How to Treat a Fever during Pregnancy

Fever during pregnancy is not all that uncommon, especially if you have or spend time around small children.  In fact, many times you can treat a fever on your own, as long as it isn’t too high.

How High is Too High?

You needn’t worry too much about a low-grade fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or less.  It may signal the onset of a cold or some other common virus.  However, if your fever rises to about 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, it is time to call your obstetrician. 

First Trimester:

During the first trimester of pregnancy, it is especially important to call your doctor, no matter how low your fever is because this is a critical time in the development of your baby.  Your obstetrician may want you to come in and be checked, or you will be given instructions of what to do at home to reduce your fever.

Reduce Your Fever:

The first thing to do when you have a fever is to reduce it.  Tylenol (acetaminophen) can be taken according to label instructions.  Be careful not to take anything else unless instructed to by your doctor.  Many cold medications have a combination of as many as four ingredients and could harmful to your unborn child.  Any medication that contains aspirin or ibuprofen should definitely not be taken. 

Talk to the Pharmacist:

Your pharmacist is a reliable source of information, if you are unable to reach your obstetrician. 

Hydration is Vital:

When you are running a fever, be sure to drink plenty of fluids.  The sweating and rapid breathing from your fever causes you to lose fluids.  So you should be consuming more fluids than normal when you have a fever.  If you are feeling nauseated in conjunction with the fever, suck on a few ice chips.  These will probably stay down and help you to tolerate more liquids a little later.

Feed Your Fever:

Fevers cause you to burn more calories and much-needed nutrition.  Try a milkshake or a cool, high calorie smoothy, if you can.  These will provide both liquid and nutrition.

Rest:

When you have a fever, it is important for you to rest.  Eight hours of rest and sleep will help your body to heal.

Extra Measures:

If your fever is spiking higher than 101 or 102 degrees Fahrenheit, try soaking in a tepid bath.  The water does not need to be cold for you to lower your fever.  When you get out of the bathtub and dry off, the evaporating water will help in lowering your fever.

If you are unable to take a tepid bath, blot yourself with a washcloth soaked in cool water and wrung out.  Start by blotting your forehead and the inside of your wrists.  Then blot your torso, arms, legs, and face. 

Remember:

Fevers are not uncommon.  Be sure to call your obstetrician if your fever is over 100.4, especially if you are in your first trimester of pregnancy.  Stay hydrated, don’t take any other medications to lower fever except Tylenol (and this should be with your doctor’s approval).  You need to replace nutrients when you have a fever.  So do not forget to eat.  Ice chips will help keep you hydrated when you are nauseous or vomiting, and take a tepid bath or blot with a cool washcloth, if your fever spikes and call your doctor. 

With proper care, maintenance and rest, your fever will pass and your baby will not be adversely affected. 

Sources:

If You Get Sick During Pregnancy. (2010). BabyNamesCountry. Retrieved on February 24, 2011, from http://www.babynamescountry.com/pregnancy_help.html

How to Handle a Fever During Pregnancy. (201). eHow. Retrieved on February 24, 2011, from http://www.ehow.com/how_2302714_handle-fever-during-pregnancy.html

Lowe, D., Dr. (2007). Fever During Pregnancy. Doctors Lounge. Retrieved on February 24, 2011, from http://www.doctorslounge.com/gynecology/forums/backup/topic-14501.html

4 Ways to Handle a Fever During Pregnancy. (2009). Livestrong.com. Retrieved on February 24, 2011, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/6834-handle-fever-during-pregnancy/