Fever While Pregnant

Are There Dangers To Running A Fever While Pregnant?

Having a fever while pregnant is something that cannot always be avoided. Even if the cause of the fever is known, and not considered to be especially dangerous to the expectant woman, there is always the concern as to whether the fetus is in any danger. Although it is the cause of the fever and not the fever itself which may pose the greatest risk to the fetus, a fever can still be a threat to the fetus and should be brought under control. There are indications that a prolonged fever could upset the fetus' development to one degree of another. If the fever is slight and only temporary, there is probably little cause for concern. However in the case of a high or protracted fever, a doctor should always be notified, or a visit to the emergency room would be warranted if no doctor is readily available. A fever approaching 103 degrees should be considered very dangerous as far as potentially harming the fetus is concerned, especially in the earlier stages of pregnancy. As a rule of thumb, immediate medical attention should be sought any time a fever exceeds 101 degrees.

Not All Medications Are Appropriate - A pregnant woman should of course be checking with her doctor regarding any medications she either is taking or might choose to take. Medications designed to reduce the effects of a fever or reduce the fever itself are no exception. Some medications are fine; others could potentially be harmful to the unborn baby. Ibuprofen and aspirin for example, are useful in reducing a fever, but most doctors would advise a pregnant woman against taking either.

It is important to recognize that any increase in temperature experienced by the expectant mother is also felt by the fetus, therefore in the case of a high fever, immediate steps need to be taken to cool down both mother and baby. Any steps, some medications aside, that will lower body temperature should be considered. Anything which serves to raise a woman's body temperature (hyperthermia), not necessarily just a fever, presents a risk to the fetus, and though not necessarily fatal or cause of a miscarriage, could produce long lasting or permanent congenital defects in the child following birth. Medical experts will say that spending too much time in a hot tub while pregnant can be every bit as damaging to a fetus as a fever can.

Steps To Take - While it may be impossible to avoid having a fever, especially during a flu season, an expectant mother should of course take reasonable precautions to try to avoid any virus that may be on the prowl. The important thing however is to take steps to keep the fever down and to get rid of it as quickly as possible. The first step should be to check with the doctor to see what fever-reducing medications he or she recommends, and at the same time ask which medications that normally might be purchased over the counter would not be an appropriate choice. The next step would be to make sure to drink plenty of fluids. Drinking fluids, even cold fluids, will not in themselves break a fever, though they may help the process, but just as important drinking plenty of fluids is a step in reducing any chance of dehydration.

It's also important not to attempt to just carry on with day to day activities when running a fever. That may not seem easy, especially if one has a household to run, but getting rest is a very important step in bringing a fever down. Constant physical activity tends to increase, not reduce, body temperature, and if you are keeping very busy you'll be making it just that much more difficult to get a fever under control. And there is another obvious step of course, and that is putting a washcloth under cool tap water and then on the forehead. Such a simple act can go a long ways in reducing a fever while pregnant, or any other time for that matter.