Overheating During Pregnancy: Causes, risks, and prevention tips to ensure your well-being and your baby’s safety.
Due to excessive heat, there is a possibility of complications like heat exhaustion and heat stroke due to dehydration. This article covers easy ways to relieve and protect yourself from hot flashes during pregnancy.
Causes of overheating
Normally, when we feel hot, our body tries to cool down by sweating. If the body lacks water for any reason, it produces less sweat, making it impossible to remove excess heat through sweat. Dehydration is more common during pregnancy. As a result, the body cannot cool itself through sweating and feels hotter than usual.
Again, during pregnancy, you carry the baby along with yourself. This makes all the parts of your body work more than usual. As a result, your body’s metabolism, or food digestion rate, also increases. A high metabolic rate generates excess heat in the body. Due to this, it can cause overheating.
Also, during pregnancy, the levels of various hormones in your body fluctuate. Excess hormones can also be responsible for hot flashes. Apart from this, your body’s blood circulation increases to supply nutrients to your baby’s body. Excessive blood flow can also cause overheating.
Who is more likely to have problems?
Any mother can experience overheating during pregnancy. But in some cases, you may have more problems. For example,
- If you have a pre-existing complex or long-term illness, For example, diabetes, heart and kidney disease, and mental problems
- If you regularly work outside the home,
- If you are on the top floor of the building,
Complications from overheating
If your body temperature rises above 39°C or 102.2°F during pregnancy, you may experience the following problems:
If you exercise in the heat, you may experience a kind of cramp in your body. Excess sweat is usually produced as a result of exercise, along with excess salt and water loss from the body, leading to this occurrence. This can lead to pain in your hands, feet, and stomach.
What to do if you have heat cramps
- Stop working or exercising and move to a cool place.
- Drink enough water.
- Avoid physical exertion until the pain of heat cramps subsides.
Knowing when to consult a doctor
- If the cramp lasts more than an hour,
- If your diet is deficient in sodium and is accompanied by heat cramps,
- If you have heart problems,
If your water intake is less than the amount of water your body loses through sweat or other means when your body heats up, you may experience dehydration.
Dehydration can disrupt your body’s normal functions. Blood flow through your placenta or fetus may even decrease. Dehydration can trigger your labour-preparatory contractions, called Braxton-Hicks contractions. Dehydration can also cause you to turn your head and fall over when you stand up.
How do you know if you are dehydrated?
- You will feel very thirsty.
- Urine will be dark yellow and strong-smelling.
- The head will turn.
- You will feel tired.
- The heartbeat will feel faster and stronger.
- Mouths and lips will be dry.
- The eyes will enter the coat.
- There will be less than four times a day and very small amounts of urine.
Swelling of the hands and feet
When your body becomes dehydrated during the summer, your body tries to retain water on its own. This excess water accumulates in the lower parts of the body. Especially when you are standing for a long time. This can cause your hands, feet, ankles, and feet to swell—medically known as edema or swelling.
During pregnancy, excess heat aggravates the natural tendency to accumulate water in the hands and feet.
What to do to prevent swelling of the hands and feet
- Avoid standing for long periods.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Drink lots of water.
In addition to these, you can also do the following exercises:
- Bend and straighten your legs 30 times.
- Circle each leg eight times.
Heat rash and hives
During pregnancy, you may get small rashes from the heat. The heat can cause these rashes to cluster and resemble pimples or small blisters. The shoulder, chest, armpit, and groin usually have these rashes or scratches.
What to do if you have heat rash
- Stay in a cool place.
- Keep the blisters dry.
- You can apply powder to get relief from rashes or scratches.
This is a known skin problem due to heat during pregnancy. This results in brown or grey spots on some areas of the skin. This kind of problem occurs, especially in the mouth. One in two pregnant women may have this problem.
How to prevent melasma
- Avoid direct heat or ultraviolet radiation from the sun as much as possible.
- When going outside, wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen lotion with good SPF.
Don’t worry about melasma during pregnancy. If you have this problem due to pregnancy, it will usually go away within a few months after giving birth.
Being in extremely hot and humid weather can cause heat exhaustion. It is a type of hyperthermia or high-temperature problem. If not treated quickly, it can turn into a heat stroke.
In the case of heat exhaustion, if you feel better within half an hour or an hour, you will not need any special treatment. However, if the condition does not improve within an hour, consult a doctor immediately.
You may experience the following symptoms of heat exhaustion:
- Sweating profusely
- Pale skin
- Muscle aches
- Headache or dizziness
- Fatigue and weakness
- Experiencing nausea or vomiting
- Loss of consciousness is a state in which a person is unable to respond to external stimuli and is unaware of their surroundings.
