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Sep 2023

Fever during pregnancy: Will it affect my baby?

Posted By Suborna Fermi Posted on Sep 20, 2023

If you are having a fever during your pregnancy journey, it is natural that you will be worried whether your baby is okay or not. But before you get fearful, take a deep breath and call your doctor to guide you on how to reduce your fever.

A fever is usually not harmful, but it can be dangerous during pregnancy. Fever during pregnancy can be a sign that you may have an underlying health complication which can be harmful for the developing fetus.

What is considered as a fever during pregnancy?

Generally if a person’s body temperature is over 98.6 degrees fahrenheit then it is considered as a fever. Similarly, if a pregnant woman’s temperature rises over 98.6 degrees fahrenheit then it indicates that her body is fighting with an infection and it requires immediate medical attention.

If you are in your first trimester and having a fever higher than 100 degrees fahrenheit then immediate medical care, because it may affect the developing fetus.

Although a fever lower than 100 degrees is usually not something that you should worry about, it is better to consult your doctor and try to reduce the temperature.

What can cause fever during pregnancy?

Fever is usually considered as a symptom of a disease, it can occur due to any infections as well. The common causes of a fever during pregnancy include:

  • Tonsillitis
  • Influenza
  • Pneumonia
  • Viral gastroenteritis (stomach virus)
  • Pyelonephritis (kidney infection)

What symptoms are the symptoms of fever?

If you are expecting and having a fever, then notice your symptoms and do tell your doctor about them. The other symptoms you may experience along with fever are:

  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Neck stiffness
  • Back pain
  • Abdominal pain

How long can a fever last during pregnancy?

Your fever may last as long as the underlying cause. This is why it is important to take steps right away when the temperature rises over 100 degrees fahrenheit.

How does a fever affect the fetus?

A few studies have suggested that a fever during pregnancy can increase the risk of developing congenital irregularities and autism, but more research is needed. Look at the section below to understand how fever during pregnancy can affect your baby.

  • Congenital irregularities: According to the CDC, congenital irregularities affect one in every thirty three babies. Some studies have indicated that fever in the first trimester of pregnancy increases the risk of the baby being born with congenital heart defects, neural tube defects and jaw defects. However, there is insufficient evidence to validate the link of fever and congenital irregularities.
  • Autism: A study of 2018 has found that there is a link between fever during pregnancy and autism, specifically if the fever occurred during the second trimester of the pregnancy. However, more evidence is required for the confirmation of the research.

Can a fever during pregnancy increase the chance of pregnancy loss?

Pregnancy loss or miscarriage is usually rare. Fever itself cannot cause a miscarriage, however, as a fever indicates an infection which can cause a miscarriage. Therefore, if you are expecting and having a fever then consult your doctor to determine the cause of the fever.