Fever During Pregnancy: Causes & Home Remedies To Reduce It

There may be many reasons behind the high temperature, and some of them may mean trouble.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Monisha Bhanote, MD, FCAP, ABOIM Dr. Monisha Bhanote Dr. Monisha BhanoteMD, FCAP, ABOIM facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BCom, Certificate In Natural Medicine Sanchari Bhattacharya BCom, Certificate In Natural Medicine Experience: 10 years
Edited by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English) Dipti Sharma MA (English) Experience: 2 years

Doctors consider a temperature of 100.4°F and over to be a fever indicating that your body is fighting an infection. A fever during pregnancy is no different from a regular fever, except that it may carry some risks or be indicative of a pregnancy-related complication (1). Now, before you get stressed out any further, you need to understand that not every instance of fever is dangerous. Most of the time it is easily resolved without any harm to you or your growing baby.

The important thing to do is to promptly identify the underlying cause and get it treated. This guide can help you understand the different reasons behind fever in pregnancy and can hamper maternal health, and what you can do about it.

Common Causes Of Fever During Pregnancy

  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
A urinary tract infection may cause fever during pregnancy
Image: Shutterstock

UTIs or urinary tract infections are quite common during pregnancy and can present fever as a symptom. Your urinary tract comprises your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra, and an infection may develop from bacteria that get into this system. Most urinary tract infections occur in the bladder and can present other symptoms besides fever, like (2):

  • Strong urge to urinate
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Chills
  • Pelvic pain
  • Cloudy urine
  • Blood in the urine

If UTIs are left untreated, the infection may reach the kidneys and cause serious complications including preterm labori  XEarly labor, which occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy. It may lead to bigger hazards to the baby's health. , low birth weight in babies, and even sepsisi  XLife-threatening condition that develops when the body's response against an infection destroys its own tissues. (3).

  • Influenza

Pregnancy puts you at a greater risk of catching the flu and getting severely sick from it, as the illness is caused due to a suppressed immune system in your body (4). Some common symptoms of flu or influenza are (5):

  • Sudden high fever
  • Chills
  • Coughing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Flu should be treated and monitored to reduce the risk of serious complications. As flu can make you really ill, the CDC recommends that all pregnant women should take the flu shot (6).

  • Upper Respiratory Infection
Upper respiratory infection may cause fever during pregnancy
Image: Shutterstock

A viral infection in the upper respiratory tract, or the common cold, can be another reason behind a fever in pregnancy. While an upper respiratory tract infection has similar symptoms as the flu, they are generally not as severe and tend to resolve by themselves, generally within two weeks. Some additional symptoms that may distinguish a common cold from the flu are (7):

  • Low-grade fever
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Breathing difficulty

You may be able to treat the common cold with home remedies. However, if your symptoms do not improve, get in touch with your doctor as URI in pregnancy may be associated with behavior problems in childhood (8). So, work on fever management with special maternal medicines for fever treatment.

  • Gastroenteritis

Gastrointestinal infection may cause fever in pregnancy, and it may present with more worrying symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. Dehydration resulting from these can have serious consequences as it may cause contractions or preterm labor (9), (10).
Low blood pressure, dizziness, weakness, fainting, and electrolyte imbalance are some other serious side effects of a gastrointestinal infection. You should immediately contact the doctor in the following situations (11):

  • There is blood in your vomit.
  • You have signs of dehydration like thirst, dry mouth, dizziness, low urine output.
  • You have a fever above 101 °F.
  • You cannot drink or eat anything without throwing up for 24 hours.
  • There is blood in your stool.

It is best to keep your ob-gyn informed about your condition to avoid the risk of complications. You should drink plenty of fluids and may change to a bland or BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) diet as a natural way to support your prescribed treatment.

Depending on what the reason behind your pregnancy fever is, you may need to work with your ob-gyn, even when it comes to over-the-counter medications. That’s because some commonly used OTC medicines to treat fever and other symptoms may not be safe during pregnancy. Besides this, there are a number of things you can do at home to help get rid of fever naturally.

