Feeling hot during pregnancy – is it normal or should you be alarmed?
Feeling uncomfortable constantly is just one of the many normals for pregnant women. Your body is going through constant changes and that does take a toll on your physical well-being. That’s why it becomes all the more important that women take utmost precaution during these 40 weeks when the life of the mum and the baby is sensitive.
In fact, one of the prevalent issues with expecting mums is being too warm during pregnancy. There can be instances where the body feels like a furnace inside, and this can lead to some women feeling hot during pregnancy.
Your body is essentially raising an alarm that something is changing and it may be a sign that something is wrong. Overheating during pregnancy can put your baby at risk as it can affect the baby’s spinal cord and backbone development.
Fortunately, feeling hot during pregnancy is something you can address with a little care. Here’s what you need to know.
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Why Do You Feel Hot During Pregnancy?
Every stage of pregnancy can slightly raise your body temperature. Your skin will be warmer to the touch and you are more likely to have night sweats during this period.
This usually happens because the new hormones work harder to keep your body functioning smoothly in the initial weeks of the pregnancy. The hormonal changes raise your body temperature by a small amount, a side effect of which is morning sickness.
As your body prepares to bring a new life into this world, it creates more blood to carry food and oxygen to the foetus. That’s why your blood volume increases by up to 50 per cent by the 34th week of the pregnancy.
The heart pumps harder than usual and by the eighth week, it’s running at 20 per cent more pumping speed. Your metabolism levels have been raised too, which further spikes your body temperature.
The pregnancy glow
We are sure you’ve heard of the pregnancy glow and that’s just the blood vessels throughout your body including the skin, widening to receive more blood. As more blood flows to your skin, the more radiant it appears while also increasing your body temperature.
By the third trimester, your baby is also generating heat that further raises your body temperature.
Ideally, the average body temperature for most women is around 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius), which increases to about 99 degrees Fahrenheit. It can even drop to 97.5 F in some cases.
While these body temperatures are acceptable, do note that it’s important to keep the expecting mum’s body under 102 degrees. This is to keep her from overheating. That’s why mums need to exercise caution and not push the body too hard during exercise or activities that raise the body temperature.
Rising estrogen levels can also increase can also lead to a change in body temperature. Hormone levels continue to increase until the 32 weeks of gestation period. This will push the temperature levels of the body in the first trimester.
Another contributor to rising body temperature is weight gain. It’s a part and parcel of pregnancy and does make the body feel warmer. This has to do with the body systems changing as the baby’s weight increases, which contributes to the overall weight gain and increased temperature.
The more the foetus grows in the 40-week period, the more heat it will emit and that will show up in the mum’s heat signature.
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Risks and Effects of Overheating During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, you need to maintain a normal body temperature of around 98°F and it shouldn’t rise above 102.2°F (39°C).
Not only does feeling hot during pregnancy make one uncomfortable, but overheating, especially during the first trimester can harm your baby’s development. According to Baby Centre, infants whose mothers had an elevated temperature during the first few weeks of pregnancy have an increased risk for heart problems and neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
According to a study, being exposed to extreme heat in early pregnancy may also increase your risk for miscarriage and premature birth. Research from the National Institutes of Health found that women exposed to extreme heat waves during the first 7 weeks of pregnancy were 11 per cent more likely to go into labour early.
Dehydration from overheating can also cause Braxton Hicks contractions or false labour, and make you feel dizzy or faint, which could lead to accidents and injuries.
Studies found that overheating during pregnancy could also increase the risks of:
Symptoms of Overheating During Pregnancy
While feeling hot during pregnancy can be normal, you still need to watch out for these signs of overheating while pregnant:
- Warm or cold, pale, and clammy skin
- Muscle cramps
- Passing out
- Feeling parched and thirsty
- Excessive sweating
- Body temperature above 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit
How To Prevent The Body From Overheating
Keeping your body cool during pregnancy is essential to prevent yourself from overheating. All it needs is a bit of precaution and your body temperature should be at acceptable levels. Here’s what expecting mums can do to keep their bodies cool:
- Keep a cold water bottle handy to drink
- Stay out of the kitchen on warm days
- Stay indoors especially from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Avoid accessing hot rooms and saunas
- Keep your room cool when sleeping. Open the windows or lower the AC temperature to keep you comfortable
- Wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothes that keep things breezy
- Take a cool water bath
- Consider swimming as a fun and safe exercise while pregnant (just take note of safety measures)
- Take a relaxing massage instead of using heating pads for aching muscles
But remember, mums-to-be, it’s not just hot weather that may put your pregnancy and baby at risk for overheating during the first trimester. Doctors also recommend avoiding hot tubs and saunas while pregnant, especially for extended periods of time, because these will raise your body temperature.
Feeling hot during pregnancy because of fever? Inform your doctor right away to avoid the risks of overheating and dehydration.
Image Source: iStock
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.