Having a sore throat during pregnancy feels even worse than having a sore throat when not pregnant. Pregnancy can make treating a sore throat even harder because most treatments aren’t deemed pregnancy safe. There are so many things that you can’t take while pregnant including some homeopathic remedies.
That doesn’t mean you need or should be miserable. You want to be able to diagnosis and treat any potential illness during pregnancy. Thankfully, a sore throat is rarely an indicator that something else is seriously wrong with you. So, here is what you need to know about treating a sore throat while pregnant.
Everyone knows what a sore throat is! Sore throats can be mild with just a small feeling of irritation, like a scratch. Other times, a sore throat can be severe, limiting your ability to eat and drink, make eating and drinking difficult. The severity is based on the cause of the sore throat.
A few common signs of a sore throat are:
What Causes a Sore Throat During Pregnancy?
A sore throat can be used by several things from environmental irritants to your pregnancy hormones. Most problems in pregnancy can be blamed on pregnancy hormones; they can cause major problems in your life for those 40 weeks.
Here are some causes of a sore throat during pregnancy:
One of the most common causes of a sore throat is a bacterial infection, and you will probably need a prescription antibiotic to treat these. The most common type of bacterial throat infections is strep throat, which comes with a sore throat.
Most sore throats are caused by a virus, such as the common cold or the season flu. In most cases, antibiotics won’t work against viral infections, so you have to let viruses run their course, which typically takes 5 to 7 days. You’ll need to use comfort measure to make it through until the virus runs its course.
3. Postnasal Drip
If you’re stuffed up with mucus, you might have postnasal drip as well. It can cause mucus to drain down the back of your throat, irritating the lining. Most of the time, if you have postnasal drip, it’s due to a bacterial or viral infection of the sinuses, and the sore throat is just a secondary symptom.
4. Environmental Irritants
You might not realize it, but so many environmental factors can lead to the irritation of your throat and nasal passages, leading to discomfort. Environmental irritants include factors such as dry air, dust, pollen, and other allergens such as smoke and other chemicals. The best way to treat these issues are getting rid of the source of the irritation. If you have dry air issues in your home, a humidifier can add moisture to the air.
5. Pregnancy Hormones
Pregnancy hormones can cause oral issues such as dry mouth, excessive thirst, and a sore throat. Unfortunately, the problem with this is that you can’t do anything to change it. All you can do is work on increasing your comfort and decreasing the soreness.
6. Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is a problem that a lot of pregnant women face during pregnancy. The pregnancy hormone progesterone causes the muscle that connects the esophagus to loosen, allowing stomach acids to come back up into the esophagus. It creates a burning sensation that can also make you nauseous.
Acid reflux leads to many symptoms in your body, and a sore throat is a common one. It makes sense, since the stomach acids can burn your throat, leading to irritation.
Are Sore Throats an Early Sign of Pregnancy?
Some watch notice that they have a sore throat in the early first trimester of pregnancy, leaving you wondering if a sore throat is a sign of pregnancy. Most doctors believe that this happens because a pregnant woman’s body is too overwhelmed because of all the hormonal and physical changes that take place during early pregnancy. This makes it more likely for you to catch a virus or infection. Also, pregnancy tends to increase mucus production caused by postnasal drip and nasal congestion.
How to Safely Treat Sore Throats During Pregnancy
1. Check Your Temperature First
The first thing you should do is check to see if you have a fever as well as a sore throat. A fever is anything about 100 degrees, which might mean that there is a bacterial infection in your body, indicating that you need antibiotics.
Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol, so you can take the generic versions if you want. Make sure you use Tylenol sparingly, because it has links to problems with fetuses. While it is deemed safe for pregnancy, there is evidence that Tylenol may increase the risk of asthma and neurological disorders(source).
3. Hot Lemon Tea
Drinking the right amount of liquids can be difficult when you have a sore throat. Hot drinks are preferred during illnesses because they perform double duty. First, hot drinks are a source of hydration. At the same time, the temperature helps to thin out and loosen up the mucus that is irritating the back of your throat.
Many pregnant women love herbal teas because they don’t contain caffeine, so you don’t have to worry about consuming too much caffeine throughout the day. You have to save your daily allotted amount for that glorious first cup of coffee each morning.
Always make sure that you pick safe herbal teas. Some herbs, in certain quantities, might be harmful for your unborn baby. Always remember that the FDA doesn’t regulate herbs, and some doctors disagree about what is safe and what is not safe for pregnant. A quick check with your doctor lets you know if it’s safe or not.
4. Salt Water Rinses
Gargling with warm salt water is one of the best, natural treatments that won’t cost you a dime so long as you have some salt in your home. Warm salt water helps clear away irritants in your throat while loosening up the mucus. Salt is also soothing, drawing out any excess moisture.
