Being sick is never a ‘fun’ experience for the everyday busy worker or full-time parent, however for pregnant people, being sick comes with the hassle, as well as the added layer of concern as you worry about the impact it may have on your unborn baby.
Moreso, booking doctor’s appointments and finding time to attend them can be just as big of a hassle! Therefore, our topic today will center around home remedies for fever during pregnancy.
Fever is a particularly unpleasant indicator of illness and one of the more worrisome for pregnant moms. If you do not know much about this topic, you may ask yourself, “Why is a fever such a big deal?” right about now.
Well, a normal body temperature reading should measure anything around 98.6F/37C. However, when you surpass this ‘normal’ temperature range, this qualifies as having a fever. Fever, especially during early pregnancy, can lead to a range of birth complications and in some cases, even miscarriage!
But why? We will be answering this question, as well as others you may have regarding this topic in today’s article. So, stay tuned if you want to know more about the dangers of fever during pregnancy, as well as the symptoms and causes of fever during pregnancy.
Furthermore, we will be listing and discussing tried-and-true home remedies for curing a fever in the comfort of your own home! Join us as we discuss everything you need to know about identifying, preventing and curing fevers – as well as when it is absolutely necessary to seek medical attention.
Let us begin!
The Link Between Fever and Birth Defects:
“Can a fever during pregnancy harm the baby?”
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is, “yes”. Now, let us preface this with the advice DO NOT PANIC as we will be discussing some very easy, simple home remedies later in this article. However, having a fever while pregnant – specifically during your first trimester of pregnancy – can be dangerous for your baby.
This is because pregnant persons who experience fever during these crucial first three months are almost double as likely to give birth to a baby with a neural tube defect (otherwise known as NTD) than a person who did not experience a fever during this period.
But what are NTDs? Well, these are a type of birth defect which affects the brain, the spine or the spinal cord of an infant. Fortunately, the CDC has confirmed that this type of birth defect can be avoided, regardless of whether the mother experienced a fever or not, if the mother consumes at least 400mg/day of folic acid during the pregnancy.
However, fever during pregnancy may also increase the chances of a baby being born with various other neurological disorders and birth defects, some of which include autism spectrum disorder (although further research is being done regarding this hypothesis), cleft palate, congenital heart defects, and most tragically, even miscarriage.
But even if you are past the crucial three-month period, this does not mean you are in the clear and that it is okay to ignore a fever! Experiencing a fever at the tail-end of your pregnancy can dramatically increase your risk of preterm labour and having a premature baby – which itself comes with its own set of complications and dangers.
What if you already have a fever? Please note that you do not have to get stressed out too soon! A temperature under 101F is abnormal but likely not dangerous if the underlying cause can be identified and the treatment to reduce the fever begins immediately. Next, we will discuss how to identify whether or not you are experiencing a fever.
Symptoms of Fever:
“So, How Do I Know If I Have a Fever?”
The first and probably best way to know if you have a fever is to take your temperature. Again, a temperature reading above 98.6F/37C (therefore between 99-101F) is abnormal. While it is pretty normal for an adult’s temperature to fluctuate throughout the day, or for pregnant moms to experience a hot flash due to hormonal changes, this increase should ideally not be by more than one or two degrees.
Therefore, if measured by mouth, a reading of more than 100F/37.8C is considered a fever. If measured via the forehead, then 100.4F/38C is considered a fever. Finally, when measured by the armpit, if you have a reading of 99F/37.2C then you have a fever.
If your fever reaches 101F or more, then you should immediately seek medical attention!
How Do I Take My Temperature?
There are methods to get the most accurate reading of your temperature. The first thing that you should know is that there are five places on the body where you can take your most accurate temperature reading. These places are the mouth, inside the ear, on the forehead, in the armpit and finally, inside of the rectum.
The tool used to measure internal body temperature is called a thermometer, and in general, there are two main types of thermometers. Namely, these two types are called touch thermometers (because they must be touching your skin) and remote thermometers (because they do not need to touch your skin to work).
Where Fever Comes From:
“What Are the Causes of Fever While Pregnant?”
