Is dry cough during pregnancy making you uncomfortable? Find out why you may be coughing and what you can do about it.
What Is a Dry Cough?
Typically, coughing serves a purpose as the action helps to remove mucous or phlegm that has made its way down the back of the throat from the nose or has been expelled from the lungs. In either case, productive coughs are helpful and, according to WebMD, they generally should not be suppressed.
What about dry coughs? They do not help the body expel mucous or phlegm, so what purpose do they have and can they be harmful during pregnancy?
Dry Cough During Pregnancy
Women may experience dry cough during any stage of pregnancy, but some women complain about the problem increasing during the last stages of pregnancy, as breathing becomes more difficult. What causes dry cough during pregnancy and what can you do to keep the problem at bay?
Causes of Unproductive Coughs During Pregnancy
A dry cough may occur during a common cold. The virus can be an irritant that causes a coughing reaction and the problem may become worse at night. Many women experience cold-like symptoms during pregnancy, which can lead to productive and unproductive coughs.
- If you suffer from allergies, irritants in the air can aggravate your breathing passages, which can lead to coughing.
- Asthma sufferers can experience unproductive coughs and breathing difficulties.
- Bronchospasm is over-activity in the muscles of the bronchioles, which can occur during allergic reactions to foods or insect bites. People who have chronic bronchitis, asthma, or anaphylaxis (hypersensitivity to foreign proteins or other substances).
- Rhinitis of pregnancy is a condition that can lead to coughing. Many women experience congestion throughout their pregnancies. The congestion can lead to irritation and coughing. Elevated estrogen levels can cause mucous membranes that line the nose to swell, which increases blood flow to the area and causes swelling. In some cases, you may produce more mucus, which can lead to a productive cough, but the swelling and irritation can lead to dry coughing.
Coughing during pregnancy can be a great source of distress because it can cause great discomfort. Problems that can occur if you cough excessively during pregnancy include lack of sleep and urinary incontinence:
- Added pressure to the bladder leaves less room to hold urine, and coughing can make it difficult to prevent urine leakage.
- Sleeping can be uncomfortable during the last stages of pregnancy and coughing can exasperate sleep problems.
There is little wonder that you want to stop coughing while you are pregnant, but it is very important to have your doctor's input for any treatment you choose.
Treating Pregnancy Dry Cough
The first step is to alert your doctor that you are experiencing a dry cough before trying to treat the problem yourself. Your doctor may want to make an appointment for an examination before making any suggestions. It is especially important to avoid taking any medication for coughing without consulting your physician first. In some cases, stomach acid and heartburn can contribute to coughing and it is important to get proper treatment if stomach problems are causing the cough.
While home treatments for coughs can be safe, it is best to tell your physician about any treatments you use. Some things you can do to make yourself more comfortable are:
- Staying hydrated is important and hot water with lemon can sooth dry, irritating coughs. Discuss using honey in hot water with your doctor as a possible alternative.
- Hard candy can be soothing to the throat and it can keep coughs at bay. Talk to your physician about using cough drops during pregnancy.
- Keep your head elevated. As you may notice, the coughing can become worse when you lie down.
- Stay away from potential irritants. Cleaning products, dust, perfumes, or other agents can trigger a cough.