First of all, If you have a fever during pregnancy, it is essential to take it seriously. Remember that fever due to bacteria or viruses during pregnancy can be serious for both the mother and the newborn. A study by Boston University found that women who reported having a fever just before or at the beginning of pregnancy were more likely to have a 'neural tube defect' in their newborns. A neural tube defect (1) is a congenital disability involving the brain or spinal cord, which can occur in the first month of pregnancy.
Fever in pregnancy can also indicate a viral infection. Viral infections like CMV, rubella, herpes, etc., can affect the baby and cause teratogenicity or growth restriction. Find out the connection between pregnancy and fever and essential information related to it in this article from MomJunction. First of all, we are going to talk about fever in detail.
What is fever?
When the body temperature is higher than normal, it is called fever. The average temperature of each person can be different from one another, but scientifically it is considered to be around 98.6 Fahrenheit. One thing is clear fever is not a disease. It signifies your body is trying to fight off some disease or infection.
Read also: Pregnancy Exercises for Normal Delivery.
Is fever a sign of pregnancy?
Fever can be a sign of pregnancy. This is because, during ovulation, there is an increase in body temperature, which is called basal body temperature (BBT). If periods do not come until two weeks after the due date and the basal body temperature remains high during ovulation (about .5 Fahrenheit higher than average body temperature), it may be a sign of pregnancy. Thus based on BBT, it can be ascertained that the woman has reached the early stage of her pregnancy.
Causes of fever in pregnancy
The immune system weakens in pregnancy, as it has to do extra work to protect both the mother and the baby. During this, the body becomes susceptible and can be prone to infection, which can show up as a fever. Through the points given below, know about the most important reasons that usually cause fever during pregnancy:
1. Cold or Influenza
A cold during pregnancy, which is usually an influenza viral infection, can cause fever during pregnancy. During this, a runny nose, cough and sore throat may occur. It usually gets better in 3-4 days, but if the problem continues for a long time, then contact the doctor immediately.
2. Gastroenteritis (or stomach infection)
Viruses and some bacteria mainly cause gastroenteritis. It comes with symptoms like vomiting, diarrhoea and fever. This problem can also happen to pregnant woman have serious consequences.
Effect on baby due to fever in pregnancy
Fever in pregnancy can prove to be fatal not only for the mother but also for the baby. Through the points given below, know how fever during pregnancy can hurt the baby:
1. Impairment of fetal development – Hyperthermia (abnormally raised body temperature) during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage or may hinder fetal development. Fever during pregnancy is especially associated with congenital malformations.
2. Risk of oral clefts – According to a study, having a fever in pregnancy increases the risk of oral clefts (upper lip coming into contact with the nose) in babies. However, antipyretics (medicines to reduce fever) can reduce its harmful effects (12). However, you should consult the doctor first.
3. Risk of congenital disabilities (teratogens) – A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that women who develop a fever during or just before early pregnancy have an increased risk of congenital disabilities in their newborn
How to deal with fever in pregnancy
Fever can occur in pregnancy, so don't worry too much about it. Keep a thermometer at home and keep checking your temperature. Contact your doctor immediately if it is much higher than the average body temperature (98.6 F). In the beginning, you can reduce the rising fever by adopting the following simple methods.
1. Wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothes. Cotton clothes will be more suitable for you. If you feel cold, you can wear a sheet or blanket.
2. It is essential to keep yourself hydrated during this time. Keep drinking water in between
3. Give rest to the body as much as possible. You can also feel dizzy due to a fever, so do not move much.
4. Try to stay in a well-ventilated room.
5. Consult your doctor if you notice any specific symptoms.
Home remedies to reduce fever in pregnancy
Natural remedies can be adopted to reduce fever in pregnancy. It is also helpful in the common cold, flu and some infections. You need to remember that these are not medical treatments, so they should be chosen according to the symptoms of the problem.
1. Tulsi tea – Tulsi is consumed to relieve many problems during pregnancy. In case of fever, boil four to five basil leaves in a cup of water for two to three minutes and drink it when it cools down slightly. Anti fever property of basil will work to get rid of fever during pregnancy.
2. Fenugreek water – You can use fenugreek seeds to eliminate fever in pregnancy. For this, you put a spoonful of fenugreek seeds in a cup of water, keep it overnight, and drink the water after filtering it in the morning. Consumption of fenugreek during pregnancy is considered safe.
3. Sufficient water – To reduce fever during pregnancy, you should drink water in between so that you stay entirely hydrated.
Precautions to avoid fever in pregnancy
Know below which things are important to keep in mind to avoid fever in pregnancy:
1. Pay special attention to diet. You should add fruit and vegetables in your diet. Also, during this time, take the doctor's information related to the right diet.
2. To avoid any infection, keep yourself clean and wash your hands in between.
3. Get regular medical checkups done.
4. If you want, you can check the body temperature with a thermometer in between.
In case of any discomfort, contact the doctor immediately.
Key Takeaways of Fever in Pregnancy
Fevers are not something serious. But you must talk to a doctor if you have a fever during your pregnancy time to know the underlying cause. In this article, we have tried to provide you with all the possible things related to pregnancy-related fever. We have talked about the precautions and home remedies for fever during pregnancy.