The best way to avoid becoming unwell when you are pregnant is to take good care of your body and mind. Prevention is better than cure. If you are eating well including a good antenatal vitamin supplement, resting and sleeping properly and taking appropriate exercise to aid restful sleep and to help ease any anxieties then you will have a better immunity to any illnesses you come into contact with. It is however impossible to avoid all sickness and if you have the misfortune to contract a virus or infection in the last few weeks of your pregnancy, you will rightly be concerned to get well as soon as possible so that you are in the best possible shape for labor and birth.
In reality however careful you are to avoid germs and getting sick it is not possible to completely avoid the risk especially if your work or daily life brings you into contact with lots of other people, or if you have other children at home who pick up infections at school or nursery.
If you fall sick at the end of your pregnancy you may be understandably stressed … you are concerned about finishing up at work and handing over to colleagues; you haven’t finished preparing your baby’s room or shopping for your new arrival; you are worried about getting everything ready and suddenly you are stopped suddenly and find yourself needing to rest and get better; perhaps even having to leave work early or stop a decorating project.
• Firstly don’t panic! This will not help at all and will add to the stress of your situation. Ok so it is not ideal that you suddenly find yourself off your feet and having to rest when you thought you had a couple more weeks to get things done, but right now the most important thing is regaining your strength for labor and birth; everything else can wait.
• Your doctor will advise you on what you need to be doing medically and with regard to rest once they have assessed you, but it is likely that if you are this close to your due date it will be recommended you stop work, stop anything strenuous and you will be advised to rest and recuperate.
• Notify work if you are unable to return as soon as possible. You may be tempted to delay in the hope you may be able to return but it is better for everyone if possible to accept that you have to finish early so that they can make necessary arrangements to cover our work and so that you can concentrate on getting well with less pressure.
• Seek help with any unfinished jobs and tasks you want done before the baby arrives from finishing your baby’s room to shopping, household projects or packing your hospital bag; you will feel better to know these jobs are under control even if you are unable to do them yourself. Do not wait to see if you feel better in a few days as this will put pressure on you.
• Rest as much as you can; a rested body has a better immune system and will shorten your period of illness.
• Stay hydrated especially if you have a tummy illness as dehydration is dangerous especially in pregnancy. Drink clear fluids to help cleanse your system.
It can be very frustrating to find yourself being told to stop all work and activity on the run up to your due date whether the cause be a pregnancy related condition such as high blood pressure or whether it be flu or a tummy illness. It can make you feel out of control and be overwhelming. As tempting as it is to try and override your symptoms and carry on regardless the best you can, it really is best to take your doctor’s advice in the first instance and then enlist as much help as you can get so that you can rest and be as healthy as possible for your baby’s birth and the change that comes with it.