Body Temperature During Pregnancy

It is believed that a slight increase in the basal body temperature is associated with the increased production of progesterone by the ovary after ovulation. This HerHaleness write-up provides information on the changes in body temperature during pregnancy.
HerHaleness Staff
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
The human body has its own way of regulating its temperature. The normal temperature is 98.6°F. When the temperature is high, heat is dissipated through flushing or sweating. When we feel cold, blood moves away from the skin. This makes us shiver, which in turn increases the core temperature. The changes in the temperature could also be attributed to changes in the levels of hormone. For instance, a slight increase in body temperature is one of the many bodily changes that occur during the course of pregnancy. The reasons behind the slight increase in temperature are given in the following sections.
Why Does the Body Temperature Increase During Pregnancy?
The menstrual cycle is divided into three phases: follicular phase, ovulation, and luteal phase. Various changes that take place during the menstrual cycle are associated with hormones called follicle-stimulating hormone, estrogen, progesterone, and luteinizing hormone. In the first phase, the production of estrogen increases. High estrogen levels cause the basal body temperature to lower. Women have a basal body temperature between 96.0 and 97.5 degrees Fahrenheit just before ovulation. Right after ovulation, the temperature increases by 0.4-0.6 degrees. This is attributed to the increased production of progesterone, which prepares the uterus for supporting the pregnancy. A woman gets pregnant when the egg gets fertilized with the sperm at this time. The production of estrogen continues, and the basal body temperature is slightly higher than the normal temperature for two weeks after ovulation.
Besides these changes in the levels of hormones, an increased metabolic rate during pregnancy could also be the reason behind the slight spike in temperature. Increased workload on the woman's body and increased peripheral circulation are other reasons behind the slightly elevated temperature.
Abnormalities in the Body Temperature
A slightly elevated body temperature is normal, but pregnant women need to take as many precautions as possible to ensure that the body temperature does not rise any further. A temperature of more than 100.4°F needs to be reported to your healthcare provider, and a temperature of more than 102°F should be considered an emergency. A temperature of 102°F or higher poses a potential threat to the developing fetus. It could adversely affect the baby's development or decrease the amount of blood available to the baby, causing pre-term contractions.
The body temperature can get elevated when the mother-to-be develops fever, performs strenuous exercises, does not stay hydrated during summer, etc. She needs to follow adequate measures to avoid complications. Thus, she should drink plenty of fluids so as to remain hydrated, wear loose-fitting clothes, and avoid outdoor exercises.
Women need to make sure that they are measuring the temperature properly. They should use a basal thermometer, and measure the body temperature before getting up from the bed in the morning. If the temperature is more than 100.4°F, it's advisable to consult a doctor.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.