Is it possible to get hot flashes during pregnancy?
Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms associated with the onset of menopause. This is why younger women who are pregnant and experience them wonder if it is normal, or if it signals trouble. Hot flashes during pregnancy are perfectly normal. Studies have shown that approximately ten percent of the population of pregnant women will experience them. Knowing that they are normal however; does not mean that they won’t become a problem.
Hot flashes can bring about extreme discomfort depending on the intensity and frequency in which they occur. Here is some information that may be helpful for pregnant women who are experiencing hot flashes.
Fluctuation of hormones in pregnancy and hot flashes:
During pregnancy, hormones begin to fluctuate. Dips in estrogen levels are believed to be responsible for the sudden warming of the chest, neck and face that can also be accompanied by flushing and redness. Hot flashes usually last from a few seconds to just a few minutes, but they can be uncomfortable. They are more common during the second and third trimester of pregnancy, but can occur at any time. A small percentage of women experience hot flashes as one of the first signs of early pregnancy. Each woman is different and her body will react to the hormonal changes in unique ways, similar to how menopause affects women differently in each case.
When to seek medical attention:
Hot flashes in themselves are harmless and pass within a few minutes. It’s important to recognize the difference between hot flashes and a fever. Any time your body temperature is elevated over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, it is time to call your health care provider. Fevers can signal infection in the body, and high temperatures during pregnancy can cause harm to the developing baby. There is no need to consult your physician for hot flashes as they present no danger to mother or child.
How long will hot flashes continue after pregnancy?
This depends upon the individual woman and her hormone levels. Low hormone levels are believed to be the culprit for hot flashes. Women who breast feed after delivery of the baby usually maintain lower hormone levels. Just under thirty percent of women report having hot flashes, particularly at night, after delivery. Exactly how long they may last after pregnancy is anyone’s guess. When hormone levels are restored to their per-pregnancy levels, hot flashes are more likely to fade or disappear. They will most likely return years later when the perimenopause stage begins.
How to cope with hot flashes:
Wearing layered clothing are recommended so outer layers can be removed when hot flashes strike? The best way to find comfort is to try and cool your affected parts down. Learn which activities or foods may trigger episodes and cut down or avoid them. Women who are in the postpartum stage may want to cut back on the consumption of alcohol as this is a known culprit of triggering hot flashes. In addition, spicy foods, hot baths or showers, saunas and hot tubs, and vigorous exercise can increase the frequency and intensity of hot flashes.
Hot flashes during pregnancy are a normal part of the hormonal changes that are taking place in the body. They may come and go as hormone levels rise and fall. Although a small percentage of women experience hot flashes during pregnancy, for those who do, many continue to have this symptoms after delivery of the baby. Breast feeding has a tendency to keep hormone levels suppressed and if hot flashes were present during the pregnancy, just under one third of these women will continue to have them. The exact length of time that hot flashes will last past delivery is unknown. It is different for each woman and there is no way to predict the duration or intensity.
Avoiding foods, beverages and situations that cause the body temperature to rise may help in lessening the frequency of hot flashes. Although hot flashes during pregnancy may initially be alarming, there is no reason to worry as they are harmless and represent no threat to mother or child. Women who experience this symptom during pregnancy will have a better idea of what to expect as they enter menopause.