Monday, June 08, 2009

On Being Pregnant and Sick

If you are hypochondriacally inclined and your symptoms start off with a painful, sore throat, you’d best stay away from Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything, especially if you happen to be in the neighbourhood of page 382, which contains this reassuring (not!) paragraph:

"The scariest, most-out-control bacterial disorder of the moment is a disease called necrotizing fasciitis in which bacteria essentially eat the victims from the inside out, devouring internal tissue and leaving behind a pulpy, noxious residue. Patients often come in with comparatively mild complaints – a skin rash and fever, typically – but then dramatically deteriorate. When they are opened up, it is often found that they are simply being consumed. The only treatment is what is known as ‘radical excisional surgery’ – cutting out every bit of
infected area. Seventy per cent of victims die; many of the rest are left terribly disfigured. The source of the infection is a mundane factory of bacteria called Group A Streptococcus, which normally do no more than cause strep throat. Very occasionally, for reasons unknown, some of these bacteria get through the lining of the throat and into the body proper, where they reap the most devastating havoc.

So far, it appears the flesh-eating bacteria have spared me ;)


It’s probably also best to stay away from Google. While my Google search on whether my violent coughing can actually harm my baby in anyway was reassuring, I also ran into links which made me doubt every bit of medication I was taking to feel better:

  • On the antibiotics my doctor prescribed: “The effects of Phexin free prescriptions/Rx during pregnancy have not been adequately studied.”
  • On the Strepsils I took to soothe the dratted throat: “The safety of this medicine in pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been established, but the manufacturer does not consider it to be hazardous. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for further information.”
  • On the cupfuls of ginger tea that I have been ingesting to feel better: “As a diuretic, (tea) increases the frequency of urination which may cause reduction in your body fluid levels leading to dehydration.” That explains the severe dehydration headache I got a couple of days ago…

Only the Crocin I was advised to keep the fever down seems to have no scary sounding words to be discovered on Google…


Getting sick during pregnancy is not fun. Being sick rarely is, I know, but fun but the misery of being sick whilst pregnant is something else:

  • You can’t take any of the really good stuff that would just nuke the germs away.
  • Energy reserves, already running low, drop to levels where it seems like just taking another breath is not worth the humongous effort it requires.
  • The violent coughing gives you the occasional, worrying cramp.
  • Your appetite dies on you. You go through the day and realise you never had breakfast. Eating even the smallest of meals is an exercise in willpower. And eating less than what you were eating when you were not pregnant clearly cannot be a good thing

The only good thing was the enforced rest brought the baby’s movements to my notice, something I’d been worried about not feeling earlier…


And then just when you think things can’t possibly get any worse, the boy catches the bug from you. My poor baby has been so sick. He had high fever for two days in a row, followed by a day of reprieve after which it came back even higher. We did a blood test and an x-ray and all seems to be fine so the diagnosis is that it is just a particularly bad throat infection.

The fever seems to have finally passed *fingers crossed* but the hacking cough persists, as does mine. If there was a championship coughing event, the mother-son orchestra we keep up all night would be a serious contender for gold!

It was heartbreaking when I couldn’t take him for his x-ray and blood test, because I am not supposed to go anywhere near an x-ray machine in my condition. With the additional spurt of fever-induced clinginess, he was most distraught that I wasn’t going with him and bawled all the way to the car. It already felt like playing favourites between the children and the second one is not even out yet!


Apologies for the whine fest. Hope to be better and back with more cheerful stuff sometime soon.


  1. This is so not nice. You are supposed to be chomping on chhole bhature and aloo tikkis, not feeling ill. I will have a word with the Gods of Pregnant Ladies.

    That sounds like the title of a book though...hmmm.

  2. hugs girl.

    just to let you know - i also had a terrible throat infection when pregnant with child 2. she turned out fine :)

    oh and there is this thing called 'himaj' - you'll get it in any gujju-kutchi kirana shop in mumbai. just suck it like a lozenge. really soothes the throat.
    plus salt-water gargles.

    sending up a prayer. get well soon.

  3. Sorry to hear that. Hope you and your son feel better soon. I can sort of understand your misery because I had a permanently blocked nose throughout my pregnancy and it was a pain to research every damn drug before consuming it.

    Do take care.

  4. aww, hugs, Ro and to li'l Ayaan. I had a bad sore throat thingy too the last trim, totally brought me down.
    i think i took haldi+black pepper boiled in milk. guaranteed remedy for coughs.
    try a spoonful of honey mixed with pinch of turmeric for Ayaan, twice a day. soothes the throat, very effective.
    no, don't google it :)

  5. Hey looks like all of us moms have had some sort of throat infection in our second pregnancies ! ! It's a omen! A good one.

    Seriously, I feel really bad reading it, I know I went through something similar but not this bad. And don't your worry about whining, hope you feel better soon. And that you have a trouble free rest-of-pregnancy.

  6. Whine away all you want dearie, we're here for you with hugs and non-diuretic drinks!

    Hugs to you and your little boy. Hope you both feel better soon.

  7. Awww, don't read the horrid stuff at this time. (Or at any time, for that matter).

    Get well soon.

