Our normal body temperature is 98.6oF. But for a pregnant woman, the temperature is usually heightened by 0.4 degrees. Several body changes, like hormone regulations and increased blood volume, can increase the temperature. In fact, the heart starts pumping 20% faster during the first trimester, which can also slightly increase body temperature.
Research shows that a moderate amount of heat is part of a healthy pregnancy. In fact, warmth is good for the baby. It can affect the weight and height in positive ways. Here are a few other effects of heat on the unborn baby.
Positive Effects of Body Heat
During the mid-pregnancy period, increased body temperature can improve the weight of the child. Body heat is a good sign because it indicates that more oxygen and food is being transported to the child. More blood would be required to carry food and vital proteins to the baby. All of these increase the heat. The babyborn is longer and heavier and is born well nourished.
However, that does not mean that pregnant womenshould always not maintain the right body temperature. Gynaecologists in Delhi recommendstaying hydrated, minimizing rigorous physical activities and soothingyour feet in water during the summer. You can also splash your face with cold water and massage your body if there are aches and pains, instead of using heating pads.
Down Side of Body Heat
While a slight increase in the core temperature is acceptable, excessive heat can lead to miscarriages.The spinal cord and backbone of the baby might not develop properly, leading to neural tube defects. These happens when the temperature has risen over 39oC, which is too hot for the little one. The normal process of protein synthesis can also be affected due to heat shocks. This could lead to protein homeostasis, leading to cell damage in the baby.
Changes in thermoregulation can make women vulnerable to heat effects. There have been quite a number of cases of still births, preterm births or low birth weight in children who have been exposed to high temperatures while in the womb.
Increased heat during summer can cause heatstroke, heat exhaustion, fatigue and dehydration for the pregnant woman. These are the potent causes of oxidative stress and might decrease the placental-fetal and uterine blood flow. This can lead to low birth weight or slow growth.Although rare, chances of still birth are the highest in case the mother has been exposed to high heat during the last week before delivering the child.
In the United States, maternal heat has led to many cases of infant morbidity due to birth defects. The heart development of the child begins within the first 6 weeks. Maternal heat exposure during this time can lead to congenital heart defects. In fact, hot flashes at regular intervals can also lead to several heart conditions in the child, in the near future. Further, fever or exhaustion can raise the body temperature, which could lead to heart complications.
How to Deal with Maternal Heat?
Owing to the number of negative impacts, it is always crucial to keep the heat levels below 39oC. Make sure to drink loads of fluids, particularly during summer pregnancies. Keep yourself cool by swimming, taking cold showers and using water misters at intervals. Try not to step out during mid-day to avoid sunburn. Finish your cardio, like walking or running early morning or wait till the evening. Lastly, wear fresh clothes made of breathable materials to maintain the air flow.
If you are feeling hot and dry or there is a sudden increase in the breathingrate, even after precautions, consult the best gynaecologist in Delhi.