Management of coughing episodes in pregnancy

While cough, a common symptom of cold periods, is easy to treat in adults, it requires special precautions during pregnancy. If it is infectious, it can lead to contractions and complications for the fetus. In addition, the usual treatments are often not recommended for pregnant women. Find out how to relieve a pregnant woman’s cough and when to consult a doctor.

During pregnancy, a productive (wet) cough that is not incapacitating should not be treated (unless it has an infectious origin). A dry cough should only be treated if it causes significant discomfort. The doctor will then choose a treatment adapted to the stage of pregnancy.

The cough itself is not a serious symptom, but it is important to pay attention to other signs, especially respiratory ones, especially in pregnant women. In most cases, it does not prevent the proper development of the pregnancy and only in very rare cases it causes contractions.


  1. What are the causes of cough in pregnant women?
  2. Questions and answers about cough in pregnancy
  3. How to calm a cough during pregnancy
  4. Treatment for dry cough
  5. Treatment of wet cough
  6. Natural treatments to be avoided by pregnant women


What are the causes of cough in pregnant women?

Hormonal changes can cause sinus blockage during pregnancy, so pregnant women can be more prone to sinusitis or coughs, which can be triggered by allergies or infections.

Questions and answers about cough in pregnancy

Does coughing cause contractions?

Coughing is a natural defense reflex to expel mucus or irritating substances from the respiratory tract. “In rare cases, it can cause contractions, but not labor. On the other hand, it can cause pain in the perineum, as a result of repeated jerks”, explains Suzanne Leroy, a midwife at one of the major hospitals in Paris.

You will have to be patient if the cough persists and do not hesitate to ask your doctor for advice if it becomes too painful.

Does coughing hurt the baby?

No, the baby is protected in the womb and will not be disturbed at all by coughing,” explains the midwife. At most, the baby will feel a slight rocking, but its movements also occur when the mother is active and performs daily tasks.

When should you worry about pregnant women’s cough?

“You should worry if you have a fever or breathing difficulties,” adds the midwife. It could be a cold, flu, bronchitis or an asthma attack.

If a simple cold does not improve 7-10 days after the onset of symptoms, a doctor must be consulted to ensure that there are no complications and, possibly, to find a treatment that will relieve the pregnant woman.

How to calm a cough during pregnancy

“Everything depends on what is causing the cough. You must consult your family doctor, who will assess whether you need medicines or antibiotics, syrup, treatment for reflux or just rest and herbal tea,” says Suzanne Leroy. The treatment is also different for dry cough and wet cough.

In all cases, it is advisable to sit up when lying down in bed, to avoid intensification of the cough.

Treatment for dry cough

To combat dry cough, it is important to keep yourself hydrated, drink more than 1.5 liters of water a day. You can also use natural remedies, such as making your own remedy with a cup of hot water, honey and lemon or simply drinking an herbal tea with a spoonful of honey and a squeeze of lemon.

In terms of nutrition, a chicken soup can stimulate the immune system and fight respiratory tract infections.

The heat also stimulates the irrigation of the mucous membranes in the throat and larynx.

Warnings and precautions

Please note that essential oils should not be used during pregnancy, except in exceptional circumstances. Starting with the fourth month of pregnancy, some can be allowed, such as lavender or chamomile, but it is always better to ask your doctor for advice before using them.

Certain herbs should also be avoided during this period, such as sage, licorice, ginseng, rosemary, thyme and mint.

Treatment of wet cough

According to specialist doctors, it is possible to administer to a pregnant woman a bronchial fluid such as acetylcysteine ​​or ambroxol to treat cough after the first trimester of pregnancy. These can be administered in the form of cough syrups. Be careful to choose a syrup authorized for use by pregnant women and ask your pharmacist for advice.

Note: as in the case of pregnancy, there are medicines whose use is not authorized during breastfeeding, so it is important to inform yourself in advance.

In all cases, if the symptoms are too bothersome or if you have a persistent cough, it is best to consult a health professional, who will take into account the stage of pregnancy to determine the appropriate treatment. In no case should you self-medicate, especially during pregnancy.

Natural treatments that should be avoided by pregnant women

Even the so-called natural treatments can have harmful effects on the development of the fetus. For example, essential oils rich in phenols, ketones or aldehydes are contraindicated during pregnancy. Also, certain herbal treatments, such as thyme, mint, ginseng, rosemary or sage, which are active against cough, should be avoided by pregnant women. Therefore, it is advisable to seek the advice of a health professional.



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