Although a mother-to-be and her unborn child share many things during pregnancy, the common cold is not one of them. Common cold viruses typically pose no threat to a developing baby in the womb. Mother, however, is more prone to catch a cold during pregnancy, and symptoms are likely to last longer and be more intense. Even though a cold does not directly harm the baby during pregnancy, it’s important for mothers-to-be with a cold to be vigilant for symptoms that might signal a potentially more serious illness.
Cold and Pregnancy
The viruses that cause the common cold are not transmitted from the mother’s to the baby’s bloodstream. As such, the baby cannot be infected when the mother has a cold. Even though a cold is typically not dangerous to an otherwise healthy pregnant woman or her baby, it can sometimes lead to complications for the mother that might affect the baby. For example, a cold can lead to an asthma flareup or the development of pneumonia in the mom. A pregnant woman's immune system is somewhat suppressed, which is why infectious complications might develop and cold symptoms are likely to be more intense during pregnancy.
Warnings and Precautions
If you're pregnant and have a cold, and your symptoms worsen or do not improve, it is important to seek medical help to rule out a more severe illness or complication. Call your doctor if you experience:
-- A fever greater than 100 F.
-- Severe sore throat.
-- Persistent vomiting.
-- Yellow or green phlegm.
-- Trouble breathing.
-- Chest pain.
-- Body aches or headache.
-- Extreme fatigue.
Check with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter or prescription medications as some drugs may not be safe during pregnancy.
- University of Michigan Health Center: Colds and Flu During Pregnancy
- Cleveland Clinic: Colds & Pregnancy
- WomensHealth.gov: Pregnancy Complications
- Congenital Abnormalities and Preterm Birth Related to Maternal Illness During Pregnancy; Nandor Acs, M.D., Ph.D., et al.
- The 5-Minute Consult Clinical Companion to Women’s Health, Second Edition; Kelly A. McGarry, M.D., FACP, and Iris L. Tong, M.D., FACP