Pregnant women should take utmost care to avoid infections during pregnancy. Excessive use of medication can be harmful for both the mother and the baby. Moreover, pregnancy may weaken the immune system of the woman. Throat infection during pregnancy can be viral or bacterial. Antibiotics are prescribed for bacterial infections, as they kill the bacteria and don't allow them to spread. Without antibiotics, the woman is contagious for a longer period and may herself suffer from serious health complications.
Strep Throat and Pregnancy
Experiencing strep throat during pregnancy is very common. Prompt and proper treatment is essential to get rid of the infection. Antibiotics help kill the bacteria called Streptococcus ('strep' for short) that cause sore throat. Such an infection can be transmitted from one person to another. Group A Streptococcus bacteria invade the lining of the throat and attack the nearby glands. This can result in:
- A sudden, severe sore throat
- Constant pain in the throat
- Red and swollen tonsils
- White patches in the throat or on the tonsils
- Weakness and fatigue, lack of energy
- Difficulty eating and swallowing
- Inflammation of throat
- Swelling around the neck
- Excessive sweating
- Enlargement of nearby lymph nodes
- Loss of appetite
- Cough, nausea
- Breathing difficulty
- Abdominal pain
Use of Antibiotics
Pain and discomfort caused by strep throat can lead to increased restlessness. But there is no need to panic. You should immediately consult your doctor and prevent the situation from worsening. The doctor may perform a rapid strep test and / or throat culture test to confirm that the infection is due to Streptococcus bacteria. Usually, antibiotics are prescribed to control and cure the infection quickly. If the doctor prescribes antibiotics like cephalexin, penicillin and amoxicillin for strep throat, you should strictly follow the instructions of the doctor regarding the dosage and duration. The aforementioned antibiotics are recommended for sinus infection too. Overdose of antibiotics can prove to be harmful for the mother and the baby as well. Similarly, insufficient intake of antibiotics can result in recurring infections, which can again be harmful for both mother and the baby. Antibiotics help get rid of fever too. The scratchiness and pain in the throat can also be a symptom of viral infection. It is therefore necessary to detect the exact cause of throat pain during pregnancy. Sometimes, common cold can lead to swollen throat and pain. There is no need to take antibiotics for common cold and throat pain. You may refer to the list of medication ingredients that are safe for pregnant women, published by The American Pregnancy Association, before taking any medications.
- You can take the recommended dose of paracetamol, but avoid taking aspirin.
- Do not forget to keep yourself warm.
- Avoid cold drinks or juices. Drink plenty of warm fluids. Increasing the intake of water helps get rid of the toxins in the body. Water and other fluids keep the body well-hydrated; which in turn lowers the risk of infections.
- Gargling with warm salty water helps relieve the symptoms of sore throat.
- You may add a pinch of turmeric to the warm water (gargling / drinking) or you may have a hot cup of milk with a pinch of turmeric.
- Various herbal teas like green tea, chamomile tea with lemon juice, lemon tea with cinnamon, ginger tea, are natural analgesics that help reduce pain in the throat.
- Inhaling steam helps lower the symptoms like nasal congestion and pain caused by sore throat.
- A hot bowl of chicken soup, or any favorite soup (clear soup is preferred) can provide you sufficient energy and relief from the symptoms like pain and discomfort.
- You should follow a balanced diet, which can provide all the essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Healthy food helps strengthen your immune system and helps avoid infections.
- You should eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and foods that provide right amounts of nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, fats and antioxidants. This naturally helps fight strep throat infection.
Untreated strep throat might lead to serious conditions like pneumonia. To avoid health complications arising out of throat infection during pregnancy, women should never opt for over-the-counter medicines. They should consult the doctor immediately. Taking adequate rest is also essential for fast recovery. During pregnancy, women should take the necessary steps to prevent infections. Pregnancy is the period to enjoy and not to worry.
This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.