Sore Throat During Pregnancy: Signs & Remedies To Get Relief
Learning the causes of this common symptom can help you treat it better.
Pour it through a strainer and enjoy A sore throat during pregnancy may have got you alarmed, but there is no reason to be stressed. A pregnancy sore throat indicates that your pharynx is irritated by a foreign substance that may include allergens, harsh chemicals, or pathogens like bacteria and viruses. No matter what the underlying cause, there are natural remedies to soothe an irritated throat and help you feel better. Read on to find what some of them are and also get a better understanding of what may be causing your throat to be sore and inflamed.
In This Article
What Is A Sore Throat?
A sore throat, also known as pharyngitis, refers to a condition in which the throat becomes inflamed and feels uncomfortable and painful. During pregnancy, your natural immune system undergoes complex modifications to support the growing fetus. While it is not completely suppressed, it lowers its defense mechanism so that it doesn’t attack the growing baby mistaking it for a foreign body. These changes may make you more susceptible to viral and bacterial infections that may cause a sore throat (1).
Tonsillitis in pregnancy involves the tonsils, a pair of soft-tissue structures located on either side at the back of your throat, right where your tongue ends. Tonsils are considered to be the first line of defense against bacteria, viruses, or other foreign substances that go through your mouth. Tonsillitis or the inflammation of the tonsils also presents as a sore throat.
Whether you get pharyngitis, tonsillitis, or both, you may experience a number of symptoms besides a sore throat, as mentioned in the next section.
Signs & Symptoms Of Sore Throat During Pregnancy
Pharyngitis and tonsillitis usually present signs such as (2), (3):
- Persistent pain in the throat
- Swollen and red tonsils
- Red and inflamed throat
- Trouble swallowing
- Hoarse voice
- Redness of throat
- Difficulty in swallowing
You may get some or none of these symptoms along with your sore throat during pregnancy. It all depends on what is behind your sore throat.
What Causes Sore Throat During Pregnancy?
Any of the following causes of sore throat during pregnancy may be responsible for your discomfort (2), (3), (4):
- Acid reflux
- Allergies (dust and pollen)
- The strain on the throat from talking loudly or continuously
- Chemicals or pollutants
- A throat infection
When your sore throat is caused by something other than an infection or an allergy, you may not need medications to treat it. Even with some infections, home remedies to treat sore throat in pregnancy may suffice. Let’s see what some of them are in the next section.
Best Natural Remedies To Treat Sore Throat During Pregnancy
- Lemon Honey Tea
Honey might help in soothing the throat, and lemon could combat bacteria and clear the mucus.
Honey also has antimicrobial properties and helps in soothing an irritated throat. Lemon is rich in antioxidants and may strengthen your immune system. This may help to fight off an infection that may be causing your sore throat (5), (6).
To make lemon honey tea, follow these steps:
- Boil a cup of water in a saucepan.
- In a cup, squeeze the juice of half a lemon and add one tablespoon of honey to it.
- Pour the boiling water from the saucepan into the cup, stir it and let it cool slightly.
- Enjoy warm lemon honey tea.
- Turmeric Saltwater Gargle
Turmeric is a mighty antioxidant and has antimicrobial properties that may help to fight off any infection in your throat (7). Combined with salt, which itself has antimicrobial properties, it can become a powerful tool to cleanse your throat and soothe it. A warm gargle may also help to loosen up mucus and make it easier to expel (8).
To do a turmeric saltwater gargle, follow these steps:
- Add ½ teaspoon salt to 4 ounces of warm water.
- Add ½ teaspoon turmeric powder to the saltwater mix and stir well.
- Take a small mouthful of the turmeric saltwater and swish it around your throat. Do not swallow.
- After a few seconds spit the water out and gargle with the remaining water.
- You can repeat this gargle every 4 hours till you get relief.
- Chamomile Tea Gargle
Chamomile is a great herb for soothing an irritated throat due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties (9). However, chamomile in large quantities may be associated with a higher risk of miscarriages. Therefore, it is not recommended to drink chamomile tea to soothe a sore throat during pregnancy (10). However, you can use a chamomile tea infusion to gargle your inflamed throat with it once a day for relief.
To make a chamomile tea infusion for gargling, follow these steps:
- Bring a cup of water to a boil.
- Take off the heat and add a chamomile tea bag to it.
- Let it steep for 5 minutes.
- Remove the teabag and let it cool slightly before you gargle with it.
- Do not swallow the tea.
- Repeat this once a day.
- Ginger Tea After Meals
Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent with antifungal and antibacterial properties, which may help soothe your throat and fight off infections. Apart from that, ginger can help with gastrointestinal symptoms and may bring relief from a sore throat caused by acid reflux (11). Ginger is safe during pregnancy in limited quantities, so you can drink up to two cups of ginger tea after your meals daily.
