Can you use Vicks while pregnant? If you’re an expectant mom, there is a good chance that you already wondered about the answer to this question. It usually comes after getting advice on how not to take any medication without expert advice.
While it is true that you shouldn’t take over-the-counter drugs carelessly, you should still get a certain level of treatment if you experience coughs, colds, and other illnesses during gestation.
After all, your life is not the only one at risk if you do know that your body is nurturing another person.
Although your safest bet is to consult your obstetrician or gynecologist, there’s no harm in reading books or researching online about the matter on your own, so long as you can filter and categorize information properly.
Also, most doctors encourage women to avoid diagnosing their symptoms online.
Can You Use Vicks While Pregnant?
Vicks VapoRub is arguably one of the most popular home remedies for stuffy nose, coughs, and even headaches.
This mentholated topical ointment is an over-the-counter medication that contains eucalyptus oil and camphor— both of which are known for their cough suppressing properties.
Although the product has a controversial background, many people — pregnant women included — use this ointment as a first-aid treatment for coughs and colds. However, popularity shouldn’t be the sole basis for your decision to use such medicated ointments.
In fact, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) warned that not all “natural” treatment is safe for pregnant women and their unborn children, explaining that some of these famous medications may contain harmful chemicals like lead.
Research published in the Open Journal of Respiratory Diseases noted the effectiveness of the product in providing immediate relief from nasal de-congestion when used as directed.
However, it also stated that they should exclude potentially pregnant women and lactating mothers who wished to participate in the study.
Given the benefit of the doubt, Vicks may be used while pregnant so long as a doctor or licensed medical practitioner recommended it.
Why Women Get Colds More Often When Pregnant
When a woman conceives, her immune system is suppressed, according to the American Pregnancy Association (APA). Call it motherly sacrifice, if you may.
Upon implantation of the embryo, the body adjusts to accommodate the growing, foreign organism which we know as the fetus.
The reason is that the mother’s body produces more progesterone that helps regulate the immune cells into “tolerating” the foreign body.
In this biochemical reaction, the pregnant woman is left susceptible to bacteria and viruses that are the potential cause of colds, coughs, and flu during gestation.
How to Know What Medicines are Safe for Pregnant Women?
Although it doesn’t directly affect the baby in most cases, colds during pregnancy still pose a certain level of risk for your little one.
A study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology revealed that the child is more likely to develop asthma if his or her mother experienced colds during gestation.
Because of this, you should always make sure that you get proper care and treatment for your little one’s sake.
The NHS strongly recommends checking with a licensed medical practitioner, such as doctors, midwives, and pharmacists, before taking any medication. Doctors must also recommend over-the-counter drugs before a pregnant woman’s intake.
Also, it wouldn’t hurt to read literature about medications that you are going to consume. Information is readily available, thanks to the Internet. All you need to do is read and digest it well.
Other Natural and Homeopathic Remedies You Can Try
If you’re expecting, you should always have healthy habits, especially on resting, hydration, eating, and supplementation.
1. Take lots of rest. Nothing helps the body build its defenses better than a good night’s rest. Be sure to sleep enough and avoid overstraining yourself in work or at home.
2. Stay hydrated. Water therapy is still the safest option for colds and coughs during pregnancy as it is guaranteed to be safe for both you and your baby.
3. Eat healthily. A healthy, balanced diet should also be among your top priorities when pregnant. Since you are eating for two, you should be more careful with your food choices.
Remember that everything you consume transfers to your child as well.
4. Take your vitamins regularly. Vitamins and minerals have ideal levels that need to be reached for any regular adult.
Pregnant women may need more than what a typical adult would which is why doctors recommend supplementing certain nutrients to keep her and her unborn child healthy.
5. Wash your hands religiously. Doing so will help protect you from germs that cause colds and flu.
Aside from traditional medicine and the best practices mentioned above, there are several natural and homeopathic remedies that you can try to alleviate the discomfort from coughs and colds.
6. You can reduce congestion by using a humidifier inside your bedroom to keep the air moist, especially when the air conditioning unit switched on.
7. You may also use nasal strips or drops to clear your nasal cavity.
8. Try to elevate your head with the help of multiple pillows while sleeping to help you breathe better.
9. To ease a sore throat, you can gargle with a warm saline mixture (water and salt)
10. Most homeopathic experts recommend honey with lemon to help relieve itchy throat and reduce coughing.
11. You can try drinking warm tea or chicken soup. The warmth will help ease your decongestion.
When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention
So, can you use Vicks while pregnant? Although most coughs and colds can be treated with simple remedies that can be done at home, there are instances when a pregnant woman may need to be rushed to the ER.
While these may be rare, it is imperative that you know that it is time to seek immediate medical attention when you have influenza or a temperature of over 102 degrees even after taking medication.
You should also head to the nearest hospital if you’re having trouble breathing and feel contractions or bleed due to excessive coughing.
Remember that presence of mind and knowledge will be your best chance at saving yourself and your baby.