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Winter has truly set in, especially if you live in Melbourne like I do!  During pregnancy it can be extra hard to keep those cold and flu at bay.

Your immune system changes during pregnancy.  This is because you now have ‘foreign’ DNA in your system.  That may sound strange but the wonderful new life growing inside you is of course made up of a unique combination of your DNA plus your partners.  This new DNA combination is something your body is not used to.  Our immune system is primed to attack anything it sees as new or foreign in our body therefore, during pregnancy, our immune system must adapt to accept this new DNA.  Unfortunately, this change in the immune system can also leave you more susceptible to colds and flu.

So how can you help support your immune system to fight colds and flu during winter?

1. Immune boosting foods

You are what you eat!  May be cliché, but it still rings true.  A good diet helps keep your body functioning at it’s best.  Boost your diet with plenty of brightly coloured food such as strawberries, blueberries, red peppers, tomatoes, spinach and oranges, these colourful foods are a great source of antioxidants.  Other good immune boosting foods including garlic, which posses natural antibiotic properties and ginger which is warming and nourishing (as well as being a great anti nausea for morning sickness!).

2. Sleep

Getting adequate good quality sleep is important for many reasons but a recent study published July 2013 has shown that lack of quality sleep during pregnancy interferes with proper immune function and increases the risk of low birth weight babies and other complications.  This was mainly due to an increase in stress hormones caused by the lack of sleep, so if you’re having trouble sleeping don’t stress!  Setting aside time to relax can be just as important.

3.    Nourish your gut

Around 70% of our immune system is actually located in your gut.  This is where your food, or in fact anything you ingest, is processed.  The digestive system is responsible for breaking down, absorbing and metabolizing your food as well as identifying and helping eliminate anything nasty that may make its way into your system.  So keeping your gut healthy is a great first line defense to support healthy immune function.

Consuming plenty of ‘good’ bacteria in the form of natural yoghurts or probiotic powders and capsules can help support the balance of good bacteria to help keep your gut, and immune system, healthy.

4.    Exercise

Yes, exercise is still important during pregnancy.  Daily exercise has been shown to reduce the incidence of cold and flu.  Although running and marathon or horse riding should not be on your list, keeping active is important for your health and your baby’s.  Low impact exercises such as walking, yoga, Pilates and swimming are great ways to help stay fit and healthy during your pregnancy.

5.    Good prenatal multivitamin

Supplements should never replace a healthy diet, however during pregnancy you have a much greater demand for essential nutrients to support the precious baby that’s growing inside you.  The nutrition you provide during these crucial months can impact your child’s development and long-term health.

Unfortunately we don’t source all our veggies from the patch in the backyard anymore, much of our food is shipped, stored, packed and processed before it reaches our plate.  All these steps reduce the nutrient content of our food, particularly unstable nutrients such as folate, or choline and vitamin D, which can be hard to source from the diet.  A good prenatal multivitamin provides a baseline of essential nutrients to support the health of both Mum and bub during this important time.

  • i like these tips. hopefully they help reduce the effects of colds when that season comes.

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  • Great tips and advice but do believe there should have been added, try and stay away from other people that have a cold when possible eg if you know a extended family member has a cold or is getting over the flu and they will be at a particular party or dinner date as you, it is best that you decline the party or date.

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  • I loved having lots of Orange Juice through winter but now that I have GD I cant have it anymore with this pregnancy as it throws my readings out!

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  • I had a grumbling appendix with my first pregnancy and that messed with all the well laid plans I had for fitness. I found everytime I went for a walk I ended up in agony but keeping still kept things calm…so i kept still.

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  • I know about the folic acid and vitamins, but really there was no way I was going to be eating as heathly as aI should. I loved vegemite sandwiches and canned apricots for morning sickness.

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  • Great read and tips thanks for the information

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  • my daughter had the worst cold when she was pregnant so good tips to try to avoid because it is very unpleasant

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  • This is really great, thanks for sharing. I find a vit C supplement is really helpful.

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  • Taking a good multivitamin and a good probiotic will help ward off the winter colds and boost your immune system.

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  • great tips for fighting a cold, thanks

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  • A pregnant lady has to undergo several problems during their pregnancy they must know some tips which help them to get rid of the problems or they must consult a doctor asp

    Paediatrician in Pune

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  • Great tips! Sleeping is probably the biggest problem I have out of all of these things! Having a 10month old son who still wakes up at least once a night can be challenging. Especially during growth spurts and teething times! I at least get some naps in during the day sometimes!

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  • Odourless Garlic capsules are wonderful for decreasing the severity and length of time you suffer from respiratory illnesses.

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  • Perfect for the cold weather coming up! You must take care of yourself when you are pregnant!

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  • my daughter got a terrible cold when pregnant and it was terrible not being able to take anything for it

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