Helping mums-to-be stay healthy
It can be tricky to fight winter bugs when you're pregnant, as many medicines are off limits. Here are hints to help protect both you and baby during the cold season
While you're pregnant
Fight the flu
Getting the flu while pregnant carries a higher risk of complications and can be dangerous for an unborn baby. The HSE recommends all mums-to-be get the flu vaccination, however far along you are. The vaccine doesn't contain a live virus so it's suitable for pregnant mums. Arrange your vaccination as soon as you can as it takes a minimum of 14 days before you're protected – potentially longer.
Help prevent winter coughs and colds
Being pregnant can affect your immune system so you may be more susceptible to coughs and colds. You can support your health with a few simple tips, such as wrapping up warmly, using a hand sanitiser to help stop germs spreading and taking gentle exercise to help keep you fit. The HSE recommends you take 400 micrograms of folic acid each day while you're trying to get pregnant and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. It also recommends taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day during your pregnancy. You may choose to take a vitamin D supplement or get a good supply naturally from a well-balanced diet. Foods rich in vitamin D include eggs, meat, vitamin D fortified margarine, milk and breakfast cereal.
Help protect your skin
Pregnancy can make your skin more sensitive than normal so you may need to choose products suited to sensitive skin, including hand creams, foot lotions and lip balms. Consider using a nourishing SPF 15+ moisturiser for your face and apply a rich night cream before bed to help hydration. Exfoliate weekly using a mild formulation to help beat any flakiness. An intensive all-over body moisturiser will help restore elasticity to your skin and help keep it protected during the cold months.