Fevers During Pregnancy
Having a fever when you?re pregnant isn?t all that different from when you aren?t pregnant. The same symptoms will present; such as, an elevated temperature, chills, perspiration, achiness, and tiredness. Fevers do have the potential to present dangers in pregnancy that they wouldn?t otherwise. Some medical professionals believe that an elevated core temperature can lead to neural tube defects; the most commonly known defect being spina bifida. For this defect to occur, the trauma would have to occur when the tube is developing during the very early stages of pregnancy, around six to eight weeks after your last menstrual period. Nonetheless, there is no evidence that proves this threat is valid. Many women still like to err on the side of caution though, despite the number of healthy babies that are born to mothers who had fevers and took hot baths during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, a woman?s immune system is working twice as hard to ensure that the mother and child are protected from illness. It?s a bit of an oxymoron as the strenuous work put out by the body can actually end up making the mother more vulnerable to common illnesses.
When to Worry
If you?re pregnant and find yourself with a fever, don?t panic. Most fevers will pass within the first day to day and a half. If it doesn?t, then you can call the obstetrician. That being said, pregnant women with fevers that are accompanied by certain warning signs should seek a doctor?s advice right away. Such red flags include: pain in your abdomen, continual nausea and vomiting, contractions, and rash. Illnesses like the flu or a common cold can be the cause of fevers, but so can more serious illnesses like toxoplasmosis, so you?ll want to get checked out if your temperature doesn?t come down. If you can?t keep fluids down, you may need to be admitted to the hospital for IV fluids. Dehydration during pregnancy is more concerning than a fever.
Acetaminophen is the safest fever reducing drug to take during pregnancy. Those who want to avoid drugs all together can seek natural options like Belladonna under the advisement of your doctor. Don?t rule out cold vinegar socks, baths, and compresses to bring your temperature down either.