Sick & Pregnant - Most Common Illnesses

Think all you’ve got to contend with are a few cramps, general morning sickness and overall pregnancy discomforts? Think again. Your normal immune system is suppressed during pregnancy, which can leave you susceptible to illnesses and infections if you’re not careful. Your best bet is taking measures to avoid getting sick, but if you do fall ill, don’t fret; we’ve compiled a list of the most common illnesses you’re likely to come up against, what you can expect in terms of symptoms, and how harmful they can be to your pregnancy, which will help you be better equipped to deal with whatever comes your way.

Common Cold:

The good thing about the common cold is that it will not affect your baby, but the medications and supplements that you take to counter it might pose some threat to your pregnancy. Things like aspirin, ibuprofen, large doses of vitamins and most herbs should be avoided when you’re pregnant, so before you take anything for your cold, consult with your doctor. To recognize the cold, watch out for a sore or scratchy throat, a runny nose, sneezing, achiness, mild fatigue, and a slight cough.


Sinusitis usually develops after a severe case of the cold, and symptoms include thick, dark mucus in addition to soreness in the forehead, cheeks, and sometimes around the teeth, causing pain when you bend over or shake your head. Sinusitis during pregnancy is relatively common and can last longer because your immune cells, which destroy harmful germs, have difficulty reaching the deep recesses of the sinuses, which can result in chronic sinus infections. Your doctor can prescribe safe antibiotics if this happens.


Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is more severe than the common cold and comes with a fever, headache, sore throat, intense muscle soreness, fatigue, a cough, and sometimes nausea. One of the easiest ways to spare yourself from the flu is by taking a flu shot early on before the flu season begins. Flu shots are safe to take during pregnancy and are more effective in protecting you against certain types of flu when taken early. While they might not completely prevent you from getting sick, they at least reduce the severity of flu symptoms. If you do catch the flu, make sure to visit your doctor and get plenty of rest and fluids.


While low grade fevers below 38°C are generally not a cause for worry, they should still be dealt with quickly to stop them from rising. Fevers over 38°C should be reported to your doctor immediately, as the cause of the fever could be problematic to your pregnancy even if the fever itself isn’t particularly dangerous. Drinking cool beverages, taking a tepid bath or shower, and wearing light clothes might help keep the fever down until you get a chance to visit your doctor.

Strep Throat:

A throat infection will not harm your baby as long as it is promptly dealt with. Visit your doctor and get a throat culture as soon as possible to determine the cause of the infection and get the necessary medication and antibiotics. Don’t take medication that has been prescribe for someone else in the family based on your own diagnosis.

Urinary Tract Infection:

Never underestimate the seriousness of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Left untreated, UTI can travel up to your kidneys and cause kidney infections which are not only painful, but can also induce premature labor, lead to a low birth weight for your baby, and cause other problems. Symptoms of early UTI include an urge to urinate frequently, pain or a burning sensation when urinating, pressure or sharp pain in the lower abdomen, and foul smelling or cloudy urine.