Dry Cough During Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms And Home Remedies

Dry Cough During Pregnancy

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A dry cough can be highly uncomfortable when it hinders your everyday activities. On the bright side, even the most extreme and persistent coughs during pregnancy are not known to harm the baby. You may try home remedies for a couple of days, and if you do not get better, see a doctor because any medication could be taken only under the doctor’s guidance. If you are an expectant mom and suffering from a dry cough, read on this MomJunction post for effective home remedies to it.

What Is A Dry Cough?

A dry cough is a non-productive cough that does not produce phlegm or mucus. It is irritating and is mostly associated with a tickling sensation in the throat. It is often caused by viral infections such as cold and flu, and sometimes due to throat irritants and allergies. A persistent dry cough relates to the presence of irritants and microbes in the air passages (1).

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Causes Of A Dry Cough During Pregnancy

There are several causes of a dry cough in pregnancy, including the following:

  • Allergies: They cause a dry cough. If you experience any allergy, exposure to the allergen will create irritation in the air passages causing a dry cough (2).
  • Low immunity: Immune system weakens during pregnancy and makes you prone to various infections and allergies, thus causing a dry cough (3).
  • Asthma: If you are already diagnosed with asthma before pregnancy, you are likely to experience breathing difficulties and dry cough during pregnancy (4).
  • Hay fever or allergic rhinitis: It is an inflammation and irritation of the mucus membrane inside the nose, caused by hypersensitivity. High estrogen levels in the body aggravate this condition prompting a dry cough (5).
  • Heartburn: If the acidic contents enter into the respiratory tract, it leads to inflammation of the respiratory tract lining, causing a dry cough (6).
  • Viral infections: Common cold or flu that are a result of viral infections are likely to cause a dry cough (7).
  • Air pollutants: Exposure to air pollutants such as smog, irritant gas or tobacco smoke that irritate the back of the throat can cause a dry cough.

[ Read: Croup During Pregnancy ]

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Signs And Symptoms Of A Dry Cough While Pregnant

Following are the signs and symptoms that might develop with a dry cough.

  • Blocked throat or a wheezing cough
  • Coughing accompanied with nausea
  • Sleeping difficulties

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Are There Any Ways To Prevent A Dry Cough During Pregnancy?

The following tips could help when you have dry cough:

  • Avoid exposure to allergens such as grass, tree pollen, and fur.
  • Reduce the probability of acid reflux by improving meal frequency and sitting upright after a meal.
  • Adopt ways to boost up the body’s resistance
  • Avoiding exposure to the poor quality of air
  • Placing a humidifier in the room reduces nasal congestion
  • Prop your head using a couple of pillows for easy breathing

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Home Remedies For Dry Cough During Pregnancy

If it is a persistent dry cough, check with your doctor first and avoid self-medication or even home remedies. Home remedies are safe, but it is always better to inform your doctor before you use them. Some common remedies that will take away the discomfort caused by a dry cough include (8):

  • Stay hydrated by increasing your fluid intake. Dehydration could worsen your condition and even suppresses immunity.
  • Keep your head and upper body in an elevated position while lying down to prevent sleep difficulties due to a cough.
  • Eating raw garlic along with your food can be effective in alleviating the dry cough.
  • Ginger tea made of fresh root will soothe the throat and prevent irritation, which can cause a cough.
  • Lukewarm water with freshly squeezed lemon juice soothes the throat irritation, and it also alkalizes the body.
  • Warm water, soups, and teas mixed with a teaspoon of honey can treat cough and cold as honey holds antiseptic properties.
  • Gargling with warm saline solution can be effective in getting rid of a dry cough.
  • Chamomile tea with some honey added to it is also effective in treating the cough.
  • Add a pinch of black pepper powder on a slice of lemon, and suck it to reduce the symptoms of a cough.
  • Make a natural dry cough syrup by mixing onion juice with honey and drink the mixture.
  • A paste of basil leaves and honey serves as an effective remedy for dry coughing.
  • Orange juice boosts your immunity and helps in relieving the symptoms.

