Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is common in young children and people who are in frequent contact with them — including their mothers pregnant with their siblings! It often crops up wherever young people are in tight quarters like college and military dormitories, schools, and if online reviews are true, certain restaurant chains that cater to young children.
Pink eye isn’t serious, but it is uncomfortable and can become quite painful. It’s also highly contagious. While most cases will go away on their own, pink eye is annoying and you don’t need that during pregnancy. Get it evaluated and treated as soon as you notice redness, itch or gritty feeling, and tear or discharge in one or both eyes.
The last thing you want to do is become Pink Eye Mary in your home!
Pink Eye During Pregnancy Can Be Safely Treated
Pregnant women are understandably wary about taking medication. If you develop pink eye while you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant, tell your doctor or ophthalmologist. He or she can prescribe antibiotic eye drops that pose no danger to the developing fetus.
Eye drops are only effective against bacterial conjunctivitis and in most cases are viral. In this case, your doctor will probably recommend the old-fashioned treatment:
- Frequently clean your eyelids with a clean, wet cloth.
- Apply warm or cold compresses to your eyelids several times a day to relieve pain.
- Use artificial tear eye drops, which are safe and available over-the-counter.
- Begin infection control at home: make sure everyone frequently washes their hands, and don’t share towels.
You should also wear glasses instead of contact lenses during the treatment period and throw out hard lenses you’ve already worn.
If your infection is due to herpes complex, you may need to take an antiviral medication to prevent it from spreading, including to the fetus. The same goes for infection resulting from chlamydia, which is actually a bacterium but acts like a virus.
If your conjunctivitis is caused by allergies, your doctor can prescribe eye drops that treat it without posing harm to the fetus.
If pink eye came about because of an unfortunate encounter with chemicals or an object, your doctor will flush the eye out and examine it for infection. If there is none, the irritation should subside after a day or so.
Report pink eye that lingers more than a week to your doctor. There could be a more serious, underlying problem. And if anyone at home develops pink eye, get it evaluated and treated, too, so that it doesn’t spread to the rest of the family!
Pink Eye and Pregnancy Don’t Mix
It’s hard enough being pregnant without mixing in conjunctivitis as well!
Viral conjunctivitis will go away on its own, but it’s highly contagious. The stress of living with frequent pink eye isn’t good for you, your baby, and other young children in the home.
Don’t tough it out — get your conjunctivitis examined and follow your doctor’s recommendations for relief. Easing the symptoms might help speed along recovery and certainly ease your stress a bit. Here are some safe homeopathic treatments you can try to relieve the irritation, itch, or pain:
- Apply clean, wet green tea bags to your eyes
- Rinse your eyes with salt water
- Dab aloe vera gel on your eyelids
- Apply fresh, cold raw potato slices to your eyelids
Infection control is a good idea anyway during pregnancy, especially if there are infants, young children, and elderly persons in the home. In addition to controlling and preventing conjunctivitis, this will help protect against flu, colds, and any number of stomach viruses.