Childbirth is known as the miracle of life, but when you’re pregnant it doesn’t always feel like such a miracle. Unfortunately, pregnant women don’t just have to deal with morning sickness, backaches, swollen ankles, cravings, and fatigue. Pregnancy can also lower your immune system, leaving you extra susceptible to ailments like the flu and the common cold.
Believe it or not, this is actually a good thing—the developing fetus is a completely separate entity from its mother, and if pregnancy didn’t signal changes for your body to lower your immune system then your body would attack the fetus as a foreign invader.
Still, getting sick while pregnant is no fun, and some illnesses could potentially harm your developing baby. Below is some information on the state of your immune system both during and after pregnancy, and steps you can take to safely boost your immune system while pregnant.
While it's fair to say that pregnancy has an effect on a woman's immune system, it's not accurate to claim that pregnancy makes a woman vulnerable to all illnesses. In fact, one study demonstrated that while pregnancy can make women more susceptible to viral illnesses such as malaria, pregnant women are conversely more resistant to other viruses such as HIV.
Much more research needs to be done to understand how exactly a woman's immune system changes during pregnancy, but in the meantime, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Fortunately, there are ways to safely and naturally boost your immune system (or manage symptoms if you happen to get sick) while pregnant or postpartum to protect your health and that of your baby. These health tips include:
Unfortunately, your immune system woes aren’t over upon giving birth. It takes some time for hormone levels to return to normal after birth, particularly for breastfeeding mothers.
In short, having a baby can have a dramatic effect on your immune system, both during and after pregnancy. Fortunately, taking certain steps can help keep you and baby safe and healthy such as proper nutrition, rest and certain natural remedies.
Of course, if you have any concerns, your doctor is just a phone call away. The compassionate Gainesville maternity care team at All About Women is here for you, so give us a call or schedule an appointment if you need advice.