A fever is a temporary increase in body temperature that happens when your body is trying to fight an illness or infection. A fever itself isn’t likely to cause any problems, but it usually signals that something else is going on in your body that could be of concern, especially during pregnancy.
What causes it?
A fever can have a number of different causes, like a cold, the flu, strep throat, or other common illnesses that a person – pregnant or not – might face. However, there are a number of infections and conditions that may be more common and serious during pregnancy that could also cause a fever. These include:
- UTI: Urinary tract infections are very common during pregnancy, affecting up to 30% of women at some point during their 9 months of pregnancy. UTIs are usually treated quite easily with antibiotics and plenty of fluids, but if untreated, they can develop into dangerous kidney infections.
- Fifth disease: Caused by a virus, fifth disease is a common childhood illness that presents as a red rash, as well as a fever and headache. Though usually mild, fifth disease during pregnancy can make it harder for a baby to produce red blood cells, which can cause some serious problems. Fifth disease usually goes away on its own, but it’s best for your healthcare provider to know about and monitor it.
Being a little sick isn’t likely to hurt your baby in any way, but certain conditions can be harmful, so it’s best to contact your healthcare provider if the fever lasts longer than 24 hours or so. You should also let him or her know if your fever exceeds 101 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38 Celsius, or if, in addition to a fever, you notice a rash, severe headaches, trouble urinating, or any other symptoms you feel like are worth getting checked.
If a mild fever is the only symptom you present, it’s best to just treat it at home like you otherwise would. A fever is the body’s natural defense against intruding viruses and bacteria, so if there’s nothing seriously wrong, it should go away in no time.
- Sir John Dewhurst. Dewhurst’s Textbook of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 8th ed. Keith Edmonds. John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 2012. Print.
- Susan Storck et al. “Fetal Development.” U.S National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus, 9/30/2013. Web.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “First trimester pregnancy: what to expect.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 4/22/2014. Web.