How to manage fever in pregnancy

When the thermometer rises above the physiological few tenths typical of pregnancy, it is better to immediately investigate the cause and take the right measures

Having a fever during pregnancy can be scary, and it’s very important to take it seriously so as not to jeopardize the pregnancy itself. First, however, let’s clarify that, to speak of fever, the temperature must measure from about 37.5 upwards. If, on the other hand, it is a simple alteration, i.e. two or three tenths more than usual, it is probable that it depends on the normal rise in temperature, caused by hormonal production, common to many pregnant women. Here’s what to do if a real fever appears.

Flus and paraflus among the most common causes

Fever is a symptom that certainly needs to be treated, but it is equally important to focus on the cause, to understand whether it is a bacterial or viral disorder, and how this can also put the child at risk, to decide how proceed. If the cause is a normal flu or parainfluenza, it is advisable to lower the temperature with an antipyretic and be vigilant so that complications such as pneumonia or further infections do not follow.

Beware of urinary tract infections

Another common cause of fever in pregnancy is a urinary tract infection, also called a UTI. It can be a simple cystitis (inflammation of the bladder) but also a pyelitis, where the ureter is inflamed, or the more serious pyelonephritis, which involves the ureter and kidneys. In all three cases there may be the risk of premature birth, it is therefore advisable to prevent by carrying out the monthly urine control and, in case of infection, consult immediately with your doctor.

If the cause is the pregnancy itself

More rarely, it happens that the fever is caused by a pregnancy complication. This can be a genital infection, also often signaled by abdominal pain and bleeding or amniotic fluid . It is to be taken seriously both as an infection itself and because it can cause pre-term labor. Sometimes, in rare cases, a high fever with pain and losses can be the result of an amniocentesis or CVS that has caused a strong internal infection: it is an event as rare as it is dangerous, which requires immediate action.

Antipyretics and other drugs

In general, it is always good to lower the fever during pregnancy: although it has not been fully confirmed, some studies suggest that a rise in temperature in the mother can affect the development of the child and even increase the risk of congenital defects in the brain and spinal cord . Even for the pregnant woman, a feverish state is an additional source of stress.

The most suitable and widespread drug is paracetamol , more rarely but in any case used acetylsalicylic acid, whose vasodilator effect must be kept in mind. In case of complications such as pneumonia or localized infections, an antibiotic could be prescribed, to be carefully evaluated with your doctor, as well as a cortisone. Even those who treat themselves with phytotherapy must consult a specialist, because some natural substances (such as propolis) are not recommended during pregnancy. Then make way for support therapy: drink lots of water and dedicate yourself to the right rest.

Katherine Johnson, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with clinical expertise in general obstetrics and gynecology, family planning, women’s health, and gynecology.

She is affiliated with the Obstetrics and Gynecology division at an undisclosed healthcare institution and the online platform,

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