Cough During Pregnancy

Is that pesky cough a normal part of pregnancy or is it a sign of something more serious? Find out how to treat that cough and when to go to the doctor.
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ByJoanne Van Zuidam
Updated
Mar 2017
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What is a cough during pregnancy?

You know what this is! And you’re probably wondering if it means you’re sick — and how to safely treat a cough during pregnancy.

What could be causing my cough during pregnancy?

It’s probably not a pregnancy-related condition. More likely, you have a viral or bacterial infection, or possibly something more serious like pneumonia, says Karen Deighan, MD, FACOG, department chairperson of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital of Loyola University Health System.

In severe cases — if you’ve also got chest pain or you’re spitting up blood — coughing could be a symptom of a pulmonary embolism (a blocked artery in the lungs), which is serious (and not totally out of the question, since pregnant women are more prone to blood clots).

When should I go to the doctor about a cough during pregnancy?

If you’ve been coughing for more than 10 days or if the cough is severe, then see a doctor. If your cough is accompanied by a green nasal discharge, it could be  sinusitis or bronchitis, which will likely need medical treatment.

What should I do to treat my cough during pregnancy?

It’s usually safe to treat a cough the same as you would if you weren’t pregnant, says Deighan. Cough drops, medicine, tea or warm liquids will help soothe your throat. But clear any  meds with your OB before you take them.

Plus, more from The Bump:

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