Fever During Pregnancy – Is it Normal?

fever during pregnancy

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As a pregnant woman, even the slightest of unusuality in your body is bound to put you in worry. The common flu and fever you got rid of with an over-the-counter medicine would seem rather serious during pregnancy and here we are to help you get rid of the overthinking. Here’s everything you need to know about fever during pregnancy!

As an expecting mother, first things first, let’s put this out there: it is common to feel a little too hot and a little too warm than before. The heat may not even always be fever and might just be a pregnancy-common hot flash owing to the mood swings and monumental hormonal changes your body is going through. Having said that, it is also extremely important to know the difference between a hot flash and a fever and how to not assume one for another.

In this blog, we will talk about what is considered a fever during pregnancy, what medicines are considered safe, and how to not let a pregnancy temperature impact the baby baking inside of you. Let’s begin, shall we?

What is considered as fever during pregnancy?

100-101 degree Fahrenheit: Fever during the term of pregnancy typically runs by the same rules as fever for a non-pregnant person. The higher the number on the thermometer, the more severe the fever. Going by the statement, if you record a temperature above 100 or 101 degrees Fahrenheit, you are running a fever and it is recommended to call your doctor immediately- do not worry about the time of the day.

100-degree Fahrenheit: If your temperature, on the other hand, has already reached 100-degree Fahrenheit but without any symptoms of a common cold or flu, pop a Tylenol and to first bring the fever down and then speak to your doctor immediately.

Less than 100-degree Fahrenheit: In a third case scenario, if your fever is less than F 100 degrees, it typically is nothing to be worried about as it could just be a low-grade fever. But in a situation like such, it is recommended to keep a close eye, to not ignore the temperature, and to keep monitoring the degrees every couple of hours. If it goes beyond the safe less-than-100 mark, you already know what to do.

What causes fever during pregnancy?

A temperature during pregnancy is caused due to reasons pretty much the same as a non-pregnancy fever. Some possible reasons may include-

  • Common cold

As a pregnant woman, you can expect yourself to be more vulnerable to common viral infections as your immune system will be working hard to protect the fetus. Hence, more colds and more chances of running a random cold-associated temperature.

  • Common flu

While a low-grade fever can be reasoned with the common cold, a high fever may be the symptom of the flu. It should be noted that a fever caused by the common cold can be differentiated from a fever caused by flu by paying close attention to what your body feels like. Flu will typically be accompanied by not only fever but also severe body aches and chills. Your doctor will most likely suggest a flu shot during your prenatal appointments for this reason.

  • Bacterial infections

An underlying bacterial infection like UTI or respiratory infections can also at times be the cause of fever and can be treated with simple antibiotics assigned by your healthcare provider.

  • Listeriosis

Listeriosis, a foodborne infection caused by the bacteria listeria poses a major threat to pregnant women as they are at greater risk of contracting the infection during the term. Listeriosis does not only cause fever but can also, in fact, cause a miscarriage in extreme cases. This is also why expecting women are advised not to eat raw meat, fish, and unpasteurized cheese as these foods may expose them to listeria.

  • COVID-19

Fever is one of the first symptoms of CVOD-19, typically followed by a sore and itchy throat. Though there haven’t been cases of COVID-19 being transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby, pregnant women are at increased risk for complications from the disease. Reach out to your doctor if you have even the slightest of doubts about suffering from CVOID 19.

How long can a fever last during pregnancy?

The duration of fever in pregnancy depends on the cause of the fever. A fever caused due to common flu may go away within 4 days but fever caused due to viral infection may last longer. If your temperature shoots beyond 100, it is a good idea to get in touch with your doctor right away.

What medicine is safe for consumption for fever in pregnancy?

If you have not been able to get in touch with your doctor and want to bring down your fever safely during pregnancy, popping a Tylenol is a safe option. It should be noted that while Tylenol (acetaminophen) is safe during pregnancy, aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) should not be taken unless prescribed by a doctor.

Alternatively, you may also want to take a warm bath, drink plenty of water (to avoid dehydration), and keep your clothing and covers light.

How can I prevent running a fever during pregnancy?

The most fool-proof method of avoiding temperature during pregnancy is to get a flu shot. Other general recommendations include painting good hygiene (washing hands regularly and rigorously), avoiding contact with sick people and wearing a mask + maintaining social distancing in times of Corona.

Can you get a fever in the first trimester or early pregnancy?

Yes, you can contract fever anytime during pregnancy, including early pregnancy. However, fever is not something to be particularly worried about since one-third of pregnant women are known to get a fever at some point during the term and still deliver healthy babies.

That said, it should be noted that a high fever in early pregnancy can be riskier than fever in later stage pregnancy. As per a study’s findings published in the Journal Pediatrics, fever, especially in the first trimester, was associated with various birth defects, the severity varying the basis of fever’s source, severity, frequency, treatment, and other subjective factors.

Final Thoughts: What effects can a fever have on my pregnancy?

Fever and high body temperature during pregnancy typically do not pose any serious effect on the baby, especially fever that is under 100 degrees F. A high-temperature, however, may cause some unsolicited complications and this is why it is important to reach out to your healthcare provider without delay.

A couple of available studies also associated untreated high fever with an increased risk of autism in babies, however, the chances are slim and a lot more research is still due to draw a definite conclusion. As a final word, take care of yourself, supplementing your body with a shot and prenatal vitamins, maintaining good hygiene, eating well, and keeping an eye out for even the slightest increase in body temperature could be your safest defense against temperature during pregnancy.

Fever During Pregnancy : FAQs

1) What are neural tube defects?

Neural tube defects or NTDs are defined as serious defects in a baby's spine and rain from birth. In order to avoid such defects, the centers for disease control advises all women of reproductive age to consume at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid and food with folate from varied diets every day.

2) Does maternal fever cause neural tube defects?

A study from the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that "women who reported having a fever before or during early pregnancy were more likely to have a baby with neural tube defects such as spina bifida."

3) Does fever during pregnancy affect the baby?

As per studies conducted on animal embryos, there has been established a possible link between early maternal fever and an increased risk of heart and jaw defects in the baby at birth. However, not enough studies have been conducted to draw a definite answer to his question. It also needs to be determined if it is the fever itself that causes birth defects or if it is the underlying fever-causing infection to be blamed.

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