Why do I feel hot during pregnancy?

Wondering why you feel hot during pregnancy? We tell you the causes of overheating during pregnancy and ways to deal with it.
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Know why you are feeling hot during pregnancy. Image courtesy: Freepik
Natalia Ningthoujam Published: 21 Jan 2024, 15:00 pm IST
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When women get pregnant, they may experience morning sickness, mood swings, dizziness, backache, exhaustion and swollen ankles. Some may even get overheated while they are pregnant. They may sweat a lot, feel warmer to touch and have flushed skin. Staying hydrated, wearing breathable fabrics, and avoiding excessive heat can help alleviate discomfort and ensure a more comfortable experience for expectant mothers. But first, let us find out why women feel hot during pregnancy and how it affects the baby.

Why do women feel hot during pregnancy?

Feeling hot during pregnancy is a common occurrence. It is a normal aspect of pregnancy, says obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Puja Sharma. The main causes are:

1. Hormonal fluctuations

The surge in progesterone levels prompts vasodilation, which is the widening of blood vessels due to the relaxation of the blood vessel’s muscular walls. It enhances blood circulation and generates a sensation of warmth.

Woman feeling hot
Hormonal changes may cause overheating during pregnancy. Image courtesy: Adobe stock

2. Heightened blood flow

When the uterus expands during pregnancy, it exerts pressure on blood vessels. It intensifies body temperature, says the expert.

3. Increased metabolic rate

When you are carry a baby, there is an increased need for calories. Your nutrition and calories get shared with your baby, so your metabolism increases. As there is an increased energy production, you may experience more intense heat sensations.

4. Weight gain

Weight gain during pregnancy is normal, but it can also make you feel hot. As you carry around more weight, your heart starts working harder to support your baby. All this can make contribute to overheating.

How does overheating affect a baby during pregnancy?

If your core body temperature reaches 102 degrees Fahrenheit, it can be too hot for your baby. Overheating during pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester, raises the risk of neural tube defects in the developing fetus, shares Dr Sharma. As per a 2018 study published in the Birth Defects Research, such defects are the second most common congenital malformations in humans that affect the central nervous system’s development.

Prolonged exposure to elevated temperatures may also induce dehydration, adversely affecting the amniotic fluid and potentially impacting the baby’s development.

How to deal with overheating during pregnancy?

Prioritising self-awareness and proactive cooling measures can help. Here’s what you can do.

1. Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration. It will help regulate body temperature.

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2. Dress appropriately

Wear loose-fitting, light-coloured clothes, especially in places where it’s hot. This will allow better air circulation and reflect sunlight.

3. Avoid sun exposure

Stay inside your home or workplace during peak sun hours, which is typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is to minimise exposure to high temperatures.

4. Use cooling products

Avoid hot tubs or hot water bags, instead apply cool compresses on your body and use fans. You can also take cool showers to bring down your body temperature.

Pregnant woman
Apply cold compresses on your body during pregnancy. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Take breaks

Avoid prolonged periods of activity and take breaks in shaded areas. Rest when needed to prevent excessive overheating, suggests the expert.

6. Exercise mindfully

Engage in moderate exercises during pregnancy to stay active and healthy. Avoid high intensity exercises to minimise the risk of overheating and to ensure your baby’s safety.

7. Optimise indoor environment

Keep indoor spaces well-ventilated to maintain a comfortable temperature. You can use air conditioning if you are in a hot place.

8. Elevate your feet

Swelling and increased body temperature often go hand in hand during pregnancy, says the expert. Elevating your feet can help take care of both the problems.

Implementing these measures can help pregnant women manage overheating, ensuring a more comfortable and safer pregnancy.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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