Are hot flashes during pregnancy interrupting your regular programming? Sorry, mama. We know. These temperature surges can be more than a little uncomfortable.
But are they cause for concern?
The answer—like most things to do with this colorful time of life—is not so black and white.
While hot flashes can be a harmless pregnancy symptom, overheating while pregnant can be dangerous.
Let’s take a closer look at what that means for you.
In this article: 📝
- What are hot flashes while pregnant?
- Is hot flashes a pregnancy symptom?
- What causes hot flashes and dizziness during pregnancy?
- Is it bad to get overheated while pregnant?
What are hot flashes while pregnant?
Pregnancy comes along with a unique set of complicated questions.
What’s up with my digestive system? Is it really possible to pee this many times in a day? And is it normal to be crying during commercials?
Yep, there’s a lot going on right now.
The good news is you don’t have to answer any of these questions alone. Your Peanut community is here to help.
So, let’s get started—are hot flashes while pregnant something to worry about? Or should you just, um, glow with the flow?
Is hot flashes a pregnancy symptom?
The short answer is yes, hot flashes are indeed a pregnancy symptom.
In fact, they are so common that thirty-five percent of pregnant women in this 2014 study reported having them.
Hot flashes can happen at any point in your pregnancy but tend to kick off early on and reach their peak in the third trimester.
In some cases, they can last into the postpartum phase.
So what do they even feel like? While no two experiences are alike, it’s common to experience them as a rush of heat to your face.
They can also cause you to feel a bit sweatier than usual.
(That pregnancy glow? Um. Maybe not as romantic as it’s made out to be.)
Added to this, in some cases, they can be accompanied by feelings of dizziness.
While being lightheaded is common during pregnancy, it’s always worth checking in with your doctor if you’re worried.
Seriously. There are no stupid questions when it comes to your health.
So why do these symptoms happen? And is there anything you can do about them?
What causes hot flashes and dizziness during pregnancy?
It may come as no surprise that hot flashes in early pregnancy are mainly because of those changing hormone levels.
The primary culprits here are estrogen and progesterone, which increase during pregnancy to help support the health and development of your growing baby.
Once your baby is born, these same hormones drop quite dramatically, meaning that postpartum temperature regulation can also be tricky.
Other factors that contribute to that temperature rising? Increased blood flow. In what may seem an almost impossible feat, your blood volume increases by a whopping 50% when you’re pregnant.
Your heart then kicks in to help support the whole operation.
Add all this together, and it’s not surprising that your internal heating system kicks it up a few notches as your pregnancy progresses.
So, if you experience a sudden hot flash while pregnant, it may just be par for the course. So when is it worth worrying? Let’s take a look.
Is it bad to get overheated while pregnant?
Now for the big question—when is feeling hot during pregnancy a cause for concern?
The reality is that while it’s normal for your temperature to rise a bit over the course of your pregnancy, overheating during pregnancy can be cause for concern.
When you’re pregnant, it’s that much harder for you to cool yourself and your baby down, putting you at far greater risk of heatstroke and dehydration.
To avoid dehydration during pregnancy, limit caffeine and avoid strenuous exercise that leads to excessive sweating.
Recent research suggests that overheating during pregnancy can have a detrimental effect on the growth of your baby, and may lead to a range of complications, including preterm birth, stillbirth and low birth weight.
The CDC also warns that overexposure to heat may increase the chance of your developmental defects in the neural tube—the structure that forms your baby’s brain and the spine.
That’s why health guidelines recommend that a core body temperature at or above 102°F is too hot while you’re pregnant.
If you feel intense thirst, are feverish and/or confused, or are sweating excessively, it’s worth getting in touch with a healthcare provider.
And here’s what you can do to keep things cool. 😎
- Avoid hot tubs and jacuzzis: Using steam rooms, jacuzzis, and even saunas prevents your body from losing heat through sweating, making your core temperature rise.
- Don’t spend too much time in the hot sun: For sun-lovers, we’ve got some hot sun safety tips while pregnant.
- Keep hydrated: Try to drink about eight cups of water a day. Opt for iced or cold drinks if you live in a hotter climate.
- Swim: Unless your doctor has told you otherwise, it’s safe to take a dip in the pool to cool off. (Check out our guide to swimming while pregnant).
- Try not to overexert yourself: Try to exercise safely during pregnancy.
- Keep the temperature low indoors: Take cold showers, sit next to a fan, and choose the air-conditioned room. Do what you need to keep your cool.
Other pro tips? A cold compress can go a long way—just avoid putting ice directly on your skin.
A simple spray bottle of cool water can also be a welcome addition to your bedside table.
Another important piece of advice? This is not the time to be donning those winter PJs.
Sleeping in cool clothes under light bedding is a quick fix that can do wonders for your well-being.
Also, that heating pad that does such a wonderful job at relieving pregnancy symptoms? It’s okay to use, but do so with caution.
So the bottom line? Hot flashes are a common pregnancy symptom—but overheating can be dangerous. Prioritize your comfort for the health and well-being of you and your baby.
You don’t have to just stand the heat. There is really no better time to get out of the kitchen.
(And for more on how to cope with the full gamut of pregnancy symptoms, here’s your complete guide.)
All the best, mama.