What to do if you experience heat exhaustion
- Move from a hot place to a cold place.
- Remove excess clothing.
- Wipe the body with a cold, wet cloth.
- If possible, sit in the bathtub in cold water.
- If the condition does not improve within an hour, go to the nearest hospital or consult a doctor.
Heat stroke is a serious complication of high temperatures. In this case, the body loses its ability to regulate temperature, so the body temperature rises rapidly. The temperature can even rise to 106° or more within 10–15 minutes. If not treated urgently, it can lead to death.
Warning signs of heat stroke
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following symptoms:
- If the body temperature is above 103°F,
- If there is no sweating even in very hot weather and the skin is hot, dry, and red
- If the pulse is felt faster and stronger than usual,
- If you have a headache,
- Turn your head.
- If there is nausea,
- If you do not understand what is happening around you or if you talk or behave incoherently,
- If you lose consciousness
If any of these symptoms appear, it is important to consult a doctor immediately in addition to overheating during pregnancy. Heat stroke can cause heart, brain, kidney, and muscle problems. Therefore, it is crucial not to ignore these symptoms.
First steps in case of heat stroke
- Move the victim to a cool, shaded area.
- Try to cool him down as quickly as possible. Pour cold water on him or wrap him in a cold cloth.
- Keep measuring body temperature with a thermometer. Continue to cool until the temperature reaches 101–102°F.
- In the meantime, take the affected person to the nearest hospital emergency department or doctor as soon as possible.
Prevention of overheating
You can get relief from overheating during pregnancy by following some simple tips:
1. Drink enough water: A healthy pregnant woman needs to drink an average of 2–3 liters of water per day. In terms of cups or glasses, you should drink a total of 8–12 glasses of water throughout the day. But if your doctor has given any special advice in this regard, then follow it. Take a bottle of water with you if you go out.
2. Bathe regularly: Bathe regularly if you feel overheated during pregnancy. If necessary, wipe the body with a wet cloth. Care should be taken that the bath water temperature does not exceed 32°C.
3. Wear comfortable clothing: Wear loose, breathable clothing during hot weather. Cotton and linen fabrics are comfortable at this time. Light-colored clothing absorbs less sunlight. Wear light-colored clothes and avoid black or dark-colored clothes during pregnancy.
4. Be careful with food intake: If you feel overheated during pregnancy, eat light food. Eat fruits, salads, and easily digestible foods. You can eat fruits that are high in water content (e.g., watermelon).
5. Get work done: Avoid outdoor work as much as possible during pregnancy. If you work in the sun, take breaks in the shade now and then, and drink water. Avoid exercise or heavy activities in extreme heat during pregnancy.
6. Avoid strong sun: From 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., the sun is strong. Avoid going out of the house unless necessary. Close the curtains if it’s too hot outside while indoors.
7. Use sunscreen: Use an umbrella and stay in a shaded area when going out in the hot sun. If there is no umbrella, wear a hat or cap and wear sunglasses. Use a pregnancy-safe sunscreen (SPF 30+) as recommended by your doctor.
8. Pay attention to urine: When our body is dehydrated, the kidneys produce less thick, dark-colored urine. That is, less quantity and dark-colored urine indicate dehydration in your body. So take care of your urine during this time.
Overheating During Pregnancy:
In summary, pregnancy-related high temperatures are a serious issue that needs to be addressed and prevented. Safeguarding the health of the expecting mother and the unborn child is dependent on knowing the reasons for overheating and the dangers involved. Pregnant women can reduce their risk of overheating by implementing practical preventive measures, including drinking plenty of water, dressing comfortably, avoiding prolonged hot exposure, and taking care of themselves. Throughout your pregnancy, it’s critical to pay attention to every aspect of your body, get healthcare assistance if you’re feeling hot, and put your comfort and safety first. You and your unborn child can have a comfortable and secure pregnancy journey if you take proactive measures to avoid overheating.
Mother's excessive heat during pregnancy is harmful to the baby.
If your body temperature rises along with your hotness during pregnancy, it can be harmful to your unborn baby.
If your body temperature is above 39.2°C during the first 12 weeks, your baby’s risk of birth defects increases.
Research has also shown that if dehydration occurs in the mother’s body due to excessive heat, there is a risk of the baby being born with less than normal weight, height, head, and chest circumference.
Some studies have linked overheating during pregnancy to serious complications such as premature birth or stillbirth.
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