Coughs and Colds in Pregnancy

Why get a flu shot?

  • Pregnant women who get the flu are at higher risk of hospitalization, and even death, than non-pregnant women.
  • Severe illness in the pregnant mother can also be dangerous to her fetus.
  •  When you get your flu shot, your body starts to make antibodies that help protect you and your baby against the flu.
  • Antibodies can be passed on to your unborn baby, and help protect the baby for up to six months after he or she is born.
  • The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, Health Canada and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all recommend a flu shot in pregnancy.

See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention flyer on why pregnant women need a flu shot. 

Wash your hands

Washing your hands with soap and water (or using an alcohol hand rub) is the most important method of preventing the spread of infection. This is why you will see all the staff washing their hands before and after caring for their patients. We encourage patients, families and visitors to also wash their hands frequently. 

wash your hands

Seasonal allergies

  • Avoid exposure to allergy triggers
  • Keep windows in your house and car closed when pollen and mold levels are high (spring and summer for pollen, late summer and fall for molds)
  • Chlorpheniramine (eg. Chlor-Tripolon), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), Ioratadine (Claritin) and cetirizine (Reactine) are first-line anti-histamines for the treatment of allergies during pregnancy


  • To help eliminate secretions, drink plenty of water
  • Dextromethorphan syrup (e.g. Benylin DM) can be used to relieve a dry cough
  • Most cough drops (e.g. Halls) are safe in pregnancy
  • Consult your family doctor if:
    • Your cough persists beyond seven (7) days 
    • It is a productive cough with greenish secretions 
    • You have a fever (over 38°C oral)
    • If you have trouble breathing/have wheezing
  • Avoid preparations containing pseudoephedrine
    • these are usually medications that say they will clear your sinuses Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure

Sore throat

  • Gargling with salt water for 15 seconds every hour may help relieve a sore throat
  • Lozenges (e.g. Halls) can be used
  • Acetominophen (e.g. Tylenol) can also relieve a sore throat
  • Consult your family doctor if:
    • Your symptoms are not improving after three days 
    • You have a fever (over 38°C oral)

Reasons to see your doctor

  • If your symptoms are not improving after three days
  • If you have a cough with greenish/yellow secretions
  •  If you have trouble breathing/have wheezing

Nasal congestion and cold

  • If it does not work, use a nasal spray decongestant such as xylometazoline (e.g. Otrivin) or oxymetazoline (e.g. Dristan) for a maximum of three (3) days. Extended use could aggravate your congestion.
  •  If the congestion persists beyond the period of treatment, consult your family doctor
woman with fever


  • Acetominophen (e.g. Tylenol) can help lower your fever
  • An oral temperature of 38 to 38.4°C should be evaluated by your care provider

Prevention is better than a cure!

You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.