Pregnancy is a fantastic journey for both mother and baby. However, at every corner lurks the fear of infections that may harm your pregnancy and so you must proceed with caution. Pneumonia is one such infection that can be quite dangerous during pregnancy. It may require hospitalization if not treated in the early stages. Pneumonia may start as just a simple cough or cold and gradually progress into a full blown lung infection. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of pneumonia and to undertake treatment as soon as detected.
What causes pneumonia in pregnancy?
Pneumonia is an airway or respiratory infection. The most common cause is the bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae. However, viruses, fungi or other bacteria may also be responsible. Pregnancy results in physiologic changes in the body which makes pregnant women more susceptible to pneumonia infection. Pregnant women have immunity and hormonal changes in their body, making them prone to pneumonia.
Moreover, if a pregnant mother already suffers from asthma or other respiratory disease, she may be more prone to pneumonia during pregnancy. Mothers who smoke are prone to pneumonia during pregnancy.
How does pneumonia in pregnancy harm your baby?
Pneumonia during pregnancy can have adverse effects on the developing baby’s health. Pregnant mother’s babies may have low birth weight. They may also be born prematurely, or before their expected due date.
Pneumonia during Pregnancy: Symptoms, Treatment, Natural Remedies
Symptoms of pneumonia in pregnancy
The symptoms of pregnancy pneumonia include-
- Fever – Fever may be high and develop rapidly. It usually lasts for a week.
- Cough. The cough may be initially dry and then become productive, with sputum formation. Cough persists for 2 -3 weeks, even after fever subsides.
- Chest pain – This develops due to inflammation of the lungs and their lining.
- Chills – Shivering may accompany fever.
- Difficulty in breathing
- Bluish color of lips – This happens because of lack of oxygen supply to all parts of the body.
- Body aches and headache
- Sweating and clammy skin
- Loss of appetite
Treatment of pneumonia in pregnancy
A doctor will first confirm diagnosis of pneumonia by reviewing symptoms and may order laboratory investigations such as blood tests, sputum culture or chest radiographs. The treatment of pneumonia involves the use of antibiotics or anti viral drugs. These may be given intravenously or through oral route, depending on the infection. Anti pyretic drugs may also be prescribed for fever.
Natural remedies for pneumonia in pregnancy
There are a few ways by which you can cope with pneumonia if it develops during pregnancy. Of course, these remedies must be used in addition to treatment decided by your doctor. Read on for more information-
Drinking plenty of water is one of the best ways to compensate for dehydration and fever induced water loss.
Mixing a pinch or two of salt in lukewarm water and rinsing twice or thrice a day helps soothe the throat. This can be done as often as 4 -5 times day.
Honey is known universally for its soothing properties. It can be mixed in a glass of warm water to provide relief from cough and cold symptoms.
Drinking a cup of tea with ginger helps ease pneumonia symptoms. It can be brewed into tea with a bit of honey. Ginger has anti-inflammatory and anti bacterial properties.
Garlic is a natural antiseptic. Cloves of garlic can be crushed or eaten whole to derive benefit. Roasted garlic fumes may also be inhaled to help with decongestion.
Turmeric powder may be added to warmed milk and drunk. It contains anti inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
Sesame seeds (‘til’ in Hindi) can be boiled in water, and salt and honey added to taste. This mixture helps abate the symptoms of pneumonia.
Parsnip (‘chukander’ in Hindi) juice is quite effective in relieving the symptoms of pneumonia. Fresh juice may be used for this purpose.
Fenugreek seeds (‘methi’ in Hindi) can be added to tea and runk a few times a day, to help relieve cough and cold symptoms.
Several juices such as carrot juice, spinach juice, cucumber juice and beet juice may be consumed to help with pneumonia symptoms. These can be drunk on their own or in combination.
Massaging the chest and back with a few drops of peppermint oil or turpentine oil can bring relief in chest pain.
Inhaling steam in very beneficial in pneumonia as it helps reduce congestion and humidify the airway and sinuses. Just boil water in a pan and inhale steam or use a commercially available steam console.
Rest and recuperation
Above all, it is important to rest and allow your body to recover from pneumonia. The body needs time to recover from pneumonia through adequate rest and relaxation.
If pneumonia develops during pregnancy, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Adequate rest and fluids must be ensured to allow quick recovery from pneumonia. Follow the doctor’s advice regarding medication and do not stress out. A pregnant woman must take all precautions to ensure her own health and happiness, which in turn translate into health and happiness for her baby.
Stay informed, stay healthy!