Fever during pregnancy – Can fever cause birth defects?
When you get a fever during pregnancy, you’ll have the same normal signs—high temperature, sweating, shivering, headache, muscle aches, dehydration, and fatigue. There’s a theory that an increased core temperature, whether from a fever or a dip in the hot tub, can cause neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.
In theory, high temps at a certain point, very early in pregnancy (we’re talking in the first five to six weeks after conception) could cause the tube to form incorrectly. But that’s just a theory; it’s never been proven. Lots of women have fevers throughout their pregnancies, and their babies turn out just fine.
It is never normal to get a fever or chills if you are pregnant. If you have these symptoms, you may have a disease that is foreign to your pregnancy. A gynecologist from Mount Kisco, NY, and co-author of the upcoming book V is for Vagina. “It is easier to get sick if you are pregnant because your immune system is naturally suppressed, but some more serious conditions that are directly related to pregnancy can also cause these symptoms”. Read our pregnancy related guides for more information about diseases and conditions that are to blame, as well as about when to call your doctor.
The next important step is to identify the cause of the fever. Fever during pregnancy is usually a symptom of an underlying condition that may be harmful to your growing baby.
How does fever affect my baby?
If a pregnant woman’s body temperature goes from 98.6 degrees to a fever, this is a sign that she is fighting an infection. That is why it is essential to look for treatment quickly.
A new study on animal embryos shows a link between fever in early pregnancy and an increased risk of heart and jaw deformities at birth. Further research is needed to determine whether the fever itself – and not the infection that caused it – increases the risk of congenital abnormalities in humans.
Are you are in your first trimester and have a fever of more than 102 degrees, you should seek treatment immediately. This can help to prevent short-term and long-term complications for your developing baby.
Causes of fever during pregnancy
Some other conditions can cause fever during pregnancy. Some of them are:
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Gastrointestinal viruses (stomach flu)
- The flu is also known as the flu
- Upper respiratory tract infections are more commonly known as colds
These conditions are common and can usually be treated with medication and rest. Fever may indicate some more severe conditions, which occur less frequently but are potentially dangerous.
Ways To Deal With Fever During Pregnancy:
Once your healthcare provider confirms that your temperature is not a concern, you can try some simple ways to bring the fever down
- Stay in a cool area. Remain in an airy place. Turn on an overhead or vertical fan and rest near it.
- Consume plenty of fluids. Stay hydrated. Drink cool, non-carbonated fluids such as electrolyte replacement or water-based flavored drinks — juices such as lemonade help in lowering your body temperature and regaining lost glucose and electrolytes.
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes. Do not overdress yourself. Cotton clothes assist in proper air circulation. If you are feeling cold, then cover yourself with a light sheet.
- Take a warm wash or sponge bath. It helps in lowering your temperature. Do not use cold water.
How to prevent fever during pregnancy
Prevention can be the best medicine! Sometimes you cannot prevent fever if you are pregnant because of extreme hormonal imbalances and low immunity, but here are some tips to reduce the risk of getting one:
- Consume the required amount of vitamin C
- Wash your hands regularly with soap
- Make sure you’re vaccinated, vaccines help prevent flu-like the H1N1 flu
- Avoid unpasteurized milk
- Avoid allergy-specific foods
Have you announced your pregnancy yet?
If not, here are a few creative ideas for pregnancy announcement: