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Fever During Pregnancy: Will This Affect My Baby?

Fever during pregnancy, if it exceeds 38° Celsius, needs to be reported to the doctor immediately.  Generally, fever while expecting a baby is associated with flu, but it may very well also be a sign of intrauterine infection, and in this case the baby from your belly may be affected.

Fever During Pregnancy

Table of Contents

Can You Get Fever during Early Pregnancy?

A small increase in the body temperature won`t lead to serious issues regarding the baby, but a big increase can be harmful for him because an early fetal development depends on the activity of proteins (important body molecules) which are sensitive to temperature (the entire process of development is based on the proper proteins offered on the right time). Therefore, if the temperature goes from 37° C to 39.4° C, proteins won`t work optimally and may occur complications like miscarriage. Some research has proven the fact that a fever that causes an infection may lead to birth defects. The conclusions refer to the first 5 to 6 weeks of pregnancy.

If the fever occurs in the last trimester of pregnancy when the baby is fully developed, it isn`t a real problem if there isn`t an infection located in the uterine lining.

What Causes Fever during Pregnancy?

Flu

If you suffer from vomiting, fever, nausea and chills, these are all signs of flu. Expecting mothers present an increased risk of getting sick of flu because their immunity is weak during the 9 months of pregnancy. How do you realize when you are experiencing flu or a simple cold? Flu is manifested suddenly, and its symptoms are much more serious. If you suspect that you are experiencing this medical condition, you need to talk to your doctor immediately.

Chorioamniotitis

Additionally to high chills and fever, this infection of the membranes that surround the amniotic fluid and baby may lead to abdominal sweating, unusual vaginal discharge, increased heart rhythm and uterine cure. Such a bacterial infection will involve placing the pregnant woman under treatment with antibiotics and giving birth to the baby. After birth, the baby will also have to be checked and treated with antibiotics, if necessary. If the infection turns to be serious or if it`s left untreated, the woman might experience endometriosis or pelvic and abdominal infections, and the little one may experience serious complications that include meningitis, respiratory issues or septicemia.

Urinary Tract Infections

Experts from March of Dimes claim that up to 10% of women who are expecting a baby experience a urinary tract infection, meaning that a bacterium penetrates the woman`s urinary system and then multiplies. Most infections aren`t severe if they get treated fast with lots of fluids and antibiotics. If they aren`t treated, they might reach the kidneys and lead to numerous complications. Some urinary tract infections don`t offer any symptoms, while other ones manifest by a burning sensation in urination, chills, pelvic pain, urgent urge to urinate, blood accompanied by fever and cloudy urine.

Listeria

Listeriosis represents an infections that results from the consumption of contaminated water or food. Expecting mothers, because of their weakened immunity, are more likely to get this infection. Signs might occur a couple of days or months after consuming contaminated food or water, and the infection may spread to the nervous system. If left untreated, this infection might lead to premature birth, miscarriage, severe birth infection or even death.

Gastrointestinal Virus

Vomiting and diarrhea caused by this virus may lead to severe consequences when it comes to women preparing to give birth, if they are left untreated. Dehydration may be installed, which may lead to contractions or even premature birth. Also accompanied by fever, the condition may accentuate dehydration, so if you experience from such signs, get in touch with your doctor right away.

Septic Abortion

Septic abortion appears when the uterus along with its content become infected due to a surgically treated abortion. It might occur in the first trimester of pregnancy, and signs might include chills, vaginal bleeding, fever, back pain or serious abdominal pain. The treatment of this condition includes antibiotics and the uterus getting removed. If the illness remains untreated, it may lead to septic shock.

Fifth Disease

Also known as Parvovirosis B19, fifth disease represents a common condition of childhood and lots of adults are already immune to this illness. The most frequent signs in adults are join pain, even if in children this medical condition is manifested by mild fever, red in the throat and chest irritation. Although this rarely happens, some expecting mothers might become infected with fifth disease, and the virus might lead to miscarriage or they may give birth to a baby with serious anemia.

What Is Safe to Take for a Fever during Pregnancy?

Lots of these drugs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, aren`t allowed while pregnant, but acetaminophen (Anacin Aspirin-Free, Shake That Ache!, Tylenol) is considered safe to treat pain, fever or headache. You just have to be certain you follow the instructional regarding the dosage available on the label.

What to Do if You Experience Fever while Expecting?

Here are a few tips that may help prevent infections and fever while pregnant.

  • Wash the hands as often as you can or after ending any activity. This will prevent any future infections and keep microbes away.
  • Wash any fruit and vegetable before consuming them with a stream of water, sufficiently to make sure the food is clean.
  • Be careful to make all the necessary vaccines.
  • Drink as much liquids as possible – no matter if we are talking about tea (be careful, some of them aren`t recommended during pregnancy), plain water, milk, soups or juices, consume them a lot to prevent dehydration. Your body will use them to regulate its temperature.
  • Avoid unpasteurized foods, because they might contain Listeria bacteria. – More info!
  • Don`t eat chicken, egg, seafood salads, tuna or ham already made because they are perishable.
  • Get as much rest as possible – fever forces the organism to put more effort in the fight with the infection that causes the fever, so rest is most welcome. It helps the organism recover, while also reducing fever at the same time.
  • Put cold compresses on your wrists and forehead. A cold water cloth is the best possible compress that can be made at home. Cold water aids to lower fever naturally.
  • Dress yourself in large and thin clothes (if possible, in several layers to be able to take some of them off if necessary) – tight/thick clothing items maintain body temperature high; the thin ones allow the body to release heat to cool off.
  • Take into consideration the option of taking drugs. There`re a few medication which the doctor can allow you to take while pregnant in order to reduce fever. These drugs are considered safe while pregnant for both you and your baby. Before taking any drugs, visit your doctor and talk to him about it.
  • Talk to the doctor as soon as you experience fever or other signs which aren`t common during pregnancy.

Once the doctor ensures you that you have nothing to worry about and that your fever can be treated at home, visit the pharmacy to take the medications prescribed by your doctor.

To Remember!

When the expecting mother doesn`t know the exact cause of fever and she isn`t sure of the nature of the infection, she needs to get in contact immediately with her midwife or doctor, who will recommend a routine test to determine the cause of the infection. If the signs worsen in the following days or you experience breathing issues (back pain, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, chills, neck stiffness), we can talk about a secondary infection that require intensive treatment.

Don`t delay the visit to the doctor`s office if your water breaks or experience fever. You should do the same if you have other health risks (chronic conditions, diabetes), you experience dehydration, a mild fever without an obvious cause that last for more than 4 days or which returns more often than once in 3 weeks, or you experience a fever accompanied by vaginal discharges with bad odor.

Image courtesy of newhealthadvisor.com

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