There are many illnesses and infections which are likely to result in a fever, so we will just list some of the most likely instigators/common causes of fever below:
Firstly, and not surprisingly, a simple cold or the flu is the top cause of fevers while pregnant. This is because a pregnant woman’s immune system naturally lowers during pregnancy to protect the growing foetus from the body’s natural defences which would otherwise see the foetus as an outsider. Thus, a pregnant person is more likely to be susceptible to viral infections during those nine months and also experience a fever.
While a cold is likely to be responsible for causing low-grade fevers, the flu is more likely to cause much higher fevers and can be a bit more dangerous in this regard.
Next, and a natural progression from the previous cause listed, bacterial infections (like viral infections) are also responsible for causing fever during pregnancy. Bacterial infections such as UTIs, strep throat or kidney infections often cause fever in sufferers.
In today’s day and age, the next cause may not be all that surprising. A likely cause of fever may be COVID-19. In this instance, it is extremely important to seek medical help if you could have possibly contracted this virus as both fever and this virus itself can lead to increased chances of birth complications.
Some other causes of fever can include food poisoning, ear infections, stomach viruses, upper tract infections or pneumonia.
Fever is likely to last for as long as the underlying disease, illness or infection lasts. Generally, it is safe to treat at home so long as your fever remains below 101F because in if a fever reaches this temperature or above, it is medically advisable to seek immediate care! But for lower fevers, you should start treatment immediately from the day you begin to experience this symptom to be as safe as possible.
Home Remedies for Fever:
“What Can I Do to Lower a Fever at Home Naturally?”
Home remedies for treating fever during pregnancy are simpler than you think! Below we will list some of the best (and easiest) ways to bring down your temperature and manage a fever at home.
Use a Cool Cloth to Cool Down:
An easy and effective fever-reducing remedy is to take a washcloth that has been made damp with cool water and lay it on your forehead while you lay back and rest. You should re-dampen the cloth every couple of minutes to maintain the cooling effect.
A tried-and-true remedy is to fill a bathtub with lukewarm water and simply take a bath. Alternatively, you can give yourself a sponge bath if climbing inside a tub is too difficult or uncomfortable. It is important to note that you should not use very cold water, but lukewarm water to reduce a fever.
Remove any extra layers of clothing:
This may seem obvious, but removing extra layers of clothing is a simple way to reduce your temperature. You can also wear lighter materials, such as cotton and single-layered clothing items to promote air circulation. If you get cold, cover yourself with a thin blanket until you feel warm enough to remove it. Overall, make sure that you keep your external body as open and cool as possible to help you naturally cool down.
Drinking As Much Water as You Can:
Another tip is to make sure that you are drinking plenty of water. This will help to cool you down from the inside out and will make sure that you keep hydrated, which is important for pregnant persons to do. Moreso, if you are experiencing excessive sweating, you must replenish this water loss to prevent dehydration.
Rest in the Shade:
Stay out of the sun and instead, remain inside, in a cool and comfortable spot, and rest as much as possible.
Turn on the AC:
If you have a fan or an air conditioner, put this on and make sure to keep your room at a comfortable temperature which will also help to cool your body down. Staying under the cool air being circulated is a remedy particularly recommended by doctors for helping to cool down and reduce fevers naturally.
Another simple and easy way to treat fever at home is to give your body plenty of vitamins and minerals that will help your immune system fight off the illness and restore your health. Fresh salads and fruits are a very cooling – as well as tasty way – to get in your strength back.
Take Your Vitamins:
Prenatal vitamins should be taken to help maintain your body’s immune system by boosting vitamin and mineral levels, which will ultimately help to reduce fever during your pregnancy.
Other medicines, such as aspirin or anti-inflammatories are not recommended for pregnant persons to consume as they have many side effects for both mom and baby. Moreso, any medicines which contain caffeine should be completely avoided by pregnant persons. You should also avoid homeopathic medicines as these may not have the best effect on a fever during pregnancy.
It is okay to take small doses of paracetamol to help you feel a bit more comfortable and to lower your ever. Any other fever-reducing medicine needs to be prescribed by a doctor.
It is best to avoid the consumption of oily processed foods when you have a fever. Moreover, certain foods lower the immune system and increase the risk of sickness, such as a cold. These foods include processed junk food as well as cucumber and other foods -so it is better to avoid these foods to avoid developing a fever!
