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Fever During Pregnancy: Causes, Complications And Risk For Baby

HealthcareOnTime Team 2023-08-03 2023-08-07 3 Min Read
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  • Fever During  Pregnancy and Effect On Baby

    Although pregnancy is a joyful adventure that helps bring a new life into the world, expectant mothers may also experience several hardships. From physical changes to frequent mood swings to breathing and moving difficulties, pregnancy has its downsides along with its perks too. Fever during pregnancy is also another major concern that must be understood in order to safeguard the health of both the mother and the unborn child. 

    Did you know: 

    • Pregnant women are usually discouraged from resorting to medications to bring down fever. 
    • Several research cites that taking antibiotics or other medications to manage fever might impact the pregnant woman and her child. However, persistent fever, when left untreated, can be equally harmful. 

    What is Considered a Fever During Pregnancy?

    Experiencing a Sensation of Fever, an Early Pregnancy Symptom. A fever is a rise in body temperature over the normal range. The normal body temperature is around 37°C. During pregnancy, a temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or above is recognised as a fever. It is crucial to monitor fever during early pregnancy as quickly as possible for the holistic well-being of women and children. If left untreated, it can lead to a number of health hazards for the mother and baby.

    What can cause a Fever during Pregnancy?

    Fever during pregnancy first trimester, second trimester, and third trimester can be triggered by several factors, including:

    • Infections: Fever from viral or bacterial illnesses is frequently experienced by pregnant women. Some infections may be more challenging to treat during pregnancy because of the immune system's natural modifications.
    • Maternal Conditions: Specific underlying medical conditions, such as autoimmune disorders, might cause fever in early pregnancy. These conditions must be closely watched and handled to lessen the risk to the mother and foetus.
    • Heat Exhaustion: In hot weather, pregnant women are more susceptible to heat exhaustion, which might present with symptoms resembling a fever. Keep yourself hydrated and away from the sun for extended periods of time to prevent this condition.
    • Medications: Some medications have fever as a side effect. Pregnant women should always seek the advice of a healthcare expert before taking any medications to prevent any potential risks to the developing foetus.
    • Listeriosis: This bacterial infection can be contracted through contaminated food, leading to fever, muscle aches, and gastrointestinal distress. Pregnant women are at a heightened risk, emphasizing the importance of food safety during pregnancy.
    • COVID-19: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus has raised additional concerns for pregnant women. COVID-19 can lead to fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, among other symptoms. Pregnant individuals are urged to take extra precautions to minimize the risk of exposure to the virus, as they might be at a slightly higher risk of severe illness compared to non-pregnant individuals. Additionally, considering an at-home COVID-19 test could provide a convenient way for pregnant individuals to monitor their health and take necessary actions promptly.
    • Flu (Influenza): Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a viral respiratory infection that can lead to fever, body aches, chills, and other symptoms. Pregnant women are considered more vulnerable to severe complications from the flu due to changes in the immune and respiratory systems during pregnancy. Fever resulting from the flu can potentially lead to dehydration and affect the overall well-being of both the mother and the baby. The flu vaccine is generally recommended for pregnant women to reduce the risk of infection and related complications.

    How to Manage Fever During Pregnancy?

    Wondering how to treat fever during pregnancy? When a pregnant woman has a fever, it is crucial to approach therapies cautiously to ensure the safety of both the mother and the unborn child. The following home remedies for fever during pregnancy can be used to lessen pregnancy-related fever:

    • Stay Hydrated: Drink a lot of drinks to avoid dehydration, which can make a fever worse and cause problems.
    • Rest: Prioritize rest to allow your body to combat the infection. Avoid overexertion.
    • Acetaminophen: Acetaminophen (also known as paracetamol) is a generally safe option for managing fever during pregnancy. It can help relieve minor pain and reduce fever. However, it's crucial to consult a doctor before taking any medication, even if it's over-the-counter.
    • Avoid NSAIDs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and aspirin are only two examples that need to be avoided when pregnant, especially in fever during pregnancy third trimester, because they could be dangerous to the unborn child.

    What Can Be Done to Prevent Fever during Pregnancy?

    A few proactive steps can be taken to protect the mother's and the unborn child's health by preventing fever during pregnancy:

    • Practise Good Hygiene: You can lessen your risk of catching an infection by often washing your hands and avoiding sick people.
    • Get Vaccinated: Verifying that all vaccinations are up to date before getting pregnant will aid in preventing many illnesses that could result in fever.
    • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: A balanced diet, regular exercise (as directed by a healthcare practitioner), and adequate rest all help to strengthen the immune system.
    • Stay Cool: When it's hot outside, avoid the sun and take the required safety measures to avoid heat exhaustion.

    How will Fever during Pregnancy Affect My Baby?

    Pregnancy comes with its own set of challenges and persistent fever can be one of the key challenges. It can be physically and emotionally overwhelming for the mothers and have potential risks for the foetus too. 

    • Birth Defects - Fever during pregnancy in the first trimester may cause congenital irregularities, such as oral clefts, congenital heart defects, and neural tube defects, etc. However, there are no concrete and conclusive studies that foster a strong link between fever during pregnancy and congenital irregularities. 
    • Preterm Birth - A prolonged fever might induce early labour and delivery, and lead to complications for the unborn child.
    • Low Birth Weight - Though there is not enough scientific evidence, in certain cases, low birth weight of newborns has been linked to fever during pregnancy. 
    • Developmental Delays - High fever during pregnancy has been linked to neurological issues or developmental delays in the unborn child. Some studies report that fever during the second trimester may lead newborns to have autism and other developmental delay disabilities. 

    Note From HealthcareOnTime

    A prompt diagnosis and proper treatment are required for pregnancy-related fever in order to safeguard the health of both the mother and the unborn child. It is essential to comprehend the likely causes and effects of fever during pregnancy in order to adopt preventive measures and seek immediate medical assistance when necessary.

    During pregnancy, a range of blood tests is available to proactively identify and mitigate potential risks. HealthcareOnTime, in collaboration with Thyrocare, offers comprehensive Testing in pregnancy that can uncover hidden infections or concerns, providing peace of mind.

    Always remember, for specialized guidance and care, if you are concerned about fever or other health issues while pregnant, consulting a healthcare professional is essential. Your health and the health of your baby deserve the utmost attention and care.


    Ref Links: 

    • https://utswmed.org/medblog/nsaid-warning-fda-pregnancy/
    • https://www.medicinesinpregnancy.org/medicine--pregnancy/paracetamol/
    • https://www.babycenter.com/pregnancy/health-and-safety/fever-in-pregnancy_40008522

    FAQs Around Fever In Pregnancy

    Is fever a symptom of pregnancy?

    Yes, feeling feverish can be an early pregnancy symptom.

    How to break a fever during pregnancy?

    Drink plenty of water, rest, and take acetaminophen as prescribed by your doctor.

    Does fever affect pregnancy?

    Yes, a fever during pregnancy may have an impact on the developing foetus.


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