Being pregnant is one of the joyous moments in a woman’s life. It can also sometimes be the most confusing time. With a little life growing inside you, it becomes hard to figure out whether the things you feel or the things that are happening to you are normal or present a health risk. One of these things is feeling cold during pregnancy. Is it normal to feel cold during early pregnancy? Or is it something to be worried about?
Well, we may have the answer for you right here. If you happen to be pregnant but are constantly saying “I’m pregnant and cold all the time” then this is the article you need to read.
Feeling Cold During Pregnancy
Most pregnant women tend to feel hot. The reason is the increase in female hormones that are produced during pregnancy. With a rise in these female hormones, your metabolism will increase which results in you feeling hot and sweaty. In some cases, your body will respond by going into overdrive and rushing more blood to your extremities to help cool you down. Which is one reason you might feel cold.
Some women are just naturally cold and will continue to feel cold throughout their pregnancy. Every woman has a different pregnancy experience. You will find similarities, but there are always variations. For the fortunate they might have the ideal pregnancy and may never know about such things.
But if you are feeling cold during pregnancy, and that too all the time. It could mean there are some larger issues at play. So you should consult your obstetrician regardless.
Feeling cold while pregnant – Possible Causes
There might be a few causes that will result in you feeling cold during pregnancy. Being pregnant and cold all the time is not a good thing. Most women will feel cold in early pregnancy, but as the pregnancy progresses, it gets better. For those that don’t, they are some possible reasons that this may be happening to you.
Most expectant mothers tend to feel warmer than usual since pregnancy ramps up their metabolism. Plus, there is also an increase in female hormones which can affect body temperatures. Together, the two can make women hot and sweaty.
For some women, feeling cold during pregnancy could be the body’s response to cool down too quickly. The normal response is to sweat and breathe rapidly in an effort to cool down. But when this happens too fast and cooling efforts go into overdrive, women can start to feel cold.
Getting chills in early pregnancy is a normal occurrence. This is because many women suffer from morning sickness in their first trimester. Severe morning sickness can include some regular vomiting which can contribute to weight loss.
As the weight drops, the body starts to use fat stores, which makes energy levels plummet as well. Since fats provide the body’s natural insulation, losing them results in feeling cold during pregnancy. With a drop in the body’s energy stores, chills can set in. In this case, chills set in because the body is not taking in enough calories.
However, unexplained or too much weight loss should be reported to the doctor.
The thyroid is a small gland positioned in the front of the neck. It is responsible for producing and maintaining hormone levels in the body. But if the thyroid malfunctions, hormone levels can get out of whack and affect body temperature. With an imbalance in hormone levels, women can start to feel cold during pregnancy.
Constantly feeling cold during pregnancy can also be a sign of an under active thyroid. This condition is not linked to the pregnancy but often occurs during pregnancy.
Another reason for feeling cold during pregnancy could be contracting an infection. Certain infections such as those of the chest or kidneys are fairly common during pregnancy. Another infection that can often occur during pregnancies is urinary tract infection.
These infections are usually accompanied by symptoms like nausea, vomiting and shortness of breath. Some women may also feel feverish and experience chills at this time.
Eating all the right foods can ensure that body temperatures are maintained nicely. This means proper intake of vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbs. But since a lot of women experience morning sickness and find it difficult to eat, there may be nutritional deficiencies.
Nutritional deficiencies can also be reflected as fatigue and lethargy. This is an indication of energy depletion when the body does not have enough energy to maintain body temperature.
With a balanced diet the body not only has energy reserves, but can also maintain its temperature. So, a balanced diet can help women from feeling unnecessarily cold during pregnancy.
Anemia is a condition that refers to an iron deficiency in the body. This can often happen during pregnancy but is also quickly correctable. Doctors can prescribe iron supplementation for pregnant women to maintain iron levels.
Iron deficient women cannot produce enough red blood cells which impacts proper circulation. As a result, insufficient oxygen and nutrients travel through the body. This can slow down the rate of metabolism which makes women feel cold during pregnancy.
Insufficient blood flow to the brain can also result in dizziness, followed by low blood pressure or the chills. At the same time, poor circulation can also make hands and feet feel very cold.
Feeling Cold During Pregnancy vs. Catching a Cold
The sensation of feeling cold during pregnancy is not a serious health threat. However, if an expectant mother catches a cold, then it is a very different story.
While feeling cold during pregnancy is the body’s inability to maintain internal temperature, catching a cold is not. When a pregnant woman catches a cold, her immune system is likely suppressed making her more susceptible to getting sick.
As such pregnant women face a greater possibility of getting a cold or flu. When catching a cold, women can experience symptoms like a runny/stuffy nose. They may also sneeze a lot and experience mild fatigue. In addition, the cold may also bring a sore or scratchy throat followed by a dry cough.
The infection usually spreads to the sinuses, throat and nasal cavity causing discomfort.
It is not always possible for pregnant women to protect themselves from every cold virus, but they can boost their immune system. They can do so by including vitamin C rich foods in the diet. Taking prenatal vitamins and supplements can also help boost immunity.
In case, women do catch a cold, treatments during pregnancy can include the following:
Getting plenty of rest
If suffering from a cold, try to limit your everyday tasks and get some rest. This can include reducing activity both at home and at work and taking it easy.
Rest is also recommended for pregnant women so that they can feel better sooner, instead of prolonging their condition.
