Low body temperature is normally a less serious condition than high body temperature, particularly in pregnant women. The average human body temperature is 98.6 degrees F, but can range anywhere from 97.5 to 98.8 degrees and still be considered healthy. Pregnant women tend to run higher temperatures, but mild temperature reductions are normal and rarely signify a critical health issue. However, if you are pregnant and your temperature falls below 95 degrees, you might have a serious condition and should immediately be examined by a doctor.
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Low body temperature can sometimes be indicative of anemia, a condition that results from a lack of red blood cells, which take oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. In order to create red blood cells, the body must have a healthy amount of iron. Women tend to be at greater risk of anemia, and pregnant women in particular, as around half of all pregnant women are iron deficient. Besides low temperatures, symptoms can include fatigue, dizziness and headaches.
Sepsis is a serious bacterial infection in which toxins in the body cause the immune system to turn on itself and attack its own organs. While it is more common in infants and the elderly, women can experience "puerperal sepsis" during pregnancy. Symptoms of sepsis include extremely high or low body temperature, change in skin color, vomiting and difficulty breathing. Sepsis is one of the most common causes of maternal death; contact your doctor immediately if you are experiencing multiple symptoms.
Contracting the flu can lead to pneumonia, which can be particularly dangerous for a pregnant woman and her unborn child. If you are pregnant and your temperature drops below 95 degrees while experiencing flu-like symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately. If diagnosed and treated early enough, the baby's health can be protected and birth complications can be avoided. Eating healthy foods, avoiding alcohol and drinking six to eight large glasses of water each day can help expedite the recovery process.
Basal body temperature is your lowest body temperature during a period of rest. During pregnancy, a woman's basal body temperature is higher than normal by about 0.5 to 1.5 degrees.. If in the first month of pregnancy your temperature drops after being boosted for 18 days or more, your body might be preparing to miscarry. Contact your OBGYN, especially If this drop in temperature is followed by bleeding.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- BabyMed: Is Low Body Temperature a Concern?
- March of Dimes: Pregnancy Complications
- United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology: Sepsis in Pregnancy
- PDR Health: Pneumonia in Adults Treatment
- WebWomb: Charting Basal Body Temperature
- LoveToKnow Pregnancy: Miscarriage and Basal Body Temperature
- KidsHealth: Sepsis