Pregnancy Hot Flashes
Hot flashes aren’t just a menopausal symptom. They can also affect pregnant women. Hot flashes a lesser-known pregnancy symptom that can make life unbearable.
An estimated 10 percent of all pregnant women will have hot flashes at some point during their 40 weeks of pregnancy.
Pregnancy hot flashes are common in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, but they can also strike in early pregnancy. And unfortunately, hot flashes won’t go away after delivery, either.
Roughly 90 percent of new mothers will suffer from postpartum hot flashes.
Hot flashes in pregnancy affect your head, neck, and chest. Pregnancy hot flashes can last from a few seconds to several minutes. In some women, their hot flashes last all day, or they are extremely hot during the daytime. You may experience pregnancy hot flashes that wake you up in the middle of the night.
What Causes Pregnancy Hot Flashes?
During pregnancy, you experience regular fluctuations in your hormone levels. The drops in estrogen, which can occur in pregnancy, are to blame for your hot flashes.
Pregnancy hot flashes are more common to the second and final trimesters, since your hormonal levels tend to level out after the first trimester. After you have your baby, you may experience postpartum hot flashes – due to your estrogen remaining low during breastfeeding.
Hot flashes will come and go during pregnancy, and they are normal – no matter what week of pregnancy you’re in.
How to Cope with Hot Flashes in Pregnancy
Because pregnancy hot flashes are caused by hormonal changes, there is nothing you can do to actually prevent a hot flash from occurring. But if you’re having regular hot flashes, make sure that you’re always dressed in layered clothes. This way, when you have a hot flash, you can easily shed the layers you don’t need and feel comfortable in a tank top or a thin undershirt.
Another way to get relief when a hot flash strikes is to stand in front of an air conditioner or near an air conditioning vent. Standing in front of a blowing fan will also help you feel better.
If you’re having pregnancy hot flashes, pay attention to the type of fabrics that you’re wearing. Wearing natural fibers, such as 100 percent cotton, may help you feel cooler and less hot.
Taking a cold shower when you’re having a hot flash can also give you some relief. If you can’t take a shower, then try drinking an ice cold glass of water.
When to Contact Your Doctor about Pregnancy Hot Flashes
Having a pregnancy hot flash is uncomfortable, but it’s such a normal pregnancy symptom. Some women will have to struggle with hot flashes throughout their entire pregnancy – from the first trimester until their due date. Other women’s hot flashes don’t strike until later in the pregnancy. You may not have any hot flashes in your first pregnancy, and you’ll suffer from this symptom in your second or third pregnancy.
Pregnancy hot flashes shouldn’t be anything to worry about, but it’s important that you can tell the difference between a fever and a hot flash. Keep in mind that a fever will elevate your body temperature, and a hot flash does not.
Having a high fever (over 100 F) in pregnancy can be dangerous, so you’ll want to contact your doctor right away.