Pregnancy = Compromised Immune System??? - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-30-2005, 03:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have seen this many places mostly quoted through OB's.
I honestly can't figure out why your immune system is compromised when you are pg? :
I have always been super healthy when I am pg. Probably because I eat better and am MUCH better about taking vitamins
So, what about pregnancy compromises your immunity?

TIA,
Keri

 Keri wife and Mama to  Cory 17,  Brendan 15,  Kerianne 8,  Avery 7,  Lilia 3
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Old 09-30-2005, 06:06 PM
 
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I have always been super healthy too I would think that most women are ? but it will be interesting to see the responses!
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Old 09-30-2005, 06:25 PM
 
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I wish I knew the answer, but I'm super-healthy when pregnant, too. Usually I'm plagued with colds and little viruses from being around all the little ones at playgroup, the library, etc, but I haven't had so much as a sniffle since I got my BFP!
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Old 09-30-2005, 06:32 PM
 
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I think the theory is that your immune system is slightly depressed so the baby isn't treated as a foreign object and attacked. I wonder if pg actually makes you more susceptible(Sp) to illness, or if the numbers associated with testing for immune response just changes and makes it look like you are more prone to sickness. Does that make sense? But I've never really read any studies on this, one way or the other. I'd love to hear more facts or theories on this.
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Old 09-30-2005, 06:32 PM
 
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I've always had a strong immune system. I've only had one cold since I was pg, and it didn't last too long. But I did feel worse during it than I normally do.

Your immune system is weaker during pregnancy, because of changes to it to accomodate the baby. Your immune system has to change so it doesn't reject the babe as a foreign body. At least that's what I've heard.
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Old 09-30-2005, 07:05 PM
 
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It is indeed as missbliss explained. From very early on the hormones will slightly depress the immune system, so that your white blood cells don't attack the developing embryo and allow it to attach (better burrow) in the lining of your uterus.
Some women actually have such a powerful immune response in pregnancy that they have fertility issues because of it, and they can be helped with immuno-suppressant drugs.
On the other hand researchers are working on a method that can utilize the immune system as a form of birth control (a birth control immunization if you will).
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Old 09-30-2005, 07:51 PM
 
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Yup, that is my understanding as well. We suppress the immune response to accomodate the growth of the baby, whose body has foreign surface antigens.

I also do not think we are more susceptible to disease, but when we do have it, the severity is greater if that makes any sense.

ND

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Old 09-30-2005, 08:24 PM
 
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Just like the pps said, it's supressed so your baby isn't seen as a foreign object. I got a couple of colds while I was sick and it would take a good 7 days before I even started to feel better, and this was with me eating very well and doing lots of stuff to boost my immune system. I got a cold last week and I was completely well after 4 days. It's much nicer to be sick when you aren't pregnant, but still hard being a mom and trying not to get your baby sick.
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Old 10-01-2005, 05:39 AM
 
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Both times I've gotten pregnant, it was during or just after being sick. I've often wondered (b/c we had difficulty conceiving due to endo) if it was being sick that actually allowed me to get pregnant in the first place.

I didn't realize that pregnancy supressed the immune system. I thought all the worry about exposure to germs and illness were b/c of the affect it could have on the unborn baby.

Christa
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Old 10-01-2005, 05:46 AM
 
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Someone I respect very highly on these forums who knows a ton about the immune system was saying just the other day that a pg woman's immune system is at 50% of norm.
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Old 10-01-2005, 05:55 AM
 
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Very interesting about the suppressed immune system. Surprising, because I've always felt I get sick less during pregnancy.
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Old 10-01-2005, 08:58 AM
 
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See, I guess this is what I am really curious about. We've established that the immune system is depressed by pregnancy. But are you more likely to get ill? Do pregnant women take such better care of themselves while pregnant that they get sick less, or does this lessened immune function somehow mostly affect the ability to not reject the pregnancy, and not whether you get sick or not? I find this sort of thing interesting, but I know very little of the actual science of it. Does anyone else?
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Old 10-01-2005, 10:17 AM
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Our immune systems are suppressed in the baby's interest, so we don't "attack" the fetus. Also, so much of immune response and antibody production depends on making a bunch of things really fast (various WBC's and macrophages and so on), and your body is already so busy with cell multiplication...my understanding is that it can be sort of a drain on resources, and that's why infections are harder to fight off.

What you are asking, missbliss, is a good question. I have also not gotten sick much. I don't know why! Part of it is that i've been much more careful than i otherwise would have been.

K
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Old 10-01-2005, 08:16 PM
 
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: What everyone else said... less likely to be very sick when preggers. I'd be curious to see the results to a scientific study.
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Old 10-02-2005, 09:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the responses.
I guess I always hated hearing that becuase I felt it was the medical establishments way of saying that being pg was an illness : Rather than a normal physical condition
It makes sense though that it is compromised to take care of the baby. Just so weird for me since I am generally a healthy person, I rarely get sick when I am not pg but have only gotten sick once in 4 pregnancies and that was a sinus infection when I was on bedrest with #2.
Good info

Thanks,
Keri

 Keri wife and Mama to  Cory 17,  Brendan 15,  Kerianne 8,  Avery 7,  Lilia 3
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Old 10-03-2005, 12:48 PM
 
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I wonder if your actual immune system might be lower, but you digestion of important vitamins and minerals is better so they somewhat equal out.

I also know some women do change thier diet/lifestyle quite a bit when they get pregnant and that would have some effect.

I am rarely sick pregnant or other wise, but I had one terrible illness (both achey, GI illnesses) with both of my first pregnancies. Those two were some of the times I have been the sickest in my life.
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