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Immunity during pregnancy: truth and myths

Immunity during pregnancy: truth and myths

During pregnancy, a lot of phenomena occur in a woman’s body, which are not completely clear even to doctors, and among them are riddles related to immunity. Judge for yourself: the task of the immune system is to ensure that nothing alien (for example, bacteria or viruses) gets into the body, and if this happens, immediately find and neutralize the “enemy”. As soon as conception occurs, a special situation arises: inside the woman, a new organism begins to develop, the composition of the proteins of which is half different from that of the mother.

Theoretically, the immune system should immediately go to war with an outsider – but this does not happen. The body of a woman not only does not reject the future baby, but also provides it with everything necessary and protects, sometimes even to the detriment of its own interests. Apparently, with the onset of pregnancy, the immune system is somehow rebuilt in a new way.

But how and why? This riddle has long given no rest to scientists; There is an opinion that, having solved the pregnancy paradox, it will be possible to find a prescription for cancer treatment – but so far there are more questions than answers.

Previously, scientists believed that during pregnancy, the immune system is less active, and therefore the body is more susceptible to infections and women are sick more often. But it turned out that future mothers do not have a particular propensity to develop infectious and inflammatory diseases – on the contrary, many chronic inflammations during pregnancy fade.

To work the immune system while waiting for the baby passed without failures, you need a lot of conditions. The first is the correct hormonal background.

Many hormones, vigorously produced during pregnancy (progesterone, cortisol, estrogen), are involved in the immune system; with their shortage, it can be violated.

The second condition is the proper development of the baby and the placenta, which connects him with his mother. It is believed that it is the unborn child who launches a host of immune changes in the woman’s body.

And finally, it is important that by the time pregnancy occurs, there is no inflammation in the body, otherwise the reaction of the mother’s immune system to the baby may be unexpected.

Immunity during pregnancy: truth and myths

Unfortunately, not all women are “in the position” of restructuring the immune system correctly. What can this lead to?

1 Susceptibility to infections.

Sometimes, future mothers notice that they have more often caught cold; many have exacerbated chronic inflammation. The most common cause is either a malfunction of the immune system before the onset of pregnancy, or unprotected foci of infection (throat, kidney).

Doctors do not get tired to remind that before pregnancy it is important to pass all the necessary tests (starting from the simplest – clinical blood and urine tests – and ending with smears for sexually transmitted infections) and to pre-treat all the “weak” places.

2 Miscarriage of pregnancy.

It can be caused by immune reasons. For example, if a child is planned by parents, “similar” to each other in their tissues, the cells of the immune system of a woman can take the child’s cells for their own, but damaged ones – and tear them away.

Fortunately, there are ways to help such couples: first of all, you need to contact specialists beforehand, before the onset of pregnancy.

Faced with infection, the immune system produces protective factors that persist in the body for a time. The most difficult situation is with viruses, including those causing SARS and influenza, which change every season (causing the appearance of “bird”, “swine” and other types of flu).

They easily hit future mothers, especially young ones (experts attribute this to the fact that it was young women who never encountered similar viruses and they have no protective factors to combat them). That is why if during pregnancy you felt unwell, sore throat, and the temperature rose sharply above 37.5 ° C, without delay, consult a doctor.

Immunity during pregnancy: truth and myths

ASIA UYANAEVA, PhD., Head. Scientific and Polyclinic Advisory Department of the Russian Scientific Center for Restorative Medicine and Balneology

What will help the future mother to strengthen the immune system? The safest and most affordable products are those that nature itself offers us: water, air, movement, light.

Their main advantage is that they act on the immune system from the inside, mobilizing its own resources, and not enhancing them artificially, as do immunomodulatory drugs. Perceiving signals from external stimuli (for example, cool water), the nervous system transfers them to a special part of the brain – the hypothalamus, which triggers the production of hormones and thereby enhances the body’s defenses.

Water. Contrast showers, walking in the water, therapeutic baths, hydromassage – choose from these simple and pleasant methods those that give you more pleasure and will be safe in your waiting phase.

In the first half of pregnancy, the expectant mother can pamper herself with relaxing baths – for example, conifers (50 mg of coniferous extract per bath). A hydro massage will help relieve muscle tension and fatigue, increase blood flow in small vessels and the immune system.

Expectant mothers better to use the most gentle mode of hydromassage; as for any bath, the water temperature should be no higher than 36–37 ° С, and swimming should be limited to 10 minutes.

In the second half of pregnancy, a contrast shower, which doctors call a “vessel simulator”, is more suitable. The procedures should be started with a small temperature difference (28–36 ° С); First, pour warm water over one and a half minutes, then cold water for half a minute. Gradually, the difference can be increased (20–22 ° C – 36–37 ° C) and in this mode take a shower for 10–12 minutes (3 minutes – warm water, 1 minute – cold, alternating 3-4 times).

If you take a shower in the morning, end the procedure with a cool stream – this will give you a feeling of cheerfulness and lightness, and in the evening – with warm water to calm down and relax. Similarly, you can do contrasting drenching for the legs, especially if by the end of the day they become “cast-iron” and swell.

A very effective procedure that makes the body’s defenses work and also requires a minimum of effort – walking on water. Put a rubber mat on the bottom of the bath, pour water over the ankle (temperature 16–18 ° C) and walk for 10–15 minutes, with each step completely removing your foot from the water.

Air. Walking is another important element in strengthening the immune system.

To fill the lungs with oxygen, without which no single cell in the body can work, the future mother will be helped by air and sun baths.

Motion. It is necessary for all women “in position”: try to walk more, walk, and if your doctor does not mind, do simple exercises, swim in the pool or go in for fitness for expectant mothers.

All this increases the body’s ability to respond better and faster to external “onslaught”.

Rest, gain strength, strengthen the immune and nervous systems of future mothers can in sanatoriums. They will be accepted in special institutions, working mainly with pregnant women, or in specialized departments of ordinary sanatoria.

It is best to go there for a period of up to 26 weeks and choose regions with a familiar climate. In the sanatorium you will find everything that physiotherapy offers to expectant mothers: therapeutic massage, hydromassage baths, showers (rain, dust, fan, Vichy shower), therapeutic sleep, chromotherapy (procedure using green or blue radiation, which relieves stress and excitability of the brain ).

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