Bronchitis can be dangerous when you are pregnant. The symptoms of bronchitis can cause fatigue and divert your energy away from your growing fetus. If you are pregnant, it is important to be proactive about staying healthy. By following a few preventive tips, you may be able to avoid illnesses like bronchitis and give your baby the best possible start in life. Consult with your doctor if you have any symptoms of bronchitis. Your doctor is best suited to care for you during your pregnancy.
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes that carry air into your lungs. This inflammation can cause irritation and the production of thick mucus. The mucus production can make it difficult and painful to breathe. Other symptoms include cough, fatigue, fever and chest pain. According to Dr. Steven E. Weinberger in “Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine," “In viral bronchitis, airway inflammation may produce a cough persisting for weeks.” The constant coughing can be exhausting for you and stressful to the fetus.
Bronchitis is usually caused by the same viruses that are responsible for colds and flu. Some of the more common virus culprits are rhinoviruses, coronaviruses and parainfluenza viruses. If you are a smoker, your bronchi may already be damaged and predispose you to catching these viral infections. Cigarette smoke and other environmental lung irritants like noxious fumes can aggravate existing inflammation and trigger the symptoms of acute bronchitis.
Because bronchitis is usually caused by a virus, antibiotics will not help. Some home remedies can alleviate your symptoms without taking medications that may be harmful to your fetus. By getting more rest, you will support your immune system’s response to eliminate the virus. Drink plenty of fluids. Hydrate yourself with non-caffeinated fluids such as water, juices and soups. Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee and tea, can act as diuretics and dehydrate you. Breathe warm moist air like the steam from a shower or humidifier. This can loosen the mucus and relieve your cough.
Being proactive about your health during your pregnancy will give your baby a healthy start in life. Stay away from people who are sick. Washing your hands frequently with soap and water can reduce your risk of catching a viral infection. If you cannot wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to reduce the number of germs on your skin. Avoid all irritating substances, like cigarette smoke, paint fumes and household cleaners that produce irritating smells, as these can all aggravate the lining of your bronchi and predispose you to a viral infection.
- Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine 17th ed.; Anthony S. Fauci et al.
- American Family Physician: Treatment of Bronchitis
- MayoClinic.com: Bronchitis
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Wash Your Hands