To make ginger tea, follow these steps:
- Pour two cups of water into a saucepan and put it on heat.
- Peel and slice an inch of ginger and add it to the water that is heating.
- Cover with a lid and bring to a boil.
- Remove the lid and let it boil for 5 minutes.
- Pour it through a strainer and enjoy it after it has cooled down a bit.
Your body needs plenty of rest as you recover from a sore throat. That is why it is essential that you do not strain it further, and give yourself rest.
- Stay Hydrated
A sore throat may be aggravated if you let the lining of your throat get dry. So it is important that you stay hydrated. For some, warm liquids bring more relief while for others, drinking cold water can help soothe an irritated and dry throat in pregnancy. Avoid drinking water that is chilled or too hot. Keep taking small sips throughout the day till you feel better.
These home remedies may help you get relief from your sore throat within a day or two. In case the pain in your throat persists, you should contact your doctor. There are certain situations associated with a sore throat that may require medical attention. Let’s see what they are in the next section.
When To See A Doctor
A sore throat caused by allergens, strained muscles, or pollutants should clear up fairly quickly. A sore throat caused by a viral infection is usually limiting and may clear up within a week. For strep throat in pregnancy or another bacterial infection, you may need medical attention. If the soreness in your throat persists longer than a week, or you experience any of the following associated symptoms, contact your doctor:
- You have a sudden high fever
- You have difficulty breathing
- You have trouble swallowing
- You have a complete loss of appetite
- Your symptoms persist or worsen
- You see reddish-white patches inside your throat
Generally, sore throat during pregnancy is nothing to worry about and is highly treatable. But as pregnancy puts a strain on your body, you may want to be rather safe than sorry and see what you can do to avoid getting a sore throat.
How To Prevent Sore Throat During Pregnancy
- Stay away from secondhand smoke or other pollutants.
- To avoid getting acid reflux, try to eat smaller, more frequent meals which are not too spicy or greasy.
- Avoid contact with known allergens.
- Lower your risk of a viral or bacterial infection by keeping your distance from people who are contagious, washing your hands frequently, and avoiding crowded places.
- Speak softly to avoid straining your voice.
- Drink plenty of fluids, and at least 3 liters of water every day.
- Take rest and do not overexert yourself as stress can lower your immunity further.
To sum up, a sore throat during pregnancy is easily treatable and preventable. Natural ingredients like ginger, chamomile, turmeric, lemon, and honey may help you combat a sore throat while pregnant. For infections that underlie a sore throat, you may need to consult your doctor to find the best course of treatment. To minimize your risk of getting an irritated or inflamed throat, you should avoid known allergens, smoke, and other pollutants. You also need to avoid contracting a viral and bacterial infection by maintaining hygiene and distance from those with an active infection.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can sore throat harm the baby during pregnancy?
A sore throat during pregnancy will not harm the baby. However, if your sore throat is caused by an infection like flu, you may need medical attention to treat it as that poses some risk for the mother and the baby (12).
Should I be worried about a sore throat while pregnant?
No, you should not stress or be worried about a sore throat during pregnancy. Home remedies can help you with symptoms and you can consult your ob-gyn if you have any other worrisome symptoms accompanying your sore throat.
What cures a sore throat instantly?
There is no instant cure for sore throat, but a tablespoon of honey may help soothe an irritated throat quickly (5).
Can pregnancy hormones cause sore throat?
No, pregnancy hormones do not cause a sore throat. A modified immune system during pregnancy may make pregnant women more susceptible to infections that may cause a sore throat (1).
How long does a sore throat last?
Sore throat caused by viral infection may last for 3 to 10 days, while the ones caused by bacterial infections and allergens may last longer.
How do I know if my sore throat is viral or bacterial?
Look for the symptoms. You may experience cough, swelling in the throat, and runny nose in viral infections. However, the symptoms of bacterial infection include nausea, vomiting, and stomach ache.
- You may get a sore throat during pregnancy due to acid reflux, allergies, pollutants, or sinusitis.
- Persistent pain in the throat, hoarse voice, fever, and inflamed throat are common symptoms of this condition.
- Lemon honey tea, turmeric saltwater gargles, and chamomile tea gargles may help treat sore throat symptoms during pregnancy.
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- Traditional and Modern Uses of Natural Honey in Human Diseases: A Review
- Citrus limon (Lemon) Phenomenon—A Review of the Chemistry Pharmacological Properties Applications in the Modern Pharmaceutical Food and Cosmetics Industries and Biotechnological Studies
- Chapter 13 Turmeric the Golden Spice
- The effectiveness of various gargle formulations and salt water against SARS-CoV-2
- Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future
- Frequently Used Herbal Teas During Pregnancy – Short Update
- Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity: Review of Current Evidence
- VIRAL INFECTIONS DURING PREGNANCY