An acute fever can be a sign of a serious complication for a pregnant woman or her baby. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests that a pregnant woman call her doctor immediately if she develops a fever or chills. An acute fever is a body temperature that suddenly increases above the norm of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
An acute fever can also affect fertility. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that some conditions that cause high fevers can also cause infertility, such as Chlamydia, by damaging reproductive organs.
What can cause an acute fever during pregnancy?
Body temperature greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit during the first trimester of pregnancy could be the result of an infection that could affect an unborn baby. Fevers accompanied by a sore throat, fatigue, and swollen glands could be a sign of cytomegalovirus (CMV), which can cause the unborn baby to suffer hearing loss, vision loss, and other disabilities.
The influenza virus, or the flu, can cause a fever. The influenza virus is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not expecting. Pregnant women with the flu are also more likely to have problems during pregnancy and delivery, such as premature labor and delivery.
Fever in the second trimester can signal a urinary tract infection (UTI). Along with fever, UTIs often cause shaking chills, backache, and a burning sensation during urination. Left untreated, urinary tract infections can spread to the kidneys and may result in preterm labor.
A pregnant woman with listeriosis is suffering from an infection with the bacteria, listeria, found in some refrigerated and ready-to-eat foods. Signs and symptoms of listeriosis infection includes fever, muscle aches, chills, and sometimes nausea or diarrhea. Listeriosis infections, especially in the third trimester, can result in early delivery or miscarriage.
Fevers that develop in the first and second trimester can affect the development of a baby. Acute fevers in the third trimester can cause complications during labor and delivery. Any pregnant woman who experiences a fever that appears suddenly or a body temperature of 101 degrees Fahrenheit should consult a physician immediately. Seeking immediate medical attention for an acute fever improves the likelihood a woman will have a normal pregnancy and a healthy baby.
- John W. Schmitt, MD. Office on Women's Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 27 Sept 2010. Web. 10 Sept 2013.
- "Chlamydia - CDC Fact Sheet." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 11 Feb 2013. Web. 10 Sept 2013.