Health

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Oh Yeah, Being Pregnant *Totally* Raises Your Body's Temp

If you find yourself sweating a little more than usual and downing the ice water, you're not alone.

Whether it’s your first pregnancy or you’ve had a few, you know just how many changes your body goes through to make a little human. One of them is feeling pretty consistently warm. But does your temperature go up during pregnancy, or are you dreaming it?

Jason Van Bennekom, M.D., board-certified OB-GYN at Baptist Health, tells Romper in an interview that yes, your body temp does rise during pregnancy. “As early as the first trimester, we see changes in metabolism that can raise body temperature by roughly a degree,” he says. “This is because of a combination of factors, including hormonal effects, increases in heart rate, and increases in resting metabolism. But it is also due to the extra work of carrying a developing baby, and even the heat being generated by the baby himself or herself. In addition to eating and resting ‘for two,’ pregnant moms are essentially ‘sweating for two’ also, since babies can only dispose of the heat they generate through mom.”

So between hormones and your body working harder, even at rest, it’s natural to feel a little warmer than usual. But pregnant parents and their partners should know that running an actual fever is not normal.

“A slight rise in temperature is normal, but it is still not normal to have an actual fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater,” says Sarah Elizabeth Little, M.D., OB-GYN at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, in an interview with Romper. “Fevers may be a sign of an underlying infection, and pregnant women should contact their provider whenever they have a fever. Higher core body temperatures from any cause — especially greater than 102 — can be associated with an increased risk for miscarriage or certain birth defects.”

Sound familiar? Those concerns about high temps potentially causing birth defects are why pregnant women are advised to avoid hot tubs. Little advises that you should always call your doctor right away if you are experiencing a fever while pregnant, even if you feel fine otherwise.

Jose Nieves-Melendez, M.D., OB-GYN at Baptist Health in Jacksonville, Florida, says in an interview with Romper that pregnant women are at higher risk of complications from urinary tract infections (UTIs) and the flu, which is another reason doctors take fevers to seriously in moms-to-be.

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“Given the higher rate of complications related to influenza during pregnancy, pregnant patients may be offered treatment regardless of the influenza test results due to high false negative rate of the test. Also, experiencing urinary symptoms while having a fever is highly suggestive of a complicated urinary tract infection, which is associated with significantly higher morbidity for both baby and mother during pregnancy,” he explains.

Nieves-Melendez says experiencing these other symptoms with a fever are also red flags, and should prompt you to get in touch with your OB:

  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Decreased fetal movement, especially after 28 weeks gestation
  • Vaginal bleeding or abnormal discharge
  • Shortness of breath
  • Body aches or joint pain

Van Bennekom says the best thing a mom-to-be can do to feel comfortable during her temperature fluctuations is to make some lifestyle changes.

“In general, avoiding overly warm environments is advised,” he says. “Avoid prolonged sun exposure, hydrate well, and rest when necessary. Loose clothing tends to be more comfortable than tight clothing. Moms might also want to minimize caffeine and spicy foods, as these may also worsen the feeling of being overheated.”

So keep that water bottle close and maybe invest in a personal fan. Like most symptoms, this one will go away soon enough.

Sources:

Jason Van Bennekom, M.D., board-certified OB-GYN at Baptist Health in Jacksonville, Florida

Sarah Elizabeth Little, M.D., OB-GYN at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School

Jose Nieves-Melendez, M.D., OB-GYN at Baptist Health in Jacksonville, Florida