A pregnant woman will have a slightly elevated body temperature due in part to hormonal changes, but the rise is still within the “normal” body temperature range.
Body temperature is one of the many concerns that pregnant women have, and in some cases, this can become a controversial topic of discussion.
Most women will mention feeling hotter than usual in their early pregnancy, which is accompanied by feelings of discomfort. This is considered normal, but regardless, temperature monitoring becomes the norm when a woman discovers that she is pregnant.
Pregnancy revolves around temperature, which ultimately focuses on the well-being of the little life growing within.
There is much to understand about your body temperature when you are pregnant, and there are important issues related to body temperature that you should be aware of. Let’s take a closer look at pregnancy and body temperature.
Normal body temperature while pregnant
In general, normal body temperature is not identical for every person.
There are temperature fluctuations influenced by many factors that include:
- A person’s age and gender
- Activity levels
- Being pregnant or not. For women who are not pregnant, their menstrual cycle creates fluctuations before and after ovulation.
- A person’s body mass index
- What time of the day was the temperature recorded? Body temperature is typically lowest in the morning and highest in the afternoon.
- Food and fluid intake
- The actual method of measuring body temperature includes rectal, oral, ear, and armpit readings.
- Medical conditions like an underactive thyroid cause lower temperatures, while cancer increases body temperature.
For most but not all people, the average body temperature is 98.6°F (37°C) when measured orally.
The normal temperature range can be from 97.5°F to 98.8°F (36.4°C to 37.1°C).
Again, generally speaking, a body temperature of 95°F (35°C) is considered dangerously low, but some people are in good health and have a normal temperature of 96°F (35.5556 °C).
Temperatures that indicate fever
The temperatures listed below indicated a fever and the severity of the fever. This also applies to pregnant women.
- A temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) is a fever
- A temperature above 103.1°F (39.5°C) is a high fever
- A temperature above 105.8°F (41°C) is a very high fever
In all cases, a prolonged high temperature must be treated with urgency. Hot flushes during pregnancy may feel like a fever but usually subside.
The following symptoms typically accompany a high temperature in the “fever” range:
Fevers during pregnancy are not normal. If a high temperature persists while pregnant and you have any of the above symptoms, it is advisable to see your doctor or go to the emergency room as quickly as possible.
If the fever is caused by a viral infection, hydration and Tylenol usually clear up the illness, but if a bacterial infection causes the fever, antibiotics may be needed.
Doctors advise pregnant women against taking aspirin and ibuprofen, and it is important to see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Low temperature or feeling cold during pregnancy
Most expecting moms will have a slightly higher temperature during pregnancy, but some expectant moms may feel cold even if the ambient temperature is warm.
Although this may be considered normal for some women, feeling cold may indicate an underlying medical condition.
The slight increase in body temperature while pregnant may be caused by the hormone progesterone, which elevates during pregnancy.
Other aspects of increased body temperature are an increase in body weight, more blood flow throughout your body, and the added work the heart takes on to optimize blood flow. But these factors do not eliminate feeling cold during pregnancy.
Cold weather and cold airconditioned rooms make people feel cold, but your body trying to regulate your core body temperature may also make you feel cold. However, if you feel persistently cold while dressed warmly or in warm weather, it’s best to see your doctor.
Cold relates to fever much the same as feeling hot or having a high temperature.
Body aches and chills are associated with having a fever, as are intense feelings of coldness. People with fevers tend to fluctuate between feeling hot and cold as the body fights the cause.
As stated, fevers are not normal during pregnancy and should be treated with urgency.
Fevers can result in birth abnormalities in your baby’s ears, eyes, face, neck, and genitals, as well as premature birth. This is why it is essential that you have a proper medical diagnosis to treat the underlying cause of the fever.
An untreated fever can increase the chances of complications arising from the underlying cause and not the fever itself.
During pregnancy, it is advisable to see your doctor if your body temperature rises above 99.5°F (37.5°C).
By doing this, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that the medication you are taking is safe for your baby and equally important is that your doctor will treat the root cause of your elevated temperature.
A closer look at the body temperature of a pregnant woman
Although some pregnant women experience a slight increase in body temperature while others show a slight decrease, the general consensus is that a pregnant woman will have a body temperature of 98.6°F (37°C).
A slight temperature increase is usually expected in early pregnancy, but again, this varies from woman to woman.
A more accurate individual measurement is to add 0.2°F or 0.1°C to your average body temperature before you became pregnant.
As you can see, the increase in temperature is minimal and, in many cases, is not even noticed.
Hormonal hot flushes may lead many pregnant to believe that their core temperature has increased substantially. Still, these hot flushes do not last long, and your body is constantly busy regulating every aspect of your pregnancy, so there is no real cause for alarm.
If, however, your hot flushes become too extreme, it will be wise to discuss the issue with your doctor, who will run additional tests to rule out or identify any underlying cause.
If you don’t experience any noticeable change in your body temperature after conception, there is no reason to be alarmed.
Your average body temperature changes throughout the day, and the increase in pregnancy temperature is so subtle that many pregnant moms don’t even notice it.
As long as your core body temperature is within the normal range and you have illness symptoms, you are fine.
Is it safe to use a sauna or hot tub if I’m pregnant?
If you spend too long in the sauna or hot tub, you run the risk of overheating, which brings on dehydration.
You are also more likely to faint because of changes in your blood pressure and blood volume during pregnancy.
If you really want to enjoy your hot tub or heated pool, the water temperature must not be above 89.6°F (32°C) or 95°F (35°C).
Hot tubs are usually set to 104°F (40°C), which is why they should be avoided during pregnancy.
Is it safe to exercise while pregnant?
Yes, exercise during pregnancy is recommended by medical professionals, subject to your state of health.
Exercise is good for your general health and well-being, but you should avoid strenuous exercises that may lead to overheating when pregnant.
Speak with your healthcare provider to get a clearer understanding of the types of exercise activities you can safely indulge in while pregnant.
What are some reasons for feeling cold while pregnant?
The list is fairly extensive, and your doctor, who knows your medical condition and history, is the best-qualified person to answer this question for you.
However, here are a few causes of low pregnancy temperature:
– Underactive thyroid gland
– Liver and or kidney failure
– Sepsis or widespread infection
– Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
– A side effect of certain medication
Core body temperature is vital as our optimal temperature range signifies good or normal health. From conception, the core body temperature of a woman will increase slightly, but the increase is so slight it is hardly noticeable.
What makes many pregnant women feel like their core temperature has noticeably increased is the many hormone changes and the increase in blood volume. As a result, pregnant women will sweat more than usual as their body works to maintain an optimum core temperature.
Sweating and feeling uncomfortable are often related to feeling hot and bothered, and many women perceive this as having a higher-than-normal temperature.
The increase in pregnancy temperature is very subtle, but all pregnant women should monitor their core body temperature as it helps identify any issues.
Discuss your body temperature with your doctor and get some advice in advance about what to do if your temperature changes.
It’s always best to be equipped with sound advice from a medical professional.