When you are pregnant, your immune system is naturally decreased to accommodate the growing baby. However, when the cold and flu season arrives, this can be a potentially bad combination. Help keep you and your unborn baby safe this winter by naturally boosting your immune system and taking these steps to stay healthy.
As long as your health care provider says it is safe for you to exercise during your pregnancy, you should try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days. Researchers believe exercise helps boost immunity through a few different ways. First, a temporary rise in body temperature may help to prevent bacterial growth. Second, antibodies and white blood cells are released more quickly into the blood stream when you exercise, which may allow the body to detect illness earlier. Also, exercise is a natural stress reliever, which decreases our chance of developing an illness.
Staying properly hydrated helps your body function at an optimal level. Support the work of your immune system by drinking water every day during your pregnancy. You should aim for about eight glasses of water a day – eight ounces each. If you have questions regarding if you are getting enough water, contact your health care provider.
Researchers are still learning how sleep impacts our immunity, but they do know that a lack of sleep can impair our immune system and put us at an added risk for getting sick. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and wake around the same time every morning to help regulate your sleep patterns. Yes, sleep during pregnancy changes as the pregnancy develops – from waking up several times a night to tossing and turning to get comfortable. Try using body pillows to position yourself comfortably in bed and make sure to use the bathroom before going to bed.
While it is safe to take some vitamin C supplements during pregnancy, it is recommended to get a daily intake of the vitamin through a variety of foods like strawberries, bell peppers and orange juice as opposed to taking an extra supplement. Keep in mind, you are also getting a supplement of vitamin C in your daily prenatal vitamin.
One clove of garlic is powerful enough to combat bacteria and infection with 5 mg of calcium, 12 mg of potassium and more than 100 sulfuric compounds. It is most powerful raw. Try adding at least one clove to a meal each day to give your body that added kick to fight the cold and flu (then pass the breath mints).
In addition to these tips, make sure to wash your hands often and avoid direct contact with anyone who is sick. Illness during pregnancy usually does not affect the baby, but can be serious and lead to complications like preterm labor. If you are not feeling well or experiencing cold or flu symptoms, contact your health care provider.