Fever During Pregnancy; Is it Harmful to the Baby?


Are you pregnant with a fever? If so, you’re naturally going to worry if your baby will be okay. Fever in pregnancy is often a symptom of an underlying condition that could potentially be harmful to your growing baby.

When you are pregnant, you need to be careful of certain airborne viruses and one of them is a viral fever. When you are infected with viral fever in pregnancy, the foetus is in a lot of danger. According to the experts, keeping yourself fit and healthy and more importantly staying away from people who are down with fever is a must. So, if you are down with fever in pregnancy, there are certain home remedies that can be helpful in bringing down the temperature. Do not take medications on your own as it can affect the foetus growing inside your womb.

Can Fever in Pregnancy Harm the Baby?

fever in pregnancy

How Will a Fever in Pregnancy Affect the Baby?

If an expectant mother’s body temperature goes from 98.6 degrees to a fever, it’s a sign that she is fighting an infection. That’s why it’s essential to seek treatment right away. A new study on animal embryos does show a link between fever in early pregnancy and an increased risk of heart and jaw defects at birth. Further research is needed to establish whether fever itself, not the infection causing it, increases the risk of birth defects in humans. If you are in your first trimester and have a fever higher than 102 degrees, be sure to seek treatment right away. This may help prevent short- and long-term complications for your developing baby.

Harmful effects of fever in pregnancy on the baby during the first trimester

Congenital heart and cranial facial defects are very common in live births. Heart defects affect 1 percent of live births and cleft lip or palate affecting about 4,000 infants per year. But most of the time they have unknown causes.

Heart defects and facial deformities

  • Fevers in a mother’s first trimester of pregnancy or fever in early pregnancy increase the baby’s risk for some heart defects and facial deformities such as cleft lip or palate.
  • Scientists found that neural crest cells that are critical building blocks for the heart, face and jaw contain temperature sensitive properties. So, even a transient fever effects embryos craniofacial and heart. The development results in double outlet right ventricle tetralogy of Fallot and other outflow obstructions.
  • The type of birth defect depends on whether the fever in early pregnancy occurs during heart development or head and face development.
  • What researchers still do not know is whether or how the severity or duration of a fever impacts development. Future epidemiological and clinical studies are needed to evaluate those factors

Other side effects include

  • There are possibilities that the pregnant woman can go in for a miscarriage as well.
  • Fever during the first trimester of pregnancy can hinder the growth of the child.

Different scenarios with fever in pregnancy during the second trimester

Different scenarios occur with fever in the second trimester of pregnancy, and they are:

  • If you are running a fever in second trimester of pregnancy there could be different scenarios. If it is a normal viral fever then fever itself doesn’t cause harm to the pregnancy because the body has immunity against viruses.
  • In some cases, there can be a number of viruses which are very harmful due to fever in pregnancy. So they can cause a lot of damage to the baby if they have an infection in your body and they pass to the baby through the placenta.
  • In that case, baby can have congenital defects or baby can develop symptoms of some deficiencies later.
  • Sometimes, even loss of pregnancy can happen.
  • Actually, it’s difficult to say which fever is safe and which fever is not safe. Pregnant women having a fever can see at home with 100-102 type fever for 2 – 3 days managing with a paracetamol. In case, it is not settling down it is always safe to go and check. Do all the tests advised by the doctor and make sure both baby and mother are fine.

Fever during pregnancy in the third trimester

Generally, in the third trimester of the pregnancy, which is the last 3 months of the pregnancy, most of the organs of the baby are developed and almost maturing to term. At this time giving the general antibiotics, analgesics, as well as the simple antiallergics, is considered safe. However, antibiotics should not be taken without the consent and the advice of a doctor. It should be avoided as far as possible. A sore throat is generally a viral, so again antibiotics have a very minimal role. Taking simple analgesics like paracetamol is the best to go along with home remedies such as salt water gargles if the fever is persisting and the infection is persisting, it is only then that antibiotics are advised to be taken during pregnancy.

The intake of medicines for fever in pregnancy

The intake of medicines during pregnancy is generally avoided due to the fear of side effects. The fever during pregnancy has to be treated as soon as possible to avoid its impact on the baby in the womb. The home remedies are the best options to treat the fever during the pregnancy as these remedies have no side effects. The ingredients from your kitchen can help you to get rid of fever instantly.

Some home remedies to fight fever in pregnancy

Water: It is very important to keep your body hydrated when you are down with a fever. Drink water to keep your body cool in such situations.

Tea: One of the best ways to treat fever during pregnancy in the third trimester is tea. A cup of tea will help to send secretions thus reducing the temperature.


Fresh juices: To keep yourself out from danger and to treat fever during pregnancy in the third trimester turn to fresh juices. The vitamin and minerals present in the juice will push out the toxins in your system and boost your immunity.

Better to stay indoors: It is best to stay indoors when you have a fever otherwise it will aggravate the intensity of the temperature.

Exercise: to a minimum, it is important to exercise even when you have a fever as it will only improve your circulation and help you to fight infections if any.

Hot water bath: do not use cold water to have a bath when you are pregnant in the first trimester and down with a fever. Try sponge bath as it will help lower the fever and make you feel a lot better.

Hope this article was of help to you! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy, Healthy and Empowered Women!!