Winter has come! Along with it comes a weakened immunity which brings a host of infections. This is truer in case of pregnancy as your hormones are haywire, leading to issues like fever and chills. If you are planning on getting pregnant, we have good news for you! It should be known that fever can also be a sign of pregnancy (along with other early signs and symptoms of pregnancy).
So, how can you know you are suffering from fever?
The normal basal body temperature is 36-37°C or 96.8-98.6°F. When there is an increase/spike in this, i.e., > 38.3°C or 100.94°F, the condition is termed as fever. The manifestations of fever include increased body warmth, chills, severe weakness &/or signs of a flu (runny nose and cold).
What are the causes of getting a fever when pregnant?
The most common cause is due to a weakened or an overworked immune system. The causes of fever can be broken down based on its severity to the mother and child as mild/moderate and high risk.
• Viral/bacterial infection (Urinary tract infections, stomach flu, influenza etc)
• Underlying pre-existing immunocompromised state
• Foreign/allergic reaction
• Disturbance in the homeostasis of the body
• Food poisoning
• Septic abortion
• Listeria infection
What are the symptoms of fever during pregnancy?
It is like that normally seen in anyone suffering from a fever. Fevers caused by pregnancy presents itself by symptoms like:
• Altered taste perception
• Joint pains
• Blurry vision
Should you be worried about fever during pregnancy?
In most cases it is harmless, but it would be best that you monitor your temperature changes. A very high fever during pregnancy left un-monitored and untreated, may lead to a miscarriage &/or could be potentially fatal to the mother & child. If the fever persists for more than a day or two it could suggest an infection and would be best discussed with your doctor.
Is pregnancy fever harmful to my baby?
We bet even your mom had some issue when she was carrying you. But back-in-the-day, all this was not overhyped. So, we suggest you relax and know that in most cases a fever with an absence of other signs/symptoms and is not persistently high, is non-threatening to your baby.
It should be known that a high fever may cause potential growth/developmental defects and decreased immunity (hence more chances of infection) in the newborn or result in a miscarriage.
How can you treat your fever during pregnancy?
As much as you may be tempted to pop an OTC pill into your mouth, we advise you against it. Speak to your doctor and let them suggest the right medication.
Along with that, you can adopt certain home-remedies (you can run them through your doctor as well) which include:
1. Drink water: Boiled and cooled water may be a blessing at times like this. They help in hydrating you along with normalizing your body temperature.
2. R & R: Rest and relaxation is the best thing that you can do to your body when it is recuperating.
3. Green tea/soup/mom’s magic drink: All these warm beverages help in soothing your system and building your strength and immunity.
4. Steam inhalation: Either by using a steamer or doing it the good old way by placing your head over hot water with some medicinal ointment in it
5. Salt water gargle: Especially useful if you have added cold & cough. It would be advised to use lukewarm water in order to soothe your throat.
6. Eat healthy and fresh: As much as you don’t feel like eating because you are feverish, do not neglect your body. See to it that you get proper nourishment as it helps you get well soon. Having warm food and items like rasam/sambar(which include ingredients like Cayenne pepper, chillies, regular pepper etc) helps in making you better.
So, how can you take care of yourself when down with fever?
We would best advise you to:
- Stay indoors and avoid exposure to dust/allergens.
- Wear warm and comfortable clothing.
- Avoid sitting in an air-conditioned room
- A blanket, light sweater and ointment (tiger balm, zandu balm etc) can be beneficial at times like this. More so when you have chills.
- Be easy on your body and rest to recuperate.
Is there any precaution to prevent fever when pregnant?
In order to decrease the chances of getting a fever when pregnant, you could adopt the following:
- Incorporate vitamin C (advised to consult with your doctor before taking any supplements).
- Maintain good hygiene and clean your hands regularly.
- Vaccinations (like flu vaccination for H1N1 etc) help in strengthening your immunity, so consult with your doctor and see if any vaccination is required.
- Have someone around to help you with work and refrain from overexerting your body.
To summarize, falling sick is a normal phenomenon. There is no doubt that if you are unwell for days together, it may cause an alarm for you and your loved ones. But we suggest you to first consult your doctor and take care of yourself appropriately. Trust us, if you follow what is mentioned here and listen to your doctor, you will get well soon.