Best Home Remedies To Treat Fever During Pregnancy

Use a damp washcloth on the forehead to bring the fever down
Image: Shutterstock
  • Place a damp washcloth on your forehead as you lie down. Let it rest there for a minute before you dip it in cool water again and place it back after squeezing out any excess water.
  • Take a lukewarm bath. You can soak in a bathtub for a while or if you are uncomfortable, take a sponge bath. Don’t use cold water or rubbing alcohol to cool the fever down.
  • Drinking anything may feel like a chore, but continue to drink plenty of fluids so that you can stay hydrated and also help cool your body from within.
  • If you have a fan, turn it on and keep it at a comfortable speed. This can help your body cool down and lower your temperature.
  • Wearing only a light layer of clothing is one of the essential elements of paternal care. If you feel chills, wrap a light blanket around you till you feel warm. Remove it if you are feeling too warm.
  • Stay indoors, away from the sun and heat. In the evening, find a cool and comfortable place to rest.

A blogger recounted her story of getting a fever during her sixth month of pregnancy and found no solace in using home remedies. She said, “My mother in law started to get worried and boiled barli and liang desserts for me. However it didnt work. My sister in law even massaged my feet referring to a “xue dao”‘s book. I didn’t get any better but truly appreciate my mom and sis in law effort in helping me to recover (i).”

protip_icon Quick Tip
It is recommended to get good-quality sleep and reduce strenuous work to prevent developing a fever during pregnancy.

You may be able to bring down your temperature using these methods, but if the fever comes back, you should call your ob-gyn. Pregnancy and fever don’t gel well, so you need to be aware when professional help is the way to go.

When To See A Doctor

A pregnant woman visiting her doctor
Image: Shutterstock

You need to contact your doctor when your fever does not subside after trying the natural remedies or if you have accompanying symptoms of gestational complications indicating a serious underlying condition.

Besides the common causes of fever that may affect you during your pregnancy, there are a few medical conditions that affect only pregnant women and may cause fever-like symptoms. These conditions require prompt medical attention as they may cause unwanted complications. Some of them are (1):

  • Chorioamnionitis

This is a medical condition characterized by a bacterial infection in the membranes (chorion and amnion) that surround the fetus as well as the amniotic fluid. Fever, chills, sweating, rapid heartbeat, unusual vaginal discharge, and a tender uterus are common symptoms of chorioamnionitis.
If left untreated, this can lead to serious complications for both the mother and baby (12). So, also connect with your doctor or obstetrics for appropriate prenatal care if you notice such symptoms of maternal fever that can cause fetal health issues.

  • Listeria

Listeria is a serious infection that may result from the consumption of contaminated food or water. Fever is one of the earliest symptoms of listeria. Other signs include muscle ache, nausea, and diarrhea. The infection can spread to the nervous system if not treated promptly and may cause loss of balance, headache, stiff neck, confusion, and convulsionsi  XMedical condition in which the body's muscles contract violently and involuntarily due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. . Not all cases of listeria cause harm to the unborn child, but in some, there is the risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, severe infection in the newborn, and even stillbirth (13).

  • Fifth Disease Or Parvovirus B19

Parvovirus B19 is rare in pregnant women, however, if contracted, it may lead to miscarriage or cause the baby to be born with severe anemia. Fever may or may not accompany joint pain, which is the most common symptom of Parvovirus B19 in adults (14).

Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor can prescribe you the course of treatment keeping in mind both your and your baby’s health. You can take a glimpse at some common medical treatment options for a fever during pregnancy.

Medical Ways To Treat A Fever While Pregnant

  • For fever related to a viral infection, your doctor may ask you to take acetaminophen, commonly available as Tylenol. In addition, he may prescribe an antiviral medication.
  • For a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe you a course of antibiotics to stop the spread of the infection.
  • You can take antipyretics under a doctor’s prescription. It helps to reduce fever.
  • Your doctor may also prescribe you additional drugs for the symptomatic treatment depending on the medical condition that is causing your fever.

protip_icon Did You Know?
Acetaminophen, used to treat fever and mild to moderate pain, was first synthesized by H.N. Morse, an American chemist, in 1878.

Note: A 2018 study showed that maternal fevers, especially in the second trimester, might be associated with autismi  XNeurological disorder caused by differences in the brain that impacts how people behave, engage with others, and communicate. . More frequent fevers were found to increase the likelihood further. Women who took anti-fever medication during pregnancy were less likely to have autism in fetuses exposed to fever (15).

A fever during pregnancy can feel stressful, even with support and prescription medication. The best thing of course is to do as much as possible to lower your risk of getting it.