  8. Anonymous2:39 am

    Hi, coming here after a long time. Many congratulations to you! I remember when I got the cough during my pregnancy, I googled and googled and gave up and finally stuck to good old salt-water gargles and hot milk and turmeric.
    Take care :-)

  9. hi...get well soon to enjoy each & every second of ur pregnancy...dnt worry ..soon u wll b feasting on chaat tikkis ;)

  10. Aww...sounds like a bad time. Take care. try a home remedy if you can get someone to brew it up for you and Ayaan - boil some tulsi and basil leaves with cinnamon, liquorice root ( mulethi), pepper and cloves and sip on it warm through the day. Really helps soothe the throat, and is harmless for the baby.

  11. Anonymous10:28 am

    awww take care girl... hugs

    and dont worry abt too much it'll all be fine

  12. Awww... get well soon, both of you.
    And why don't you try Tulsi tea? Its really soothing- boil water, put in a few leaves of Tulsi. add black pepper and sugar and drink. Soothes the itching. and the Tulsi is good for cold as well. Ayaan can have it minus the pepper, or with just a li'l pepper.

  13. a spoonful of honey, black pepper and ginger juice - add that to the list of home remedies.

    Take care.

    Get well soon!

  14. I came here to tell you even I had horrible coughs during my first & sec trim with the peapod. It used to be really bad. My sisters used to make fun saying the kid is sure never gonna be scared of earthquakes anymore. she turned out fine so dont worry. But looks like everybody has had throat infections, I am not the onlyone.c hugs to you and lil Ayan. Take care

  15. Anonymous3:02 pm

    *hugs* sending get well soon wishes your way...take care

  16. Get well soon, the two of you and drink LOTS AND LOTS of water.

  17. hope u r feeling better now.. get back on being the cool mom u r..

  18. Awww.. I hope you feel better soon! :)

  19. Anonymous11:22 am

    Hope you feel better soon. Hugs to you and the little guy.

  20. Aw hon. Get better soon. Hope A's romping back to health. Can't wait for him to outgrow his tendency to bad coughs.

  21. [Parul] There's an idea for your next book :) And when are we doing out chola batura thingie?

    [Choxbbox] Thanks. Will check out this himaj thing

    [Munchkin] Thanks. That puts things in perspective too. You had to suffer for your entire pregnancy. I've just had this for a week

    [Kodi's Mom] LOL! No, I didn't Google it - I am having a glass of warm milk and turmeric every night. Really helps me to sleep peacefully...

    [Poppins] I know! The throat infection in second pregnancies is like a universal truth. A reassuring thought :)

    [Mammma Mia] Thanks. Ayaan is much better now, though I am still limping along...

    {Mummyjaan] Hiiii! Long time, no see. How are you doing?

    [Tandoorilounge] I am doing the milk thingy but salt water gargles make me wat to hurl :(

    [Tintin] I hope so. I have been craving for chaat but spicy stuff sets off the coughing :(

    [BEV] Ooh! That sounds nice. Let me give it a try. Thanks

    [Monika/Preeti/ Ra/ Iya/ Ditty] Thanks :)

    [JLT] Thanks for the tips. I am staying away from tea because I can see a link between the days I have it and the headache. But I am definitely going to try tulsi.

    [Sur] Had just that mixed with a glass of hot water this morning with a squeeze of lime as well :)

    [Sunita] Seriously, mine must be getting totally shaken up every time I cough...

    [Sue] Oh, he's romping all right. On my achy breaky head...

  22. hope you feel better sooon! i can see from comments that l'il guy is already feeling better! :)

    do take care and get well soon!



  23. Ouch, get well soon both of you.

  24. hope ur better already :-)

  25. Hugs, Ro. Get well soon.

  26. hope you feel better soon. Being ill sucks - being ill while being pregnant is the worst! It's been a few days since your post...hope you are feeling better now.

  27. Hope the soon to be big brother and you are just fine now !!

  28. I hope you both are starting to feel better soon! My favourite "Magic Medicine" for both the kids and I is a high-quality peppermint oil. A few drops on each foot will bring down a fever in minutes. For adults, rub it into your chest (or if you are really desperate, your sinuses--not in the eyes, though!) to clear up congestion for several hours. Rub it over your stomach, or sip it in a tea or cold water, to soothe a sore throat, upset stomach or indigestion. This stuff is awesome. You can also rub it into sore muscles or use it in other inflamed areas to reduce inflammation.

    Also, salt-water gargling. (Or apple-cider-vinegar-and-water gargling.)

    Hope you guys are "good as new" soon!

  29. [Abha/ Suki/ Subhashree] Thanks

    [Emaan/ JAM/ CA] The cough still pesters me but Ayaan is more or less back to his normal self so that is a relief...

    [Talena] I was waiting for you to come by with your peppermint oil recommendation :) Haven't been able to find a reliable source for good quality essential oils here. But for Ayaan, Vicks rubbed on his feet seems to have a soothing effect too.

  30. Augh! I'm predictable! Maybe I'll just have to send you some--although one of the main active constituents in peppermint oil is menthol, which is very prevalent in Vick's, as well, so good call on that one!

    Glad to hear that Ayaan, at least, is feeling better! Hope the same can be said of you soon!

  31. Get well soon, and only read stuff that promises not to have any medical information whatsoever.
    Too taxing to have to worry about all those diseases when pregnant:)
    I hope you are both fully recovered now.