Fever During Pregnancy: The Ultimate Guide

Fever During Pregnancy: The Ultimate Guide

If you develop a fever while pregnant, it’s normal to worry if your baby will be alright.

Thankfully, there’s usually no need to panic.

Taking steps to treat the fever and the underlying cause, with help from a doctor, should keep you and your baby A-okay.

Here’s a full guide to fever during pregnancy.

In this article: 📝

  • Is it normal to have a low-grade fever during early pregnancy?
  • What is considered a fever during pregnancy?
  • What causes fever during pregnancy?
  • Can fever during pregnancy harm your baby?
  • How to treat a fever during pregnancy
  • When should you call a doctor if you have a fever while pregnant?
  • Preventing fever during pregnancy

Is it normal to have a low-grade fever during early pregnancy?

Pregnancy with fever? Not normal.

But hold your horses. A little extra warmth might not mean you have a fever.

Growing a baby human can raise your body temperature a little.

This is because of the extra blood in your body and the rise in the pregnancy hormone, progesterone, which can also be behind those pesky flushes and even the occasional hot flash.

Fun fact: it’s also why cats love to sit on mamas-to-be.

In early pregnancy, your hormones are bouncing around all over the place, so it’s not unusual to feel warmer than normal. And feeling toasty doesn’t necessarily equal fever.

The easiest way to check if you have a fever is simply to use a thermometer.

What is considered a fever during pregnancy?

Pregnancy doesn’t change the normal definition of a fever.

A healthy adult’s body temperature should always be around 97-99°F.

If your oral thermometer reading shows anything over 100.4°F, you officially have a fever.

A fever is also likely to come along with other symptoms, such as dizziness, alternate feelings of hot and cold, chills, or nausea, which you shouldn’t feel if you’re just a little warmer than usual.

If your temperature is higher than 101°F, this would be considered a high fever. High fevers can be dangerous, so if your temperature is at 101°F or above, you should definitely call your doctor to ask for advice.

What causes fever during pregnancy?

While our body temperature can slightly rise and fall for many different reasons, a fever is usually the sign that your body is trying to fight something off.

The most common causes of fever while pregnant include:

  • Colds and flu: Your immune system is a little weaker during pregnancy, so you’re more susceptible to common bugs.
  • COVID-19: Fever is one of the main symptoms of COVID. Tell your doctor and ask for a COVID test if you’re running a fever and you have any other symptoms, like a persistent cough, loss of your sense of taste or smell, or noticeable fatigue.
  • Viral or bacterial infections: Colds and flu are viral infections, but other viruses and bacterial infections, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs) or strep throat also trigger fever.
  • Food poisoning: Sadly, pregnancy doesn’t exempt you from food poisoning, either, especially listeriosis, which comes from undercooked meats or unpasteurized cheeses. This is the main reason behind all the foods that people tell you to avoid while pregnant.

Can fever during pregnancy harm your baby?

Getting a fever from a cold or other mild infection is fairly common in pregnancy.

However, it’s also a good idea to get to the bottom of what’s causing the fever so you can stop it from becoming more serious.

There is some research to suggest slight links between serious fevers in the first trimester of pregnancy and complications, including neural tube defects, congenital heart defects, and facial malformations like cleft palates.

Other studies have raised concerns about higher rates of autism in pregnancies with untreated fevers in the second trimester, although more research is needed.

While these all sound scary, none of the studies have found a strong link, and later studies have suggested that there actually isn’t conclusive evidence at all.

So keep a thermometer to hand but, as long as you stay in touch with your doctor, you and your baby should be safe and sound.

Can a fever cause a miscarriage?

One of the biggest fears about getting sick while pregnant is the possibility that it could cause pregnancy loss.

Take a deep breath, mama, because so much of the evidence is reassuring.

If a link has been found, it’s between certain very serious infections and pregnancy loss.

A regular cold or throat infection, while miserable, is extremely unlikely to have the same effect.

How to treat a fever during pregnancy

Wondering how to reduce fever during pregnancy?

The only over-the-counter medicine, like Theraflu recommended to bring down a fever during pregnancy is a low dose of acetaminophen or paracetamol, the main ingredient in Tylenol or Panado.

Other methods can help too:

  • A cool damp cloth over your eyes and face
  • A lukewarm (not cold) bath or shower
  • Resting in a cool room
  • Drinking lots of fluids

And treating the fever also means treating the underlying cause.

If your fever is related to a bacterial infection, rather than a viral one, you might need antibiotics or other prescription medication.

When should you call a doctor if you have a fever while pregnant?

If your temperature is anything over 100°F, this is considered a low-grade fever.

It’s a good idea to keep monitoring it in case it gets any higher and take some of the steps above to try to bring it down.

Any temperature over 101°F is considered a high fever. If your thermometer’s reading at this level, take the same steps to try and lower it – but make sure you also give your doctor or medical practitioner a call. They’ll then be able to recommend the right treatments to get you better and keep your little one safe.

Preventing fever during pregnancy

As a mama-to-be, you’re probably already doing everything you can to take care of your health while your little one is growing.

These are just a few extra precautions that can make the difference between getting an infection or not:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water regularly
  • Keep a safe distance from people who are sick
  • Get your recommended vaccines, like the flu vaccine in winter and the COVID vaccine.

These are all good ways to make sure that a fever during pregnancy is never something you need to worry about.


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