Fever During Pregnancy

image001Fever during pregnancy is always a red flag and it is highly recommended to consult your primary care physician at earliest convenience. The symptoms may suggest minor ailments (such as common cold) but may also indicate a minor presentation of a much grave issue.

There are several strategies that can be employed to decrease the fever during pregnancy; through medications or by other home remedies. This text discusses some helpful tips that can help in reducing fever in your pregnancy and treating the actual health condition that is causing the fever.

Possible Causes of Fever during Pregnancy

During pregnancy the immune system of a mother doesn't work the same as before. That is why there is 100 percent chance that the causative condition can get worse. 

1. Urinary Tract Infection

Female urinary tract system is comprised of ureter, bladder, kidneys and urethra. Urinary tract is a frequent site of infection due to invasion and multiplication of bacteria in the lining of urinary tract. Some of the infections are not serious and resolve spontaneously over time (or via antibiotics). Drinking copious amounts of liquids is always a help. Click here to learn all that you need to know about UTI in pregnancy.

When to worry: If it is left untreated, the infection can travel to kidneys from bladder and cause serious complications such as preterm labor, baby's low birth weight and sepsis. Some UTIs are asymptomatic, but in case of moderate to severe infection, you may experience high urge to urinate, sensation of burning while passing urine, cloudy urine or blood in it, pelvic pain etc.

2. Common Cold

Bacterial invasion of upper respiratory tract can lead to symptoms such as sinus infection, sensation of blocked or clogged nasal pathways, larynx and pharynx. A pregnant mother may experience symptoms same as flu, like fever, runny nose, cough, difficulty in breathing and sore throat. These infections are not serious and can be resolved within 3 to 14 days and can be treated at home easily.

When to worry: In situations when the infection persists beyond 2 weeks or if symptoms are getting worse, there is a high likelihood that the cause is much severe (like pneumonia, sore throat, sinusitis and bronchitis). Do not delay in such cases and immediately consult your doctor.

3. Influenza

If a person experience chills, fever, nausea, coughing, vomiting and achiness then this might be influenza. Pregnant mothers are at higher risk of developing flu and can get seriously ill due to their suppressed immune system. According to National Institute of Health, the symptoms of flu are severe as compared to symptoms of cold.

When to worry: It is important to consult with doctor immediately as soon as you suspect flu's symptoms. The doctor will recommend higher intake of fluids and ample rest with some antiviral medication to decrease the risk of complications and the duration of infection. It is also important for all pregnant women to have influenza shot.

4. Gastrointestinal Virus

Besides fever, GI bug can cause vomiting and diarrhea that may culminate in serious problems for pregnant mothers if not treated in time. Dehydration can not only cause pre-mature contractions but may also end up in preterm labor. Hypotension, weakness, dizziness, fainting and electrolyte imbalance are some side effects of poorly managed GI infection.

When to worry: Most mild cases resolve on its own with home remedies and by adding fluids and BRAT diet. It is important to contact your doctor immediately if you experience complications such as blood in the vomitus, signs of dehydration, developing fever or appearance of blood in bowel movements.

Precautions and Warnings:

If a pregnant mother doesn't know the cause of her fever and unsure of the nature/ cause of infection, it is recommended to immediately contact your midwife or general physician. Your healthcare provider will conduct complete physical examination and may recommend some test (probably blood test and urine samples) to determine the cause.

If the symptoms of cold gets worse within few days or if you started experiencing breathing problem then urgently seek medical help. It is possible that you might have a secondary infection (chest infection) which requires intensive treatment.

How to Relieve Fever During Pregnancy

1. Drink Lots of Water and Warm Drinks

image002Increase your water intake if you are experiencing runny nose, fever, diarrhea or vomiting (due to excessive unnecessary loss of fluids from the body). In all such situations, consume water hourly (at least one cup) or any other liquid that you can drink easily.

Hot beverages helps soothing throat, therefore keep a thermos with you filled with hot broth, decaffeinated tea or any other warm diluted juice. If you feel the tummy is tumbling then sucking popsicles or rehydration fluid may help tremendously.

2. Have Vitamin C Rich Foods

image003Vitamin C is a natural healer and you can consume it in the form of fruits, vegetables and juices (avoid supplements until advised by your practitioner). If your tummy cannot easily digest citrus juices then consider less acidic choices, such as papaya or mango, honeydew or cantaloupe. It is a good prenatal habit to consume vitamins of your choice daily but if your tummy doesn't accept it then try making this habit when you get better.

3. Take Certain Medications

image004During pregnancy paracetamol is usually advised for treating fever. Follow the instructions on the label for dosing information and consume transiently. Avoid using Ibuprofen during pregnancy.

4. Other Remedies

  • Get plenty of rest. Inactivity helps the body to stay cool and decreases falling and stumbling risk because of dizziness.
  • Place a wet, cool washcloth on forehead or/and back of neck. Re-wet as needed Do not overdress yourself as it will restrict air circulation. Instead wear cotton clothes and cover yourself with light sheet if you felt chill
  • Consume balanced and healthy diet which contains fruits and vegetables. This healthy diet will supply you several antioxidant vitamins and minerals which helps in fighting infections
  • Take a sponge bath or lukewarm bath. This will help in lowering your temperature.

Does Fever During Pregnancy Hurt Your Baby?

A low fever in early pregnancy does not cause serious problem but having high fever is dangerous for baby. This is because early development of fetus is dependent on the protein activity which is sensitive to temperature. Likewise, the entire development process relies on the right proteins supplied at the right time.

If the temperature of body increases from 98.6 to 103 degrees, then this situation prevents the proteins from optimal functioning which can lead to disastrous complications such as miscarriage.

In the third trimester of pregnancy when the baby is fully developed, the fever is not an issue unless it is due to a source of infection within the uterine lining. In order to minimize the risk of complications and hazards, consult your doctor if you develop moderate fever.

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