How to Handle Being Sick While You’re Pregnant
Is there anything worse than being sick while you're pregnant? I will never forget the time when I was pregnant with my third child and I had spent days literally running puking kids back and forth in my house in (mostly vain) attempts to catch some of their vomit in the toilet. I had cleaned puke from between couch springs, off of eyebrows, and – in one horrific instance – in the tiny holes of the safety rail on my toddler's bed. (Side note: puke never truly comes off of those things, so if this happens to you, you might want to consider tossing it out!)
I was overwhelmed and exhausted, and just when I thought I couldn't take any more, I remembered that I was on call that day for my job as a nurse. I said a silent prayer that I wouldn't get called in that night of all nights. Then, exactly one hour later, my phone rang at the precise time that my stomach churned and I was forced to sprint/waddle to the toilet, where I proceeded to empty all the contents of my digestive system. My husband answered the phone for me, trying to explain to my supervisor that I was really sick, but of course, they thought I was faking it. I was written up and then had to feel guilty on top of trying to survive the stomach bug with two sick toddlers.
Good times, huh?
The point is, it can feel completely overwhelming to get sick while you're pregnant. Not only are you already dealing with the aches and pains and sometimes literal sickness of being pregnant already, but then to add in an actual sickness and it feels like too much. Even a minor cold can feel overwhelming when you're pregnant. Oh, and fun fact: did you know that your immune system actually goes down when you're pregnant? It's like we just can't win! Except for the whole baby at the end part, of course. If you're currently dealing with being sick while you're pregnant or just want to be prepared for when illness strikes, here's what you need to know about being sick during pregnancy.
What medications can you take while you're pregnant?
You should always check with your doctor before taking any medication during pregnancy because it really depends on what's happening with you, if you have any other medical conditions, and what stage of your pregnancy you are in. In general, however, for aches and pains or a fever, the only “safe” medicine for pregnant women is acetaminophen or Tylenol, but you should know that it is a medicine that does cross the placenta.
Because it's unethical to test medicine on pregnant women, no drug can truly be tested and verified to be 100% safe during pregnancy, which is why medical experts will always exercise caution about using medications during pregnancy. Also, every woman and fetus is different, so two different pregnant women taking the same medication during their pregnancies could have two different outcomes. You can see a more complete list of how medications are classified for use during pregnancy and talk to your doctor before taking anything.
When should you see a doctor?
Anytime you have a fever during your pregnancy, you should see a doctor. A fever could potentially be dangerous to your developing baby, as it raises your internal temperature and it could lead to serious complications, such as premature contractions and labor. Also, if the fever is the result of a bacterial infection, it could be simple to treat with antibiotics, so there is no reason to delay treatment. And of course, anytime you are having premature contractions, feel like your baby isn't moving as much, or experience back pain, bleeding, or your water breaking, you should see a doctor ASAP.
How can you get the rest you need?
This one is a tough one. All of the times I have been sick while being pregnant have also been times when my other children were also sick, so it wasn't like I could just ship them away to a friend's house or knowingly invite a young sitter to come over and get infected, too. The majority of the time, I had to just get through it and thank the Lord for Netflix. If you can get help, definitely take it and if you're not able to get any help, just know that you are truly not alone — there are a lot of us moms out there who know what you are going through. Being sick while pregnant is rough and when the sickness has passed, you definitely deserve a break, so start dreaming up your escape plan now, even if it's just for an hour.
How do you cope with being sick while pregnant?