The Unique Hell of Having a Head Cold While Pregnant

I thought I was safe. All three of us got flu shots way back in October, and I’ve been washing my hands like a maniac. Then my daughter brought a cold home from preschool and I caught it, times ten. I read that pregnant women are more susceptible to colds because our immune systems are slightly lowered — that way our bodies won’t interpret a growing baby as some sort of foreign invader. I suppose that’s a good thing. But this cold is downright unfair.

Now, along excruciating heartburn, poor bladder control, and getting winded from walking two blocks (yes, for a girl who desperately wanted a second kid, I’m awfully whiny), I can add sinus congestion, sore throat, and snot-fueled sneezing to my ever-growing list of complaints. I am just a ray of sunshine right now.


My OB is pretty liberal when it comes to the pregnancy rules. He’s fine with soft cheeses and coffee, and I was equally grateful when he greenlit decongestants and antihistamines for my cold (okay with him because I’m in the second trimester). But what I really want — pain killers and sleeping pills — I can’t have. That’s right, I want to go full celebrity-style pill popper all over this stupid cold. I’d Michael Jackson it with Propofol if I could (too soon?).  

Understandably, my husband does not want to catch my evil virus. He’s been sleeping on the couch, which he seems to be enjoying a little too much. Instead of being woken every hour by my restless legs and constant trips to the bathroom, he’s down there watching National Geographic shows about tough guys who build log cabins in Alaska (his isolationist fantasy, which presumably does not include the heifer with the head cold), then getting eight hours of uninterrupted dreamtime. I fear he may never return to my bed. 

Meanwhile, our 3-year-old Typhoid Mary climbs in with me halfway through the night and we just germ-share. It’s awesome. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if my next ultrasound revealed the baby also blowing her nose in utero. 

I suppose if I ever get rid of this cold, it will make me appreciate how good I had it when I was just contending with regular old pregnancy symptoms. Of course, at 23 weeks, I can soon anticipate getting kicked in the crotch by a fetal foot that’s growing in size and power. So don’t count on me finding my rose-colored glasses any time soon. 

 Photo: Shutterstock