Hot Flashes During Pregnancy

image001Pregnancy causes a lot of changes in your body because of all your hormonal imbalances. These include hot flashes, which even though uncomfortable, are not really a cause for alarm. They are commonly accompanied by a quickening heartbeat, profuse sweating, and sudden redness of your chest, neck and face. You may also find yourself feeling hot, even in the middle of winter or on cold nights.

These hot flashes most commonly begin after your first trimester of pregnancy. Unfortunately, there isn’t really anything you can do to stop or minimize them. The good news is that they do not normally last for more than five minutes, so you can easily wait them out while dressed in light and easily removed layers of clothing.

Is It Normal to Have Hot Flashes During Pregnancy?

These hot flashes are a very common part of being pregnant. They are brought about by your constantly fluctuating hormones, which can contribute to the increasing amounts of blood that rush to the surface of your skin. This causes you to feel flushed and also gives your skin a red and blotchy appearance, especially in your head, neck and chest area.

Your hot flashes may last anywhere from just a few seconds to under five minutes. As your body cools down from the sudden flush, you may also begin to perspire. This will become more common once you hit your second trimester and will continue until your delivery. They may also extend to a few months afterwards when your body constantly produces milk to breastfeed your baby with.

What Causes Hot Flashes During Pregnancy?

The precise cause, or causes, of hot flashes during pregnancy are as yet undetermined. However, there have been previous researches and studies that suggest these flashes may have something to do with the brain’s responses to fluctuating levels of hormones. When you become pregnant, your estrogen levels experience a significant drop, which in turn can cause your stress levels to increase. This prompts your brain to signal the production and release of more epinephrine and norepinephrine into your blood flow. Because of these changing hormone levels, you may experience a sensation of increased body heat.

Although it is perfectly normal to experience these flashes when you are pregnant, make sure that they do not come with a fever. If this is the case, you may suffer from further complications, as your physical body temperature will actually rise. This is not the case for a simple hot flash, which only causes fleeting sensations of heat. If you suspect that something is wrong with you, try taking your body temperature with a thermometer. Consult your doctor immediately if you find a problem, as hot flashes during pregnancy can become a cause of stress and additional problems if you do not deal with them properly.

How to Deal with Hot Flashes During Pregnancy

Dealing with your hot flashes during pregnancy may not be very easy, because although you feel sensations of uncomfortable heat, your physical body will actually be cool to the touch. It is very important that you learn to take care of your body to minimize any complications that may compromise your pregnancy. The followings are some ways in which you can keep your body cool to make your hot flashes more manageable:

Tips

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Sleep in a cool place

Try to make sure that it is cool where you sleep, so if you do get flashes in the middle of the night, you will not be as uncomfortable.

Always stay in the shade

Avoid sunbathing and buy yourself a wide-brimmed hat, so your face and shoulders are always protected from the sun.

Stay hydrated

Always carry a bottle of water with you to keep yourself well-hydrated throughout the day. Cold drinks can also help lower your body temperature.

Live a healthy lifestyle

Avoid eating hot and spicy foods, as well as drinking anything with caffeine or alcohol. Smoking is also a big no-no. These things can all trigger more of your unwanted hot flashes.

Use some cool-down tools

Keep items like baby wipes, a spray bottle filled with water, or a battery-operated mini fan handy at all times so that you have a way of keeping cool no matter when or where you are.

Have extra showers

To keep yourself feeling fresh, try taking extra showers, running your wrists under cool tap water, or using a wet cloth to cool your face and neck down. You can also try to use a foot spa or inflatable pool with cool water.

Stay calm

When your hot flashes do occur, force yourself to breathe normally as panicking will only cause you to feel hotter and worsen your discomfort. You can try practicing some yoga or other meditative techniques to control your breathing.

Wear proper clothes

Dress in layers so that you can keep yourself covered up, yet still be able to undress quickly when you experience an episode of hot flashes. Be sure to pick cotton, linen, and other natural fabrics so that more air can circulate around your skin.

Try other physical treatments

If your flashes become increasingly difficult to control, you may want to consider alternative methods with the approval of your doctor. These include flaxseed, soy and herbal remedies, as well as acupuncture treatments. Mild sedatives, antidepressants and blood pressure medications are also available.

Keep a healthy weight

Exercise and follow a healthy diet to try and lose weight. It has been proven that shedding off excess pounds can decrease the frequency of experiencing hot flashes during pregnancy by almost 33%.