Prevention Tips

Lemon and garlic boosting your immunity during pregnancy
Image: Shutterstock

There are a number of ways to minimize your chances of getting a fever during pregnancy. Here are some do’s and don’ts to follow:

    • Avoid contact with anybody with symptoms of cold or cough.
  • Avoid going out to crowded places.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after touching public surfaces.
  • Avoid partially cooked eggs, meat, cheese, and seafood.
  • Carry your own clean drinking water with you.
  • Maintain the pH balance of your vagina to lower the risk of UTIs (16).
  • Keep your immunity up by adding immunity-boosting foods like lemon and garlic to your diet (17).

Key Takeaways

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI), influenza, upper respiratory infection, and gastroenteritis, are some of the common causes of fever during pregnancy.
  • Medical conditions that affect pregnant women and may cause fever-like symptoms are chorioamnionitis, listeria, and fifth disease or parvovirus B19.
  • To prevent fever during pregnancy, avoid crowded places, drink your own clean water, do not come in contact with people with symptoms of cold or cough.

Infographic: 6 Tips To Alleviate Fever During Pregnancy

Fever during pregnancy might be concerning because it may affect both the mother and the unborn child. But with some specific measures, you can alleviate the symptoms. While there are many natural ways to reduce fever during pregnancy, we have covered the most effective ones in the infographic below. Check it out to know more.

6 tips to alleviate fever during pregnancy (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Pregnant and worried about developing a fever? Watch this video to get all the answers about how fever affects your baby and what you can do to treat it.

In conclusion, fever during pregnancy may pose some risk to the mother and the growing fetus, depending on when the fever occurs and the underlying cause behind it. You can try some natural ways to bring down your temperature during a fever, but you should also notify your ob-gyn about it. As your body suppresses your maternal immune system during your pregnancy, you may be at an increased risk of developing infections. As a preventive measure, you may want to reduce your exposure to environmental pathogens and take certain precautions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can pregnancy hormones cause fever?

Pregnancy hormones do not cause fever. However, they do work to suppress the immune system, which may make the body more susceptible to fever. In addition, the pregnancy hormone progesterone may cause a slight rise in body temperature, which may be mistakenly thought to be fever (but is not).

Is Dolo safe in pregnancy?

Dolo 650 is a brand name for paracetamol, which is considered safe during pregnancy in limited quantities. It is recommended to consult with your ob-gyn before taking any medication during pregnancy and adhere to the prescribed dosage.

Will my fever affect my unborn baby?

Yes, experiencing a fever while pregnant may harm a developing fetus, though the degree of harm is not completely known. A fever during pregnancy typically indicates an underlying issue that could be dangerous to the growing baby, so it’s important to seek medical attention immediately to find the cause and prevent future problems.

Are there any long-term effects associated with fever during pregnancy, either for the mother or the baby?

Yes, fever during the first trimester, may put the baby at a higher risk of neural tube defects, heart defects, and jaw defects. Additionally, a fever during your pregnancy may lead to preterm labor. It is important to note, however, that the long-term effects of fever during pregnancy are still unclear, and more research is needed to determine any further risks to the baby.

How can you prioritize self-care and well-being during pregnancy, even if you are experiencing fever or other health challenges?

During pregnancy, it’s crucial to take care of yourself by eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, getting enough rest, and exercising regularly. You must also avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, or using street drugs while continuing to take your required medications. Use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to lessen stress levels.

Personal Experience: Source


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Causes and consequences of fever during pregnancy: A retrospective study in a gynaecological emergency department
  2. El-Kashif M. M. L. Urinary Tract Infection among Pregnant Women and its Associated Risk Factors: A Cross-Sectional Study. Biomed Pharmacol J 2019;12(4).
  3. Prevalence of Urinary Tract Infection Among Pregnant Women and its Complications in Their Newborns During the Birth in the Hospitals of Dezful City Iran 2012 – 2013
  4. Incidence risk factors and impact of seasonal influenza in pregnancy: A national cohort study
  5. Flu Symptoms & Diagnosis
  6. Influenza (Flu) Vaccine and Pregnancy
  7. Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
  8. Upper respiratory infection during pregnancy and neurodevelopmental outcomes among offspring
  9. Influence of Hospitalization-Requiring Gastroenteritis in Pregnancy on Perinatal Outcome
  10. Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis: Clinical Manifestation Natural Course and Evaluation of Treatment with Corticosteroids and Vedolizumab
  11. Gastroenteritis
  12. Diagnosis and Management of Clinical Chorioamnionitis
  13. An Update Review on Listeria Infection in Pregnancy
  14. Exposure to fifth disease in pregnancy
  15. Prenatal fever and autism risk
  16. The Vaginal Microbiota and Urinary Tract Infection
  17. Food for Support Immunity
Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.

Latest Articles