Cold and Flu Season and the Pregnant and/or Breastfeeding Family

Cold and flu season takes its toll on all families but it seems to hit pregnant families the hardest.  When a pregnant person is dealing with broken sleep, a decreased immune system (so the “foreign genes” of a baby won’t be rejected!) and low vitamin D levels from lack of sun, the chance of illness increases.  Below are some of Origin Birth and Health’s favorite recommendations to get healthy and stay healthy in the winter months.

Generalized Health Recommendations

Food-Based Prenatal:  My favorite is either the Smarty Pants brand (for those needing methyl folate) or the Rainbow Light Prenatal One a Day.  Both are easy to absorb and won’t break the bank.

Fish Oil:  Omega 3 fatty acids/DHA are instrumental in promoting immune system health, cardiovascular health and fetal brain development.  Take 1000-2000 mg each day.  There are many brands at the healthy food store, but Consumer Reports states that the Costco/Kirkland brand is pure and reasonably priced.  Nordic Naturals is more expensive but sustainably sourced.  Algae forms are great for vegetarians but much more expensive.

Vitamin D:  The Canadian government recommends 2000 mg for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.  During the Colorado winter, I would recommend 2000-5000 daily to get your vitamin D levels above deficiency.  Just about every woman that I test is deficient in vitamin D and only a couple in recent memory had levels above 40 (deficiency is below 30).  Vitamin D is used by macrophages to gobble up bacteria and viruses.  Low vitamin D levels are prevalent in autoimmune diseases.

Diet:  Whole foods, “slow carb” diet with 60-80 grams of protein daily.  Eat the rainbow every single day!  Stay away from sugar and large amounts of grain.  Also, drinking 3-4 liters of water daily keeps mucous membranes in the mouth and nose moist and more able to fend off bacteria and viruses at the point of entry into the body.

Complementary Therapies:  Chiropractic care and acupuncture can be helpful in generalized wellness.  Also, keep a neti pot or Neil Med sinus rinser in your shower--and use it daily!  There are many essential oils that are great as immune boosters--Lemon and Thyme being my favorite.  Add drops of each to a diffuser and keep on in the house.  

Immune Boosting Supplements Safe for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Elderberry extract:  Antiviral supplement that can be taken daily throughout the winter months or more frequently when actually sick.

Immune Boost for Pregnancy:  Tincture by Wishgarden Herbs.  Take 1-2 dropperfuls 3-5 times a day.

Ginger, Honey, Lemon Tea:  Chop a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger and simmer for 20 min in a medium saucepan (with 1 liter/32 oz of water).  Juice one lemon when done simmering and add to the ginger tea.  Add honey to taste and drink the entire liter!

Mushroom Extract: Tinctures and/or broths of Reishi, Shitake, Cordyceps, Maitake, Oyster, Cremini all have immune boosting properties.  A brand called Host Defense Stamets 7 is a great way to get your mushrooms in tincture form.

OTC Medications:  Please check with your provider if you are not with Origin Birth and Health.

Fever and body aches:  Tylenol as directed

Cough:  Robitussin DM, Ricolla cough drops, Vics Vapor Rub on the chest at bedtime

Rest Rest Rest.  Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate!!  Be well!




Tracy Ryan