Drinks That You Can Make at Home That Reduce Fever:
On the topic of eating well, there are several foods you can make into drinks that act as natural fever reducers. These foods/drinks are…
1) Apple Cider Vinegar:
As a naturally alkaline fluid, apple cider vinegar helps to reduce infections and therefore, fever. This is because bacterial infections cannot survive very alkaline environments and by drinking apple cider vinegar, you are essentially helping to create an environment in which these infections cannot thrive. You can mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into warm water and then drink this mixture 2-3 times a day.
2) Lemon & Lemon Juice
Lemons are another natural source of alkaline fluids, as well as being incredibly rich in vitamin C, which boosts the immune system. Add the juice of two lemons to a jar of water and mix in honey as well as a pinch of sea salt. You can then consume this mixture throughout the day.
Basil is a natural antibiotic that helps to fight infections as well as reduce fever. You can add about a tablespoon of basil to some hot water to make a tea that provides a soothing form of comfort while working hard to help you get well soon. You may make and drink this tea as many times as you prefer during the day.
4) Herbal Tea
Herbal tea has fantastic medicinal properties that help to treat illnesses such as colds, with added benefits such as getting rid of mucus. You can put a cup of water in a pan to boil, then add herbal tea leaves and honey or sugar. Once boiled, it is best to filter the tea and consume it hot.
When to See a doctor:
It is best to contact a doctor or hospital if your fever does not start to get better even once you have tried these natural remedies, or if you begin to develop any symptoms which indicate an extremely serious underlying illness. For example, there are some illnesses which only infect pregnant women, and which require immediate medical intervention to prevent unwanted pregnancy complications.
These conditions include:
This is a bacterial infection which infects the membranes surrounding the foetus and amniotic fluid and which causes the following symptoms: high fever, sweating, chills, abnormal vaginal discharge, rapid heartbeat and a tender uterus.
2) Parvovirus B19/Fifth Disease
While this virus is very rare in pregnant women, if contracted, can lead to mischarge or the baby being born with an extreme form of anaemia. The most common symptoms are fever and joint pain.
Fever is the earliest sign of this serious condition which results from the consumption of contaminated food or water. Other symptoms of listeria are diarrhoea, nausea and muscle aches. Serious infection can lead to a stiff neck, confusion, headache, loss of balance and convulsion and may lead to miscarriage, premature labour or even stillbirth.
Prevent Fever in The First Place:
As they say, it is better and easier to prevent illness than to cure it. Therefore, we suggest following the next few guidelines on preventing illness while pregnant.
- First and foremost, make sure to always have plenty of vitamin C as this is one of the best ways to boost your immune system and prevent sickness.
- Make sure to be up to date with flu shots and vaccinations.
- Wash your hands regularly using soap and warm water.
- Avoid foods that can trigger your allergies.
- Make sure to maintain good food preparation practices and eat in a clean and tidy environment.
- Avoid junk food, as well as processed foods which may cause food poisoning.
- Avoid contact with persons who are sick.
To Sum It All Up…
Having an illness while pregnant can be a scary, confusing and out-right annoying situation. However, we are here to provide you with the easiest tips for identifying and preventing fever, as well as some of the easiest and most natural home remedies for fever during pregnancy.
A fever during pregnancy, especially in the earliest and most vital first three months, has the potential to lead to neurological and physical birth defects, and in the worst scenarios, even miscarriage.
Therefore, we have seen that a temperature range of between 99-101F classifies as a fever which can be caused by viral infections, bacterial infections or even food poisoning. In these situations, you can follow these at home tips to reducing your fever, as well as some of the recipes mentioned in this article to help bring down your fever fast. Our recipes are not only simple, but they’re effective too!
However, please remember that if your fever reaches above 101F you need to seek medical attention urgently! It is best not to try to treat this at home as it may be caused by a very serious illness or infection and may require antibiotics or other medicines only a doctor can prescribe.
At the end of the day, prevention is better than cure. Make sure to take your vitamins, eat well, wash your hands, avoid processed foods, and stir clear of sick people. The health of you and your baby is of utmost importance.