Pregnancy Diary Week 19: Low Immune System

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Week 19

“So, the immune system tends to go out the window a bit during the second trimester”. My GP delivered this line to me, followed by a chuckle. I didn’t find it quite as funny as I sat there with my double eye infection, chest infection and tonsillitis. Hilarious. I’m feeling a bit run down this week to say the least. I managed to stay pretty free from coughs, colds and illness during my first pregnancy, very luckily. However, that was before I had my very own little germ magnet, absorbing all the bugs at nursery, soft play, swimming, etc. and sharing them so selflessly with us. Toddlers are brilliant for that. After a remarkably healthy first year, since Christmas my son has had norovirus, hand foot and mouth (not something only farm animals get, honest), ringworm (nothing to do with actual worms fortunately), chicken pox, plus the usual coughs and colds. Some of these we’ve also had the joy of getting. Norovirus for example was a ten day tag team affair that I think is better left to the imagination. This week both my husband and I have had viral conjunctivitis, which is great for making you look utterly rough. At least when you are so overtly diseased people tend to give you more sympathy. Usually, it is share and share alike but my son has escaped this one so far. It is going round at nursery so I’m holding him responsible. I like to think we are getting things out of the way early but unfortunately from speaking with other toddler parents, it sounds like this barrage is fairly standard. Usually us grown-ups are pretty resilient to the onslaught of toddler germageddon but during pregnancy our bodies are doing so much that we can be less able to fight off some kinds of illness. In pregnancy your immune system is working hard to look after you and your baby and so different types of immunity are enhanced, while others are suppressed. This ensures that the baby is protected from the body’s defences and from infection, which is pretty clever really. My GP’s advice was fairly predictable, suggesting I try to get as much rest as possible, and do obvious things like eat healthy, nutritious food and make sure I’m washing my hands regularly. I also have drops for my pink eye, which I’m teaming with Jackie O sunglasses — not GP prescribed. The drops and hand washing are definitely things that are easy to do, and on the whole, so is eating healthily. Of course there are days when only pizza will do, but if you can force down a smoothie and some greens at some other point in the day then I think that’s ok. The rest thing is a different kettle of fish. I am definitely not averse to rest. In fact, the sofa is largely where I aspire to be from 7pm onwards. A daytime nap also feels like an incredible treat, given half a chance. However, it’s not often that I get to indulge in either of these things due to, oh what’s it called… life. But when you start to look like Frankenstein’s monster with multiple malfunctioning body parts, a reassessment of priorities is needed. And so I have called in the cavalry (i.e., my husband) to give me a lie in at the weekend and an hour or two where I can nap so that I can give my body a helping hand with fighting all these bloody bugs. His medal is in the post.