A pregnant woman is not any more or less immune than another person when it comes to catching a cold or the flu. The University of Michigan Health System explains that a woman's immune system is different during pregnancy leading her to have longer-lasting symptoms with a cold or the flu. Overall, the symptoms of these viral illnesses are the same during pregnancy as they would be in any other individual.
Nasal stuffiness, also called congestion, is a common symptom in both the flu and the cold. Pregnant women tend to have some nasal stuffiness throughout the pregnancy due to the way hormones effect the nasal passages, states the University of Michigan Health System. When no other symptoms exist besides congestion, a pregnant woman probably doesn't have an illness.
A fever may develop with the flu or the cold. Women who have a fever over 101 degrees should contact a health care professional. Often, a tepid bath or taking an over-the-counter fever-reducer, such as acetaminophen, can reduce the body temperature. When these methods are ineffective, a pregnant woman should seek medical advice.
Both illnesses can cause coughing. When the cough brings up green or yellow mucus the pregnant woman should seek medical attention. Treatment of the cough should only include home remedies, such as tea or honey, unless otherwise indicated by a health care professional. In addition to coughing, a woman may experience a sore throat.
Other Respiratory Effects
Chest pain, wheezing, sneezing and shortness of breath can occur with the flu. This can lead to serious complications in some women, especially those who have asthma as well. When pregnant women struggle to breathe or have persistent chest pain medical attention is necessary.
The flu can cause nausea, vomiting and sometimes diarrhea. This is generally mild but a pregnant woman should continue her fluid intake to prevent dehydration, which can have an adverse effect on the pregnancy, such as preterm contractions. If such abdominal effects last over 24 hours, the pregnant woman should seek medical attention.
Various body aches and pains can occur with the flu or the cold. The University of Maryland Medical Center points out that a headache is not common with the cold but it is almost always present with the flu. The cold also doesn't cause many body aches or pains but the flu does cause significant muscle aches.
Both the cold and the flu can cause fatigue, exhaustion and weakness. These symptoms are significant and last two to three weeks with the flu but are generally mild in the cold, suggests the University of Maryland Medical Center.