Drinking plenty of fluids
A common way to beat a cold is to drink a lot of fluids. Evidence suggests that drinking extra beverages helps replace lost fluids from fever. The same also holds true of respiratory tract evaporation. In addition, extra fluid intake also helps loosen mucus.
Better still is to drink warm fluids to help ease the sensation of feeling cold.
Using salt water gargle for a sore throat
When sore throat accompanies a cold during pregnancy, use salt water for a throat gargle. This can temporarily relieve a scratchy or sore throat.
The salt water can is effective in drawing out excess fluid from inflamed tissues in the throat. It is also beneficial for loosening mucus and removing allergens like bacteria from the throat.
Using saline nasal sprays or drops
Combat stuffiness associated with colds by using saline nasal drops or sprays. The saline mist in these products eases sinus swelling and breaks up the mucus clogging the nose.
When using his treatment, make sure to get saline-only nasal drops or sprays which do not have any additional ingredients. Since these drops do not contain any medication, they are safe to use during pregnancy.
A simple saline nasal spray can also be prepared at home.
Taking a warm shower
Steam can temporarily relieve congestion and soothe the distressing symptoms of a cold during pregnancy. Take a warm shower to seek relief or moisten a washcloth with hot water instead. Place the washcloth to your face and breathe in to combat stuffiness.
Having chicken soup
Warm liquids like chicken soup or broth are an age old remedy for treating colds in many cultures. They can help with relieving cold symptoms by easing congestion and increasing mucus flow.
Drinking chicken soup during a cold can also help improve nasal airflow and suppress inflammation.
Administering hot and cold packs for sinus pain relief
Getting a cold makes it difficult to breathe. And when sinuses become blocked, it can start to hurt as well. Areas like the nose, cheeks, eyes, and forehead are the most prone to discomfort.
One way to treat this condition is to use a hot and cold pack. First apply a warm compress across the sinuses to ease the associated swelling. Keep in place for about three minutes. Then follow with a cold compress for 30 seconds.
Repeat this procedure three times per treatment. Administer 3-6 treatments every day.
These are all natural and medicine free ways to feel better when you have a cold during pregnancy. Medications are generally advised against when pregnant, especially during the first twelve weeks. This is because it is a crucial time in the development of the baby’s vital organs.
Most doctors also advise against medication after 28 weeks of pregnancy. Instead here is a look at some natural cold remedies during pregnancy:
Garlic is a natural cold fighter as it has decongestant and expectorant effects. It can be used raw or cooked to deliver antiviral properties against colds.
Not everyone tolerates the strong taste and smell of raw garlic well. So use it in everyday cooking or prepare a garlic tea instead to avail its cold fighting properties.
Apple cider vinegar
Another natural option, apple cider vinegar alkalizes the body where bacteria cannot thrive. To use, take a tablespoon or two of ACV and mix in a glass of water. Drink 3 times daily. Or, use as a gargle to soothe a sore throat.
Honey is a potent antimicrobial and antiseptic. Use it daily to recover from the discomfort of the common cold during pregnancy.
Honey has natural properties that can help treat colds. It is an antioxidant possessing antibacterial and antimicrobial features to fight against bacteria. Its soothing properties relieve the irritation of a scratchy throat while also boosting immunity.
Honey can be used to treat a cold during pregnancy in many ways. For instance, use it on its own or prepare a honey gargle. Alternately, mix honey and a little bit of cinnamon together and take 1 teaspoon twice every day.
Another popular natural remedy, lemon is choke full of vitamin C and helps alkalize the body. Lemon juice is also known to reduce the strength of a cold and decrease phlegm.
Make a lemon drink or tea and sip throughout the day. Adding lemon juice to warm tea or having a hot lemonade with honey can build resistance to a cold and speed healing.
Although most colds do not pose a problem for the developing baby, the flu can be potentially harmful.
How to Stop Feeling Cold During Pregnancy
Unless it is because of a medical condition, feeling cold during pregnancy is not a serious concern. Although it may irritate and worry the expectant mother, there is no need for alarm. Instead, follow these simple tips to stop feeling cold during pregnancy:
Wear warm clothing
If the cold becomes bothersome, just add on a few layers of additional clothing. Sit covered with a blanket to minimize chills and make yourself comfortably warm.
For cold feet, a pair of warm socks can suffice well. Keeping the feet warm can help warm the rest of the body as well.
Follow a balanced diet
Since nutritional deficiencies can make you feel cold, try to eat a balanced diet. These nutrients will provide the energy needed to maintain body temperatures. This will prevent feeling cold during pregnancy.
Among these, ginger and root vegetables have a warming effect on the body. Shop for more of these to add into your meals.
Also, if tolerated well, opt for hot soups to keep feeling warm. Or sip hot teas to maintain body temperature.
Take some rest (or not)
Pregnancies can be hard enough without the inconvenience of feeling cold. But when you do, make it a point to take a lot of rest. Since you will already feel tired and maybe even feverish, listen to your body and rest.
But if staying in bed bothers you, then fight the cold feeling during pregnancy by staying active. This means engaging in some light to moderate pregnancy-safe exercise. Remember that movement helps circulation and pumping blood can help maintain body temperature.
Iron takes part in the regulation of body temperature. If feeling cold during pregnancy is due to anemia, take your supplements regularly. You should also add in more iron rich foods into the diet to supplement this important mineral.
If you find yourself feeling cold during pregnancy, first determine if it is a matter of body temperature or if you have a cold virus. Then follow the tips provide here to treat your condition.