When you’re expecting, your growing belly can make it difficult to take in full, deep breaths. And bronchitis, an inflammation of the lower respiratory tract, can make taking in deep breaths even harder. Bronchitis is inflammation of the airways that causes you to develop extra mucus. Acute bronchitis is most often caused by infection. It results in lots of coughing. You might also have a fever, sore throat, shortness of breath, chest pain, chills, and body aches. While you may not normally call your doctor for these symptoms, you have to be more careful during pregnancy. Now you’re living for two. Bronchitis is fairly common, especially during the winter months. Taking preventive steps is important to help you and your baby-to-be stay well.
What Is Bronchitis?
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the two largest airways that pass from the mouth to the lungs. The condition occurs due to the viral infection in the mucous membrane of the respiratory system, which generates more mucus and prevents self-purification of the bronchi. There are usually two forms of bronchitis – acute and chronic – with different symptoms and characteristics.
Bronchitis Symptoms During Pregnancy:
The initial symptoms of bronchitis include:
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Dry cough
- Drowsiness, weakness, irritability, and fatigue
- Loss of appetite
These first symptoms of bronchitis are similar to the symptoms of the first stage of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). The symptoms can be treated at home. Acute bronchitis with a typical flow lasts for 10 – 12 days, and if the symptoms do not subside within this time, it manifests into a chronic form.
You can also go for simple remedies that will help you feel better:
- Salt Water Gargle: Dissolve about one teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces of water and gargle with it. This will soothe your sore throat and also help you bring up mucus.
- Turmeric: The anti-inflammatory property of turmeric can come in handy when it comes to treating the cough that you get with bronchitis. Add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of milk, boil it, and drink up to soothe your throat and expectorate mucus.
- Lemon and Honey: A squeeze of lemon juice in a glass of warm water with some honey can work wonders for your throat. Lemon has flavonoids and vitamin C that can help you fight infection while honey is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties.
- Yogurt: Yogurt contains beneficial bacteria (known as probiotics) that can help improve your health. According to research probiotics may reduce both the severity of the symptoms of respiratory tract infections as well as how long they last.
- Steam Inhalation: Fill a wide rimmed pot with water and bring it to a boil. Then remove the pot from heat and once the water stops bubbling inhale the steam. A towel over your head and the pot will help to capture the steam. Five to ten minutes of steam can help to clear congestion.
Most women who develop bronchitis during pregnancy recover without any complications in the mother or the baby. However, pregnant women with bronchitis have an increased risk of developing severe bronchitis or pneumonia, compared to other adults. Although these complications are not common, it is important to be carefully monitored by a medical professional if you have bronchitis.