Sore Throat During Pregnancy: Causes & Home Remedies
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The fluctuating weather conditions can significantly impact your well-being, particularly when expecting. Managing common discomforts like a sore throat becomes more challenging during pregnancy, as the concern for your baby’s health may limit conventional treatment options. This article delves deeper into the intricacies of dealing with a sore throat while pregnant and explores alternative approaches for relief. Discover insightful tips and precautions to safeguard both your health and that of your unborn child, ensuring a smoother journey through this delicate phase of life. Take proactive steps to address health issues and enhance your pregnancy experience. Read this article to know more about having a sore throat during pregnancy and ways to tackle it.
What Is a Sore Throat During Pregnancy?
The pharynx is located at the back of the throat. The inflammation of the pharynx, also known as pharyngitis, is known as a sore throat. If your throat becomes inflamed and red and if you experience trouble swallowing or breathing, it is an indication that you may be developing a sore throat. A sore throat usually is not a cause for concern during pregnancy, and it subsides within a few days.
Causes of a Sore Throat When Pregnant
The common causes of a sore throat during pregnancy can be:
- Viral infection
- Bacterial infection
However, some other causes of a sore throat are as follows:
- Allergic reaction
- Acid reflux
- Fungal infection
- Strained throat muscles
- Pollutants or chemicals
- Pregnancy hormones
- Postnatal drips
Signs and Symptoms
In case you are experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms during pregnancy, you may be suffering from a sore throat.
- Your tonsils are red and swollen
- You have severe pain in your throat
- You’re experiencing a lack of energy
- You have a headache
- You have a poor appetite
- You have a fever
- You notice white spots on your throat
- You’re experiencing difficulty breathing
- You have a swollen neck
- You’re experiencing difficulty in eating and swallowing
- You have enlarged lymph nodes
- You have persistent coughing
- You have nasal congestion
- You have hoarseness
- You have persistent and worsening discomfort
Tips to Take Care of a Sore Throat During Pregnancy
The following tips may help provide relief from a sore throat during pregnancy:
- You may be prone to illness during pregnancy, so it is advised that you take ample rest during this time. It will help your body heal faster.
- Eat home-cooked meals that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Try to eat as much warm/hot food as possible.
- Keep yourself hydrated and drink ample fluids.
- Do not consume any food items that may have preservatives in them as they may aggravate your condition.
- Do not consume cold, aerated or fizzy drinks.
- Consume warm beverages such as soups, herbal teas, etc.
- Steam inhalation helps relieve symptoms of a sore throat.
- Do not share your towel, utensils, and other such personal belongings as you may end up spreading the infection to others.
- Wash your hands after you sneeze or a cough to get rid of germs.
- Gargle with warm saline water 3 to 4 times a day. This will also relieve the symptoms of a sore throat.
There are various sore throat pregnancy treatment options. Some of those that your doctor may consider for the treatment of a sore throat are:
- If you have a sore throat because of a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe you some antibiotics.
- You may be given cough drops, throat sprays, or cough syrup to reduce the inflammation.
- If you have a sore throat because of acid reflux, your doctor may prescribe antacids. Do not take over-the-counter medicines to treat a sore throat during pregnancy and seek medical help.
The best way to combat any infection or disease during pregnancy is through prevention. Your immunity strength is affected during pregnancy, and this easily increases your chances of catching various infections like a sore throat. However, the following preventive measures may help:
- Do not come in close contact with a person who already has a sore throat.
- Stay hydrated, as it will save you from catching infections during pregnancy.
- Always wash your hands after using public washrooms.
- Boost your immune system with a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals.
- Practice good respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Consider using a humidifier in your living space to maintain optimal humidity levels, reducing the risk of throat irritation.
Home Remedies for a Sore Throat during Pregnancy
Home remedies work wonders in treating a sore throat, and you may want to consider this option because you may not want to pop unnecessary medicines during pregnancy. Here are some age-old and effective home remedial measures that may provide relief from the symptoms of a sore throat in the early and later stages of pregnancy:
1. Honey and Lemon Tea
Honey and lemon tea is beneficial in battling the symptoms of a sore throat. Honey soothes your throat and lemon helps in breaking down mucus that causes a sore throat (1). You can drink this tea 2-3 times a day. You can add honey and lemon juice in a cup of warm water, let it come to room temperature and then drink. However, ensure that you do not consume raw honey.
2. Salt Water Gargles
Gargling with salt water is one of the best ways of treating a sore throat. This may also be recommended by your doctor. Warm water with salt even helps in hydrating the membranes of your throat. Take a glass of warm water and put half a teaspoon of salt in it. Gargle with this warm salt water a few times a day.
3. Steam Inhalation
Steam inhalation effectively treats the symptoms of a sore throat. Steam inhalation also helps clear any nasal congestion (2). Just remember to be extremely careful while using this remedy as the hot water can scald you in case an accident occurs.
Staying hydrated helps in combating infection. Drinking adequate water helps in thinning the mucus and flushing it out from the body. You can even drink herbal teas or soups to keep your body hydrated.
5. Ginger Tea
Ginger is loaded with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and is very effective in treating a sore throat in third trimester. Add grated ginger to a cup of boiling water and allow it to boil for a few minutes. Strain and let it cool down. You may add honey for sweetness.
6. Chamomile Tea
Eating candy increases saliva formation, which in turn helps in cleansing the throat (4). Your doctor may recommend some cough drops to ease the pain, but make sure to buy non-alcoholic ones.
When to Consult the Doctor?
The duration of a viral sore throat infection typically diminishes within a week. Nevertheless, it is advisable to consult a physician if any of the subsequent signs manifest:
- If the sore throat persists beyond a week.
- The onset of a fever accompanies the sore throat.
- If you experience difficulty in breathing.
- The sore throat emerges suddenly, accompanied by difficulty in swallowing.
- Home remedies prove ineffective in alleviating the symptoms.
1. How Long Do Sore Throats Last During Pregnancy?
The duration of a sore throat during pregnancy first trimester and even second trimester and third, varies but typically lasts around a week.
2. Is Sore Throat Dangerous in Pregnancy?
In most cases, a sore throat is not dangerous during pregnancy. However, if symptoms are severe or persistent, seeking medical advice is crucial to rule out any potential complications.
3. Can Sore Throat Harm Your Baby While Pregnant?
Generally, a common sore throat is unlikely to harm the baby. However, persistent or severe symptoms may warrant medical attention to ensure both maternal and fetal well-being.
Now that you know all about sore throat and pregnancy, do know that a sore throat is not a serious illness during pregnancy and you need not worry. However, do not take it lightly. Get immediate medical assistance once you register the symptoms of this infection.
1. Sultana. S, Khan. A, Safhi. M, Alhazmi. H; Cough Suppressant Herbal Drugs: A Review; International Journal of Pharmaceutical Science Invention; https://www.ijpsi.org/Papers/Vol5(5)/D0505015028.pdf; August 2016
2. Common cold in pregnancy and breastfeeding; The Royal Hospital for Women; https://www.seslhd.health.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/migration/Mothersafe/documents/Colds.pdf
3. Srivastava. J, Shankar. E, Gupta. S; Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future; National Library of Medicine; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/; February 2011
4. Which over-the-counter cold medications are safe during pregnancy?; UT Southwestern Medical Center; https://utswmed.org/medblog/otc-cold-medication-safe-pregnancy/
5. Strep Throat During Pregnancy; American Pregnancy Association; https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-concerns/strep-throat-during-pregnancy/
6. Sore Throat; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/sore-throat.html
7. Sore Throats; American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery; https://www.enthealth.org/conditions/sore-throats/