Common colds may be a symptom of pregnancy, but when it comes down to chills and a high fever, then something must be wrong. Pregnancy leaves you open to a lot of illnesses and diseases due to your suppressed immune system.
Having fever during pregnancy may be as a result of urinary tract infection, influenza, chorioamnionitis, a gastrointestinal virus, and so on. if an expectant mother has a fever, it could be a sign she is fighting an infection. sometimes, it could be as a result of food poisoning which caused by viruses or bacteria. It is important you visit the hospital whenever you feel feverish rather than ignoring it as a minor issue. Failure to see the doctor early and get an adequate treatment may result in pregnancy complications which may affect the fetus adversely.
Most complications come in the form of pregnancy symptoms which is why pregnant women need to be observant and know when consulting your doctor.
Symptoms of fever during pregnancy
If you have a fever while expecting, you are likely to experience the following symptoms:
· Abdominal pain
· Neck stiffness
· Back pain
· Shortness of breath
If it’s as a result of food poisoning, you may also have symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. Vomiting could lead to dehydration during pregnancy if you don’t drink enough water to replace the lost fluids. And dehydration may lead to preterm labor, unstable blood pressure and other complications.
What are the causes of fever during pregnancy?
One of these complications might be the reason for that high temperature during pregnancy:
Urinary Tract Infection
The urinary tract system is a combination of the kidney, bladder, urethra, and ureters. During pregnancy, if bacteria get into this system, it multiplies and causes infections. About 10 percent of pregnant women get infected with UTI during pregnancy, and when it is not treated immediately, it can lead to more serious complications such as kidney stones or kidney failure. It also leads to birth complications like sepsis, preterm labor, and low birth weight.
One of the obvious symptoms of a UTI infection is fever and chills. They come with other symptoms such as pelvic pain, blood in the urine, burning sensation while urinating, frequent urinating, cloudy urine and a strong urge to urinate.
Early treatment of urinary tract infections is recommended as you do not need to do much. An increase in water intake and antibiotics will send the infection away.
One of the symptoms of influenza during pregnancy is high fever and cold-related symptoms. Other symptoms include bloody mucus, breathing difficulties, chest pain, abdominal pain, and fetal immobility.
Influenza is highly contagious which means you should avoid staying close to sick people if you notice any symptoms.
If you are down with influenza, increase your water intake and use acetaminophen for the fever. Also, visit your doctor for an anti-viral prescription to reduce the symptoms and prevent other complications that may arise from the ailment.
Prevent influenza by getting a flu shot during pregnancy. It keeps your immune from flu and other common cold-related illnesses.
Also known as the upper respiratory infection, the common cold is one of the ailments some pregnant women experience. The upper respiratory tract consists of the sinuses, larynx, pharynx and nasal passages.
Common cold may not be as serious as influenza, but it will keep you down two weeks, although some clear up in three days. Fever comes along with other symptoms like a runny nose, cough, breathing difficulty, and a sore throat.
Note that other complications that look like common cold are bronchitis, sinusitis, pneumonia and strep throat. You will need to go for a test to determine if you have any of these infections.
This viral infection will often come with a fever above 101 F. Other symptoms include vomiting water or blood, excessive thirst, dizziness, no urine, weakness, hypotension, electrolyte imbalance.
The gastrointestinal virus should immediately be treated as it could cause dehydration which will lead to painful contractions, early pregnancy miscarriage or preterm labor.
Using the BRAT diet which involves banana, applesauce, rice, and toasts are helpful in treating mild symptoms. You can also drink water or other fluids such as Gatorade.
Severe cases of fever during pregnancy
Having looked at minor causes of fever during pregnancy, we should also know that there are severe cases of fever during pregnancy and if you notice any of the symptoms, your healthcare provider should know first. The causes are as follows:
This infection is highly dangerous during pregnancy as it directly involves the fetus. It is a bacterial infection of the materials which surrounds the fetus. These materials are the chorion, amnion, and the amniotic fluid.
Feverish feelings and chills are among the symptoms of chorioamnionitis. Other symptoms include abnormal vaginal discharge, sweating, tender uterus, and palpitations.
Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics for treatment. Untreated infection leads to more severe infections such as endometritis, blood clots, and pelvic region infection. It also causes congenital disabilities for the baby such as meningitis and other problems like sepsis and respiratory issues.
Listeria bacteria causes listeriosis in affected organisms including pregnant women.
This infection is as a result of eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.
Fever is usually the first thing you’ll notice if you’ve been affected with listeriosis. Other symptoms include severe vomiting, nauseous feeling, muscle aches and diarrhea.
Listeriosis can lead to complication in the growth and development of the fetus and may result in miscarriage or stillbirth.
Can a fever during pregnancy harm my unborn baby?
Yes, fever can harm your unborn child if not treated urgently. Running a fever during pregnancy can be harmful to the fetus.
Here are some detailed effects of fever on your pregnancy:
When you have a fever, your body temperature goes up to 100.4 F and above. This increase in temperature stops the protein molecules in the body from working properly. The protein molecules are in charge of the growth of development of the fetal organs and blood vessels. If they don’t function properly, fetal development stops and a miscarriage take place.
Fever that happens during the first trimester and is above 103 degrees can cause a miscarriage. If it happens during the third trimester, then there is no risk since all the fetal development has taken place.
Since fever is caused by different complications including kidney infection, it could make you give birth earlier than normal.
Having a fever during the first trimester of pregnancy could cause neural tube defects, heart defects, and cleft palate because the brain and nervous system are still developing around the first few weeks. A fever around this time will disrupt the whole process and result in congenital disabilities.
How to avoid fever during pregnancy
Most times, fever comes as a result of cold and flu although it could also happen due to food poisoning. To avoid getting fever while expecting, you need to protect yourself from these triggers.
Here are some of the best ways to avoid fever during pregnancy:
· Wash your hands more often
· Stay away from sick people
· Drink plenty of fluids
· Avoid sun exposure
· Avoid plenty layers of clothing.
· Switch on a fan to cool your environment if it’s hot.
Visit your doctor and treat any symptoms of fever immediately to avoid complications. Avoid trying self-medication like taking ibuprofen or aspirin which would only worsen the situation and probably lead to birth defects.