[ Read: Home Remedies For Sore Throat During Pregnancy ]

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When To See A Doctor?

Although a dry cough is harmless, you should consult your doctor if you have persistent dry cough along with any of these symptoms:

  • Cold
  • Prolonged appetite loss
  • Frequent episodes of insomnia for an extended period
  • Coughing along with severe chest pain
  • Fever of 102°F and above
  • Persistent dry cough

It is better to visit your doctor if these symptoms persist and do not fade away even with home remedies.

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Dry Cough Treatment During Pregnancy

Your doctor is likely to recommend the below medicines depending on the severity of the dry cough.

  • Anesthetic sore throat lozenges (ease throat pain)
  • Cough drops containing dextromethorphan and guaifenesin (suppress a dry cough) (9)
  • Hepatitis B and flu vaccinations are also recommended to prevent complications in the baby (10).
  • Tdap vaccine is suggested for whooping cough (11)The doctor may also suggest you see a physician if cough does not get better with these medicines or is accompanied by a fever or any other illness is suspected.

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Will A Dry Cough Affect The Baby During Pregnancy?

No, a dry cough will not affect the baby as the placenta serves as a barrier and offers enough protection to the growing fetus.

But if a cough, cold or flu is not treated for a long time, the infection might spread internally and affect the cognitive development of the baby and impair childbirth. Therefore, do not ignore the symptoms associated with a dry cough and get them checked by a doctor soon.

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Does Dry Cough During Pregnancy Cause Any Complications?

In the later stages of pregnancy, dry cough is known to cause certain complications (12).

  • Disrupted sleep pattern is common, and coughing episodes associated with lack of sleep can make the body weak and fragile.
  • Urinary incontinence is common during pregnancy when the uterus puts excessive pressure on the bladder. It becomes severe with a dry cough, sometimes causing urine leakage.
  • Suppressed immunity due to a dry cough could highly increase the risk of various infections.
  • Reduced appetite associated with dry coughing might lead to nutritional deficiencies.
  • It also causes physical, emotional and mental stress.

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Although a dry cough is common and mostly harmless, it is important to monitor it constantly and seek your doctor’s advise if it persists. A healthy diet and proper rest are the keys to protect you from this irritating condition.

[ Read: Stuffy Nose During Pregnancy ]

Have you also experienced a dry cough in your pregnancy? Know of any remedy that gave you a quick relief? Share your experiences in the below comment section.


1. Cracking the cough code; Harvard Health Publishing (2018)
2. Allergies (Seasonal); The University of Texas at Austin (2018)
3. Colds and Flu During Pregnancy; University of Michigan Health System
4. Magdalena Ciebiera & Iwona Szymusik; Unexpected Cause Of Chronic Cough In A Pregnant Woman; MEDtube Science (2017)
5. Mauricio Danckers; Cough; Chest Foundation (2018)
6. GERD or Acid Reflux or Heartburn Overview; Cleveland Clinic
7. Vanessa R. Laibl et al.; Influenza and Pneumonia in Pregnancy; Clinics In Perinatology (2005)
8. Bonnie K. McMillen; Home Remedy for Cough; University of Pittsburgh at Bradford
9. Robyn Horsager-Boehrer; Which over-the-counter cold medications are safe during pregnancy; The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (2018)
10. Flu Vaccination in Pregnancy; Health Protection Scotland NHS (2018)
11. Pregnancy and Whooping Cough; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2017)
12. Cough: dry cough; myDr

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Rebecca Malachi

She is a Biotechnologist with a proficiency in areas of genetics, immunology, microbiology, bio-engineering, chemical engineering, medicine, pharmaceuticals to name a few. Her expertise in these fields has greatly assisted her in writing medical and life science articles. With 8+ years of work experience in writing for health and wellness, she is now a full-time contributor for Momjunction.com. She is passionate about giving research-based information to readers in need. Apart from writing, she is a foodie, loves travel, fond of gospel music and enjoys observing nature in silence. Know more about her at: linkedin.com/in/kothapalli-rebecca-35881628
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