Do you know your normal body temperature when pregnant – can be much higher than it was pre-pregnancy? Do you know about keeping your pregnancy temperature in check?
Most experts confirm that not everyone has a normal body temperature of 98.6 deg F. Some people tend to run a little warmer than normal even when they are healthy. In contrast, others tend to be a little cooler. If you have a good idea of your normal baseline temperature, it is important to know: It is usually a little higher during pregnancy.
There are quite a few factors that go into this temperature increase. But it can happen, and it does happen with many women. Here is what you need to know about a normal pregnancy temperature, plus what it means for you.
What’s Considered a Normal Body Temperature When Pregnant?
Your normal body temperature might rise during pregnancy, but it is unlikely to be a huge increase. So what is a normal body temperature for a woman who is pregnant? Experts say it could rise about 0.2 degrees F. For instance, if your baseline body temperature pre-pregnancy was 98.2, your body temperature when pregnant could be 98.4. Most doctors believe this is normal.
So the question is – why is your pregnancy temperature different from your pre-pregnancy body temp? It rises slightly when you are pregnant. This happens due to the increase in your body’s blood volume to meet the demands of your growing baby. Due to this increase in volume and the increase in your body metabolism, your core temperature rises.
Particularly in the first trimester, your early pregnancy temperature range starts to be higher. But slowly, it falls as your pregnancy progresses. If you were using your basal body temperature to track your ovulation, you might have noticed that it rises slightly and stays elevated even after you conceive.
According to studies, your body temperature is highest in the first trimester or during early pregnancy. Also, keep in mind that your core body temperature will increase more easily during the later phase of your pregnancy. Especially when you exercise or are out and stay in hot weather.
All this does not mean that your normal body temperature has risen. No, don’t panic. Your core body temperature has a range, and it will not exceed that temperature. The truth is that it goes up only slightly during pregnancy. Moreover, it is also difficult to determine the exact number for your new pregnancy temperature. There is nothing to worry about as the change in temperature really isn’t significant.
Dangers of a High Body Temperature When Pregnant
Fever and illness might happen, but you need to be extra careful not to develop a fever or let it persist during pregnancy. This is because if your internal temperature becomes too high, especially during your first trimester, it can increase the risk of miscarriage. It could also lead to other neural tube defects and developmental problems in the fetus. There are also chances of developing cleft lip and palate and congenital heart defects in the fetus.
In fact, if your body temperature goes above 38.9°C or more – even for 10 minutes, it can be dangerous. The elevated heat might cause serious problems with the fetus. Overheating, especially in the first trimester, can unfortunately, lead to neural tube defects and miscarriage. Elevated heat later in the pregnancy could lead to dehydration.
In summary, you have to do what you can to avoid raising your body temperature when pregnant. That could include avoiding the use of a sauna or hot tub, taking a piping hot bath or being outside for too long on very hot days.
However, you are allowed to use a heating pad on localized areas, like your legs, back, or feet. These localized heating should not increase your core body temperature. Just use these for not more than 15 minutes, and make sure the pad is below 100 deg F.
Fever During Pregnancy
When pregnant, it can be hard to tell whether you are actually running a fever or just have a little hot body. Like most expectant moms, you may be feeling flushed or extra toasty. You might even experience the occasional hot flash – all this happens because of the hormonal swings and the fetus radiates heat as they grow.
Hence during such a condition, you exactly need to know all about fevers – including what is considered a fever in expectant women. Moreover, you should also know what medicine you can take and the importance of checking the condition with your doctor or gynecologist. All this is done to minimize any potential risks that a fever might cause to you and your growing baby.
What is Considered a Fever During Pregnancy?
When it comes to fever, the thermometer indicates the severity of your symptoms. Generally, the rule is the same even for pregnant women. A temperature of 100 or 101 deg F is considered a fever. If your body temperature reaches 101 deg F, call your doctor immediately, even if it is at night.
