Here's Why Early Pregnancy Makes You Want To Pile On The Blankets
If you can't stop shivering in early pregnancy, you can blame those pesky hormones.
The first trimester of pregnancy is usually pretty rough. Everyone knows about the most common signs, like nausea, vomiting, headaches — and the constant need to pee — but many people don't realize that the first few months of pregnancy can involve so many other weird issues, like congestion and bleeding gums. Can early pregnancy even make you feel cold? According to some women, yes; and experts say there’s a reason why.
Is being cold a sign of pregnancy?
The short answer is yes, being cold can be a sign of pregnancy, because your body temperature can be affected by hormones and pregnancy means a huge hormonal shift.
“Progesterone is the hormone in pregnancy that makes you feel cold,” Dr. Alan Lindemann, OB-GYN, tells Romper.
“Usually, the temperature rise is one half to one degree, say from 97 to 98. As your body heat rises, you might feel cooler because of the increasing difference between your body temperature and the environment.”
“The body temperature control system may be sometimes too efficient at cooling the warm pregnant body,” Dr. Zaher Merhi, board-certified OB-GYN and the founder of Rejuvenating Fertility Center, tells Romper. “The body tries to regulate its own temperature by sweating, causing a person to breathe faster and motivating them to wear less clothing and seek cooler spaces. All of these could make a person feel cold."
Feeling cold during each trimester
If it's just standard pregnancy chills, it probably won't even last very long. Dr. Katherine L. Palmerola, board-certified OB-GYN, tells Romper, "Temperature fluctuations in pregnant women are very common and related to the hormone changes — often most prominent in the first trimester. By the second trimester, hormones tend to stabilize and pregnancy symptoms — whether nausea or temperature changes — significantly improve."
Can feeling cold during pregnancy be a sign that something’s wrong?
If you just find yourself feeling extra cold once in a while, Merhi says it's probably nothing to worry about. "When [the cold feeling] persists for a long time, it might be a sign that the body has trouble warming itself," he adds.
If you find yourself constantly shivering no matter what you do or where you are, it's something you'll want to bring up to your personal OB-GYN. Palmerola points out that it could be due to thyroid fluctuations, which are common and can vary from trimester to trimester, but it could also be a sign of something bigger. "Cold sensitivity may indicate hypothyroidism — low thyroid levels," she says. "Your thyroid levels can be easily checked with a blood test and treated with thyroid medication which is safe for pregnancy and will lower your risk of pregnancy complications."
Merhi agrees that if the coldness isn't going away, you should bring it up to your doctor — it could be more than just excess blood flow or thyroid fluctuations. "In some instances, it may also be a sign of an underlying medical condition, including low blood pressure, anemia, or infection, especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms such as chills, abnormal vaginal discharge, severe abdominal pain, etc.," Merhi says. That's an important reminder to always fill your doctor in on any new symptom you experience, even if you think it sounds silly. "A small battery of tests may be enough to catch your condition early on and help you navigate safely through pregnancy," Merhi points out.
What are some safe ways to warm up during pregnancy?
While ordinarily you might reach for the electric blanket or run a steaming hot bath to feel warm again, most experts warn against these types of heat sources during pregnancy, as a body temperature that’s too high for too long can cause a variety of different problems for mother and child. Your safest bet is to wear layered clothing, so you can always take off or add a layer depending on your temperature fluctuations, and to have lots of regular, non-electric blankets on hand.
Dr. Alan Lindemann, OB-GYN
Dr. Zaher Merhi, MD, HCLD, FACOG, board-certified OB-GYN, and the founder of Rejuvenating Fertility Center
This article was originally published on