut water is the perfect hydrator. This natural pedialyte alternative can as well boost your electrolytes.
  • Homemade chicken soup – Or simply bone broth from the healthy chickens.
  • Warm salt water – Use as a gargle for a sore throat or even with a neti pot for the congestion.
  • Tea – Hot liquids assists to relieve sore throats as well as congestion and assists to prevent any given dehydration.
  • High quality probiotic – Supports the general health.
Flu in pregnancy

Flu in pregnancy

The following herbs might be used for flu in pregnancy symptoms, but should not be used in therapeutic amounts while you are pregnancy. The amount which is normally found in food is safe and beneficial.

  • Cayenne powder – Antimicrobial and expectorant.
  • Garlic – Antiviral, antibiotic, and also antiseptic.
  • Ginger – Antimicrobial as well as anti-inflammatory. Good for an upset tummy.
  • Thyme – Antimicrobial, antiviral, expectorant, and also astringent. Recomended for respiratory infections and upset tummy.

What should I do if I feel a flu in pregnancy coming on?

Keep in mind that the symptoms might be much related to pregnancy related issues such as PUPPS rather than an illness.

  • Get lots of rest as well as water. You need more of both while you’re pregnant and also when you’re fighting the flu.
  • Eat nutrient dense foods like the bone broth, healthy fats, fresh fruits and also leafy greens. It’s imperative to reduce nutrient poor foods such as white sugar and also flour.



  1. Flu During Pregnancy – Natural Remedies: https://www.mamanatural.com/flu-during-pregnancy/
  2. Is antiviral flu medication safe during pregnancy: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-answers/flu-and-pregnancy/faq-20058012
  3. Pregnancy and the flu: https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/treating-during-pregnancy#overview1
  4. Can Catching a Cold or Flu During Pregnancy Cause a Miscarriage: https://www.verywell.com/colds-flu-pregnancy-cause-miscarriage-2371423




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