Pregnancy & Breastfeeding-safe Cold & Flu Prevention
It's strange to think that I've already got to start writing about immune support - Fall is fast approaching as the leaves are changing colour and making those lovely crunch sounds when I walk on them. Let's bring on the Immune Support blog posts!
Last winter I was very pregnant with my second child and between a toddler, a busy husband, and helping patients at clinic myself I was very aware of exposure to the colds and flus that would be flying around. I was determined to prevent as much as possible getting sick to keep my growing baby as healthy as possible.
There's very little research out there on pregnant women and any medicine, let alone low-profit naturopathic ones. Luckily there are remedies that can help prevent illness so let's go through all the options available.
Probiotics are more than just digestive-aids. The gut is one of the places bugs are coming into contact with your immune system. They have the ability to crowd out bad guys, but also help balance out which part of your immune system needs to be active (TH1, TH2). I like to recommend a wide-spectrum probiotic that has multiple strains, and to switch up which ones I have after I'm done a bottle.
Another staple! Vitamin D works by helping the cells that see bacteria 'raise the alarm' faster and stronger than when deficient (source).
In Canada we cannot get enough Vitamin D from the sun, in the months from October to March. Low levels are associated with high frequency of colds and flus.
This is the heavy hitter. It supports both innate and adaptive arms of the immune system - read: general and specialized. Think of this for preventing viral infections (I see you, influenza! And your friend the common cold, too.) It helps to stop viruses from replicating so it can't overwhelm your immune system. It has also shown to reduce duration and severity of illness if you do end up getting sick.
Works best if you're the type of person who always gets sick, are under stress (hi there, baby maker!) or have an immune-compromising condition such as HIV+. (source).
Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra)
Last on the list but definitely not least. This delicious berry is great for both viral and bacterial infection prevention. It works mainly by making it harder for the virus to bind to you as well as boosting your own immune system.
Elderberry syrup is best preventatively and not as much if you are already sick.
And don't forget your prenatal, as keeping all your vitamins and minerals at optimal levels will lessen the strain of making a tiny human and keep you less susceptible to being rundown.