Sick in My Third Trimester

I have been putting off writing this post to see when I was going to get over being sick. Unfortunately, I have learned that getting back to 100% is most likely not going to happen. I have heard many pregnant ladies say that they were sick for 2 whole months! Luckily that wasn’t me, nor could it have been considering I didn’t get sick until I was 35 weeks.

It all started with my husband coming home with something from the office. I thought that he was getting over it and I missed catching it, until after my baby shower. There were a few sick people there and I was on-the-go the entire week with visitors from out-of-town. Somewhere in-between I got a cough, and not just any cough, the kind that I had when I was a kid and couldn’t ever sleep because of the harsh fits of coughs. It got so bad that the hubs would rub my back during a fit to try to calm me down. (Do you remember how that used to be the best thing your Mom could do for you when you were sick?) He started counting how often I would cough. In one hour the count was within a minute of each cough, until I finally made it to 7 minutes, then back to the minute, eventually I got to 25 minutes and he thought we were in luck for me to get some sleep, BUT then I went back to the minute one…what a wonderful time those nights were!

If that wasn’t stressful enough, I started to get tension headaches for a few minutes when I would cough in the back of my head. Plus, my stomach muscles were aching and I would get sharp pains each time I would cough on both sides of my belly. Man did I feel like I was a mess.

Attempted Medicine

Let’s move onto the doctor charade experience. The first time I was there with the cough I was told to just use Breathe Right strips to help breath at night. Which I took as a blow off, because it didn’t address the big problem, the cough. This was a Thursday and I was thinking that I was beginning to get better, it had been 4-5 days, so I was still hopeful. Then, once Sunday rolled around I couldn’t take it anymore. Both my husband and I weren’t sleeping, and I was certain we were just passing around germs because our symptoms were bouncing around the both of us.

Since it was Sunday I knew my chances were slim to get any kind of medical service, but I had to do SOMETHING! We had already tried Robitussin DM and cough drops (both approved from Web MD), hot presses (wash cloth) on my chest and neck, and my head over a bowl of boiled water breathing steam (with a towel over my head). Oh, and we tried rubbing Vick’s Vapo Rub on my feet, wearing socks after application. So, I called my OB and got a message saying to call back during office hours or contact the on-call doctor. Instead of calling the on call doctor I thought it might be a better idea to call my insurance; they have a 24/7 nurse line, why not? The nurse was very nice, dealing with me coughing through the whole conversation every few statements. She gave me numbers and address’ for Urgent Care Facilities and I was off to get some medical care. Little did I know that they wouldn’t touch me because I was 36 weeks pregnant and none of them have OB’s or Pediatricians to feel comfortable with me coming in. So, back to my doctor it was and I dialed the on-call number. First, I was told I shouldn’t be calling them because it wasn’t a true emergency (even though, they said to call 911 if that was the case in the voice message). Reluctantly, he took my information because I sounded so awful and said he would give the doctor a message to call me—and she did! However, she couldn’t get off the phone fast enough (pouty face). What she did do was give me a new list of medicines I could take to try to get some sleep. This would be my second list and I was sure something would work for me.

Here’s what she suggested:

Tylenol PM



Teas – Regular Lipton, Black, Green

Cough Losenges

Pasteurized Honey

Off went the dutiful husband to get me some Tylenol PM (to knock me out, according to the on-call OB). I was armed and ready for sleep after that, BUT it didn’t work. I was still up most of the night, coughing.

By the time Tuesday rolled around I wasn’t better, so I called my OB office, again. Got another list (third one) of meds and told to wait until Thursday for my regular appointment.

Here is the new list:





Mucinex* (only one on the shelves, nothing behind the counter from the pharmacist)

Cough Drops

*DM/PM versions of any of these

I was armed, again, with the thought that something was going to give me relief and I chose Mucinex this time. I slept a little bit better, but still wasn’t really getting rest because the fits were still happening just as much as before. By now I was almost to Thursday and I knew my state would evoke something from the doctor, it just HAD to.

When I got to the doctor’s office everyone seemed alarmed at how I sounded (cough and voice, I barely had a voice at this point). When my OB came in the exam room she announced she was afraid to touch anything I had touched, so I knew my state had at least made an impression. She didn’t ask to many questions, even though I kept trying to tell her everything. What she did do was prescribe me with an inhaler of  ProAir Albuterol HFA. She was quickly out the door and once again, I was armed with new meds and a new hope!

The first night it helped a little and I kept taking the Mucinex because she said that was the best for a cough. Did you know you can’t get just a cough suppressant anymore? They are now mixed with an expectorant and/or whatever else they think you need. Annoying when you just have  a cough. Even more annoying when you are pregnant and trying not to take medicine unless you really have to.

Onto the good news…eventually this inhaler worked! It took a couple of days, but I was getting a couple of hours of sleep and only waking up one or two times with a coughing fit. Plus, I was feeling better! It was awesome and I stopped being so terrified of going into labor with this horrendous cough.

Now we are at 38 weeks and I only have sinus issues with this little “fake” sounding cough. It’s glorious! I wish I had some great advice for pregnant ladies out there for when they get sick and no one will listen to you that it really is THAT bad and you aren’t getting any sleep. The only thing I can say is to be persistent, call that on-call doctor on the weekends, call your primary physician, keep trying new (approved for pregnancy) medicines, and hopefully, eventually someone will take notice to help you out. It’s frustrating and scary, but you will make it through. On the other side of it you will be comforted that “they” say it’s good for your baby when you get sick and it’s not an infection or something that could hurt the baby. Apparently, it only adds to what your baby can fight off on their own for later on. Now, I’m not a doctor nor do I have ANY medical training, but I’ll take that.