“It can go from one second to the next. One minute I’m normal then the next I’m sweating and really hot. All I can think about is turning the air conditioning to dangerous levels”. – Mary C.
“In my previous pregnancies I experienced hot flashes and felt hot all the time, but during this one, I feel as if I have the chills. I’m definitely not complaining, but I can’t help but wonder if it’s normal or not.” -Brenda L.
Do either of those statements sound like you? If they do, don’t worry. Hot flashes and slight chills are normal during pregnancy because your hormones are on a perpetual “roller coaster.” For most women, surges in estrogen and progesterone cause sweating and the feeling that they are hot all the time. Pregnant women have an increased amount of blood in their body, so it causes them to feel warmer than most people. For a woman’s body to handle the extra blood, the blood vessels dilate slightly, bringing blood closer to the surface of the skin and causing her to feel warm.
Feeling cold during pregnancy can be normal as well, as pregnancy can kick your metabolism into high gear, which in turn can make you feel warm. Your body then tries to cool you down, but in some cases, it can get a little carried away— leaving you cold and reaching for another blanket or sweater.
Chills in early pregnancy is a normal occurrence. Many women suffer from morning sickness in their first trimester, and severe morning sickness can include frequent vomiting which contributes to weight loss and feeling cold.
In some cases, there may be a more serious explanation. Chills can be due to a thyroid condition. If you suspect this might be the reason why you’re constantly cold, it’s important to discuss it with your doctor as soon as possible. An untreated thyroid deficiency can lead to other serious problems.
The thyroid is a small gland positioned in the front of the neck. It is responsible for producing and maintaining hormone levels in the body. If the thyroid malfunctions, hormone levels can be abnormal and affect body temperature. Constantly feeling cold during pregnancy can be a sign of an underactive thyroid. This condition is not linked to the pregnancy but often occurs during pregnancy.
Feeling cold during pregnancy could also be due to a deficient diet. Not getting enough to eat and losing weight can both leave you shivering, as can being anemic.
Chills in early pregnancy is a normal occurrence. Many women suffer from morning sickness in their first trimester, and severe morning sickness can include frequent vomiting which contributes to weight loss and feeling cold. As the weight drops, the body starts to use the fat storage, which makes energy levels plummet as well. Since fats provide the body’s natural insulation, losing them results in feeling cold. With a drop in the body’s energy storage, chills can set in. In this case, chills set in because the body is not taking in enough calories. Please remember that unexplained or excessive weight loss should be reported to your doctor as soon as possible.
Some tips for dealing with hot flashes and chills:
Dress in layers.
Especially if you’re experiencing chills, make sure to pack extra cardigans and sweaters to wear at work where you can’t control the central air conditioning. If you are experiencing hot flashes wear a simple dress and jacket or cardigan–one which is easy to take off when the flashes hit.
Cut back on caffeine.
Caffeine raises blood pressure and core body temperature, making your hot flashes more commonplace and more intense. It can also irritate your bladder, making you run to the bathroom more often than you already are.
Eat and drink well and exercise.
Low blood sugar levels can trigger a hot flash as well as make you even chillier than you already are. Don’t go too long between meals or snacks and drink a lot of water. Getting dehydrated is unhealthy for both you and your baby. Going for walks and exercising always helps get the blood flowing and is good for your heart!