If you are not experiencing any cold or flu symptoms and you still have a fever of 100 deg F, start bringing it down right away with common medicine. Call your doctor even at night, and do not wait the next morning.
Otherwise, if you have a low-grade fever or temp that is under 100 deg F – it isn’t anything to worry about when you are expecting. It is also something you should not worry about. All you need to do is to keep an eye on the thermometer to make sure the numbers do not go up suddenly.
What Can Cause a Fever During Pregnancy?
You can develop a fever during pregnancy for quite a few reasons. Some of these possible causes of fever during pregnancy might include:
1 The common cold. During pregnancy, you are more likely to suffer from common viral infections like cold or cough. That is because your immune system undergoes changes during this period in order to protect your fetus. Which is an outsider but is not rejected. The result could mean colder – which is not so good news for your sinuses.
2 The flu. As with colds, you also have an increased risk of catching the flu. Probably because your immune system changes during pregnancy. That is the reason why it is so important for expectant moms to take a flu shot. You might have low-grade fevers as a result of a benign viral infection like a cold, while high fevers might be a symptom of the flu. Flu symptoms could also include body aches and chills, in addition to a fever.
3 Bacterial infections. Sometimes, you can also have a fever caused by a bacterial infection. For example, a urinary tract infection, kidney infection or strep throat, all of which might require antibiotics.
4 Listeriosis. Although the chances of being infected with listeriosis are very rare, you are at greater risk during pregnancy. Hence pregnant women should avoid eating raw fish, meat and unpasteurized cheese. This would avoid exposure to listeria bacteria which can also cause a high fever.
5 COVID-19. Your fever can also be a symptom of COVID-19, the illness caused by the Coronavirus. If you think you may have been exposed or affected by COVID-19, call your doctor immediately. As pregnant women are at increased risk for complications from the disease.
What the Research Says – Normal Body Temperature
Medical research shows that if your body gets overheated during pregnancy, it can put your baby at risk. Health guidelines advise that – you should not get your core body temperature over 102 deg F as it can be too hot for your little one.
But at the same time, we have read that it is normal to feel somewhat warmer when you are pregnant. There are several body changes during pregnancy that can slightly raise your body temperature. And this condition is completely fine. It is also when you are exposed to too much heat that you can feel unwell. It can also affect how your little one develops.
According to medical studies – heat stress can cause problems with how the baby’s spinal cord and backbones develop. Such kinds of complications called neural tube defects.
Interestingly, even though you may feel hotter, it is not easy to raise your body temperature to harmful levels, even during pregnancy.
Why Do You Feel Hotter During Pregnancy?
That pregnancy glow is only a part of the big show. Every stage of pregnancy will keep slightly raising your body temperature. Your skin may feel warmer to the touch. You are likely to sweat more and may even have more night sweats. But it is all normal pregnancy symptoms.
At the beginning of your pregnancy, new hormones will normally work to help keep everything humming along smoothly. These hormonal changes will slowly raise your body temperature a small amount at a time. Plus, they will sometimes cause side effects like headaches and morning sickness.
There are a whole lot of other changes that happen as your body prepares to grow and nourish the baby. Your body will require more blood to carry food and oxygen to your new life. In fact, your blood volume will increase by up to 50 percent once you reach the 34th week of pregnancy.
The heart assists up by working harder than it usually does. By the time you reach the eighth week of pregnancy, your heart is pumping blood 20 percent faster than normal. A higher heart rate raises metabolism, which automatically spikes your body temperature.
Blood vessels all over your body widen to deliver this increased volume of blood. This includes the blood vessels near your skin. As a result, more blood flows to your skin, causing you to flush and glow and make you feel warmer.
By the third trimester, you carry your baby – meaning you carry around your personal built-in heater. Your growing baby gives off body heat that you absorb. Thus making you feel hotter from the inside out. And if you are pregnant with twins? Yes, you have two little portable heaters inside you!