Have you started to notice a change in your bodily temperature since you became pregnant? Do you spend periods feeling like Leonardo DiCaprio’s character at the end of the movie The Titanic?
There are many reasons you could be feeling cold when pregnant, and most of them are completely safe and no cause for alarm. By better understanding what can cause this temperature change, you will be able to give yourself some peace of mind.
Some of our biggest concerns can be solved by simple solutions and your “cold sensations” may be one of these.
What Does “Cold” Mean?
Just to make sure we are all on the same page, when we say “cold during pregnancy” we aren’t referencing the common cold or your actual body temperature that a thermometer tells you. We are referring to the way you feel.
Some women feel warm when pregnant and some women feel cold all the time. This feeling doesn’t have to be how you feel to the touch, but how your mind registers how you feel in general.
Is Feeling Cold During Pregnancy Normal?
You may have heard that temperature changes are a normal part of pregnancy, but did you know the majority of women feel warmer rather than colder?
Women typically feel warmer because their metabolism is working faster and the increased levels of hormones can cause temperature fluctuations. Just because feeling warmer is the more normal sensation, it doesn’t mean feeling cold is abnormal.
There are certain reasons you may feel cold, and many of them are totally harmless.
Reasons Pregnant Women May Feel Cold
It is most likely that feeling cold is a response to some other normal pregnancy change occurring within your body. It is always better to be extra cautious when you are responsible for another life, so the following conditions are listed to help you familiarize yourself with possible health issues (source).
Many pregnant women tend to suffer from an iron deficiency, and this can cause anemia. This condition is when your blood doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells, which can affect the way your blood circulates through your body.
Red blood cells carry oxygen, and limited amounts can cause certain bodily functions to slow down and make you feel cold. With anemia, you may also feel tired as well, but since you’re pregnant, it can be hard to pinpoint if that exhaustion is from anemia or your pregnancy.
2. Change in hormones
The surge in hormones in your body can greatly affect how you respond to temperature. Typically women tend to feel warmer, but chills or coldness can occur.
The hormones cause your metabolism to speed up, which causes your body to become warmer. As a response, your body will try to cool down and sometimes it becomes overactive and cools more than necessary (source).
3. Morning sickness
If you have been suffering from nausea, chances are you haven’t been able to keep much down and your body temperature can be affected because of it. Morning sickness can cause you to experience chills, and this can be one of the reasons you are feeling cold all the time.
Nutrition is important and without food consumption, your body has nothing to convert to energy. This lack of food can cause the body to struggle to stay warm.
It is possible that even the simplest infection could cause you to feel cold. If you have had a UTI (urinary tract infection), kidney infection, or any issue for that matter, feeling cold could always be a symptom.
5. High basal body temperature
Toward the beginning of your pregnancy, your basal body temperature is at a high level for several weeks. This high temperature can cause you to respond differently to the air around you because your body will be tricked into believing it is lower.
This bodily change can cause you to experience chills, which can leave you feeling cold for significant amounts of time. The chills you would experience are similar to the ones you would have when getting the flu.
Keep in Mind
Are Chills Normal Throughout Pregnancy?
Most women will experience chills the most during the first trimester from the sudden change in hormones and morning sickness.
You can experience chills throughout your pregnancy. Your hormones are basically the equivalent of a rollercoaster and you never know what’s around the next corner (source).
How to Handle Chills When Pregnant
If you have had enough of those miserable chills, there is some hope in kicking them to the curb.
Try some of the following tips to help you get back to a normal temperature.
- Wear more clothes: This may seem obvious, but sometimes the easiest answer is the best fix. You may be able to cure your case of the chills by simply adding some extra layers to your daily attire.
- Rest and relaxation: If you have been struggling to sleep lately or feel like you haven’t had enough rest, maybe you haven’t. Take a relaxing bath or a quick nap. It may sound crazy, but being cold can be a workout. If you are tired and cold all the time, it may be a good time to reach out to your doctor.
- Take an iron supplement: Iron plays a pivotal part in regulating your body temperature. If you are lacking in the smallest way, it may greatly affect your ability to stay warm. An iron supplement is important for you and your baby’s health. The supplement may be prescribed by your doctor. If it is not, make sure you ask permission before beginning use.
- Watch what you eat: If your body isn’t receiving proper nutrition it can affect your body temperature. You should try to consume a well-balanced diet for both you and your baby to stay happy and healthy. Make sure you are staying well-hydrated as well. Changing your diet may help make a major change to your overall well-being, energy levels, and temperature regulation.
Editor’s Note: In my opinion, most women feel hot during pregnancy. If you feel cold, this is not harmful in most cases. Eating something to bring up your metabolism has been shown to help.
Editor's Note:Christine Traxler, MD, BS
Is Being Cold A Pregnancy Symptom?
Some women believe being cold can be a symptom of pregnancy. This actually has some truth to it.
There have been women who notice they become excessively hot before they realize that first missed period.
The reason you may feel cold is if your metabolism is in overdrive from the hormone fluctuation we mentioned above. So, it is possible if you notice temperature changes within your body, you could be pregnant.
You shouldn’t worry too much if you feel cold from time to time. If this is a frequent occurrence that seems never to go away, it is a cause for further investigation. When the cold feeling is long lasting, it means there may be an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor at any time. That is what they are there for and you know your body best.
If you ever feel like something just isn’t right, reach out. Your problems and concerns no longer affect just you, but now your little one. There is no stupid question and even if something has a simple answer, you are always better off safe than sorry.
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