How can pregnant and postpartum women boost immunity during cold and flu season?

Posted on October 8, 2017 by SCV Birth Center

For pregnant women or postpartum mothers, cold and flu season can bring about some extra anxiety. That’s because there are few things more uncomfortable than coming down with an illness when your body is already working extra hard either to grow or feed your baby. But there is also the fear that your newborn will contract the sickness, too, which for us as parents, can be quite scary, not to mention downright miserable for your new baby.

 

While some of us may take the approach of going above and beyond in order to keep our immunity up by taking tons of extra vitamins, getting in extra workouts, sometimes that approach can be quite taxing on the body, as well. We suggest that it’s better to have a well-laid plan instead of throwing everything you can at your body all at once, then likely, falling off the wagon altogether.

 

Here are a few tried and true methods to keep your immunity up (without going overboard).

 
  1. Increase your vitamin D3. When a mother is expecting, we always check vitamin D3 levels. Often we find that most of us are deficient. It is extremely important during pregnancy, but also, at any time in order to stay well. During pregnancy, 5,000 IUs are recommended daily. For infants, you can rub one drop of liquid vitamin D, which we sell here, on nipples before your baby nurses.

  2. Take probiotics daily. There are so many different kinds of probiotics on the market that it can be hard to determine which one to take. What you’re looking for is how many CFUs the probiotic has. 15 billion per serving is the ideal number along with two to four different strains of bacteria. For kids who can’t swallow pills yet, you can open capsules and mix some in their food or your baby’s breast milk. Fermented food can be a great way to keep your gut healthy, too, which is extra important for pregnant mamas.

  3. Decrease your sugar intake. Excess sugar can take a toll on your immunity. While a little here and there likely won’t throw you off balance, especially during cold and flu season, trying to lower your intake will go a long way in helping you avoid getting sick. Stay away from fruit juices, as well as other common sweet, sugary snacks, as best you can.

  4. Increase your Vitamin C. Increasing your vitamin C is easy to do. It can be taken a variety of ways and found in a variety of foods, too. There are chewable tablets, drinks such as EmergencyC, and plenty more options. Plus, vitamin C is water soluable so it’s hard to overdo it.

  5. Drink elderberry syrup. Elderberry is extremely useful for immunity and upper respiratory health. It’s yummy, and we sell it here! So pick some up this cold and flu season.

  6. Rinse nasal passages with a saline flush. While it might be hard to get kids to rinse their nasal passages, it can be a great method for clearing out allergens. Use a simple saline flush 2-3 times a week.

  7. Take echinacea. While you probably don’t need to take this herb on the regular, echinacea is a good idea if you think you or your child are about to get sick. It’s especially useful if you or your child are going to be somewhere, like a big birthday party, where they may be exposed to a lot of germs. At this point, load them up.

  8. T-dap vaccine for pregnant women. While vaccines are a highly personal choice, especially during pregnancy, the recommendation in the U.S. is that women receive the T-dap vaccine during the third trimester. The most important part is the P, which stands for pertussis, otherwise know as whooping cough because the theory is that this will protect newborns from pertussis, a dangerous illness for an infant.

 

Aside from what you put in your body, simply washing hands and getting enough rest (especially if you’re expecting) can go along way. Plus, we all know stress can do a number on the body and lower immunity. So simply getting out in the cool evening air for an intentional walk can do wonders for your spirits and your immune system. Here’s to staying healthy this cold and flu season. Good luck out there, mamas!