Pregnant women are particularly susceptible to illness during pregnancy because of their weaker immune system. This can be of particular concern during flu season – especially as severe as the one we are seeing this year. Here are several natural, drug- and chemical-free, and — yes! — even enjoyable tips for boosting your immune system and fighting off illness. Best of all, each tip we spotlight can also ease or improve your pregnancy experience.
Feeling ill? Work it out? A recent study came to the conclusion that “the more physically fit and active you are, the less likely you are to suffer colds in the winter months.” Exercise also improves your pregnancy experience, as found in an NIH study ascertaining the impact of regular aerobic activity on fifty pregnant women.
2. Staying hydrated
Especially during sick season, preventing dehydration is a must. Poor hydration can weaken the immune system making it harder to expel icky mucus and cool down the body. Aim for close to 2.5L of water per day.
3. Proper sleep
Sleep deprivation has been associated with altered immune function, making the body more susceptible to illness. That said, we know sleep can be hard to come by during pregnancy. Some coping advice: exercise (as we previously recommended here) can help regulate sleep levels, as can sleeping on your left side — never on your back.
We know it sounds silly, and that’s exactly the point. Several studies have suggested that a few chuckles a day can actually help keep sickness at bay.
We doubt that we’ve exhausted every possible natural antidote to illness that can better your pregnancy to boot. What do you personally practice to help you and your baby stay well?
Make sure to wash hands frequently, particularly when preparing foods and eating, after using the bathroom, being in public spaces like the subway or bus, or after being around other sick people. Washing your hands will help to limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes. If you can’t make it to a sink, keep a natural hand sanitizer handy. Avoid antibacterial soaps and sanitizers with the potentially harmful chemical triclosan.
6. Vitamin C
In one study where participants were exposed to cold weather and extreme physical stress, participants who took Vitamin C were 50% less likely to get a cold. Vitamin C is not only good for boosting immunity but it also improves lung function in developing fetuses and newborns.
Garlic has been noted for centuries for its strengths against bodily illness. It’s reputed to be a detoxifier, antibacterial, antibiotic, and antiseptic. If you’re anti-“garlic breath,” simply cook or season your favorite dishes with a few cloves. The spice’s pregnancy pros? It may help to prevent preeclampsia and help underweight fetuses to pack on the pounds before birth.