All you have to do is add ½ teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water, but make sure it’s not hot. You don’t want to burn your already irritated throat. Take a sip, tilt your head back, and gargle, letting as much reach the back of your throat as possible. Gargle for a full minute and spit out the warm salt water.
5. Rest Often
Pregnancy suppresses your immune system, which means your body has to work harder to fight off bacteria and viruses. So, you have to work to help your immune system, which means resting often, giving your body the chance and energy to fight off the virus or bacteria.
6. Inhaling Steamy Air
Steam inhalation treats the symptoms of a sore throat, and it can help clear any nasal congestion. You do need to be careful not to knock it over and burn yourself; hot steam is dangerous. All you have to do is boil a pot of water, lean your head over the pot, and drape a towel over your head, creating a steamy environment.
7. Drinking Extra Fluids
Extra fluids can help coat and add moisture to your throat. It can be difficult to drink when you have a sore throat, so warm liquids is one of the most soothing options. Fluids help thin out the mucus in your throat, flush toxins, and hydrate your membranes.
Ginger or chamomile hot tea are good choices, but drinking water is important. Doctors also recommend warm soup, fruit juices, and teas. Another way that you can moisturizer your throat is to suck on some hard candy. Drink as much as you can to help coat your throat.
8. Avoid Fizzy Drinks
Avoid cold and fizzy drinks if you have a sore throat or a throat infection. These drinks can aggravate your throat. Stick to teas, water, and fruit juices, but some juice might disturb your throat as well because of the acid. For example, lemonade might be delicious, but it will burn your throat.
Honey is one of the classic choices for safely treating a sore throat. Honey is known for its antibacterial properties, so add some honey to your tea. You can also take a teaspoon of honey as well, letting it slide down and soothe your irritating throat. Honey can soothe the rawness and help to reduce congestion.
If your sore throat is caused by acid reflux, then you need to take some antacids, which are safe to use in pregnancy. Be sure to pick ones that contain calcium carbonate rather than sodium bicarbonate.
Are Cough Drops and Throat Sprays Safe During Pregnancy?
There are some disagreements about whether or not cough drops and throat sprays are safe during pregnancy. For the most part, doctors agree that cough drops and throat sprays are safe for pregnancy, so feel free to use them to get some relief from your sore throat.
Some of them have menthol, which tend to be the most relieving and helps to relieve other cold symptoms. Throat sprays are antiseptic, so they numb your throat from the pain and discomfort.
If you don’t need a cough drop that cure multiple symptoms, pick a single-use lozenge that is only meant to soothe the throat. However, avoid those zinc lozenges unless your doctor indicates otherwise.
What to Avoid During Pregnancy
Unfortunately, pregnancy means that you’re pretty limited when it comes to what you’re able to take. Here are some things you need to avoid during pregnancy.
Prenatal vitamins often include zinc, so you have to be careful not to take too much. Always discuss with your doctor about how much zinc you should take, or if you should avoid it entirely.
Now, vitamin C is safe during pregnancy, but the problem comes when a pregnant women takes too much vitamin C. An excess of vitamin C is linked to premature births, so be sure to calculate how much vitamin C is in your prenatal vitamins before you take any extra.
Watch Out for Strep Throat!
Sore throat is a bacterial infection that is contagious and painful. The most noticeable sign of strep throat is the a white coating or white spots on the back of the throat accompanied by a high fever. You will need to go to the doctor’s office to have a culture to determine if its truly strep throat.
Strep throat is typically treated with antibiotics, so you need to visit your doctor to get a prescription. Strep throats can lead to complications such as kidney issues and rheumatic fever. You don’t want to mess around; get to the doctors!
When Should You Seek a Doctor
Luckily, a sore throat is typically not dangerous during pregnancy. It comes along with many illnesses and ailments as a secondary symptom. Serious complications aren’t common, but you do need to watch for strep throat.
However, just because a sore throat isn’t dangerous doesn’t mean that there isn’t times when you should seek a doctor. Give the doctor a ring if you experience any of these symptoms:
Always contact your doctor if you have a fever of 100 degrees or higher, especially if the fever comes on several days after your sore throat starts. This might be an indicator of a bacterial infection that needs antibiotics, and a prolonged elevated temperature can be dangerous for your baby.
In some rare circumstances, a sore throat comes along with a skin rash, and you need to contact your doctor. You might need to talk to a doctor to see if medical treatment is necessary.
3. Suspected Flu
If you realize that you not only have a sore throat, but chills and feeling terrible overall, it could be the flu. The flu can be dangerous for a pregnant women, but there are some antiviral drugs that might work with certain types of influenza. If you suspect that you have the flu, make sure you head to the doctor right away!
Wrapping It Up
Sore throats are uncomfortable during pregnancy, but they rarely are serious. Most of the time, a sore throat is just a virus or an environmental irritant. Either way, you just need to use some natural remedies to ease the discomfort and wait for it to go away.
What is your favorite way to safely treat a sore throat while pregnant? Let us know in the comments.