Pregnancy includes some less than pleasant side effects. You may be wondering if what you are experiencing is okay and normal. If hot flashes are one of your symptoms, rest assured this is completely normal.
There are several reasons a woman may experience hot flashes during or after her pregnancy, and over 35% of women experience them. While most of the time, they stop once your baby is delivered, some women may even share them postpartum. Rest assured, they will eventually go away. Learn what causes hot flashes during pregnancy, things to avoid, and something that can help alleviate your pregnancy hot flashes.
Is it Hot in Here or is it Just Me?
You may feel like you have been saying this a lot lately, and regardless of the temperature, you probably have been feeling a little warmer. There are several reasons for this when you are pregnant and you quit having a bun in the oven. Here are the main reasons a woman expecting will have pregnancy hot flashes.
Hormones are responsible for many of the body’s functions. During pregnancy, there is a fluctuation of estrogen and progesterone. This fluctuation is also what causes many of the symptoms of menopause. Hot flashes, sweating, feeling warmer to the touch, and even night sweats can be caused from fluctuating hormones. Thankfully, after you have your baby, your hormones will start to level out, and you will start to feel more like yourself.
Your metabolism is the rate at which your body digests food. When you are pregnant, your body is working harder to digest your food so your baby can get nutrients from you. By your third trimester, you should be eating an additional 300 calories, which adds about the amount of calories in a small chicken breast. If you decide to nurse your baby, your body will require an additional 500 calories, which may cause your hot flashes to hang around a bit longer.
Making Room for Baby
Most people know that a woman’s belly gets larger during pregnancy. While every woman looks different while pregnant, and no two bellies are the same shape or size, the uterus grows. Did you know the uterus starts about the size of a pear and extends to the size of a watermelon. That is a lot of growth in just a few short months. In addition to a woman’s growing belly, her breasts will grow larger as the milk ducts prepare to make milk for the baby. As the baby gets bigger, it will also start producing its body heat, literally warming you from the inside. All of this growing and changing can be why you may get hot flashes.
Increased Blood Volume
For a woman to support the baby growing in her belly, her overall blood volume increases by about 45%, and red blood cell production increases about 40% compared to prepregnancy. For the body to pump all of this additional blood through the body, a woman’s heart rate will also increase. This allows the baby to receive adequate oxygen and nutrients as they grow and develop. With your body working overtime, there is no question why you may get some hot flashes. There will also be more blood flow to the skin causing you to feel warm to the touch and be responsible for that pregnancy glow.
Extra Weight Gain
In addition to the growing breasts and uterus, a woman might also gain a few extra pounds. This weight gain is totally average and expected. If you are a more petite woman, then more weight gain is considered healthy so you can support your baby. No matter how much extra weight you gain during pregnancy, your body is doing what it needs to do to grow your baby. Be sure to eat nourishing foods and keep active during your pregnancy. That will ensure that you stay healthy and do not gain too much weight.
What Can I Do About It?
If you feel like you are experiencing a lot of hot flashes or are burning up all the time and it is uncomfortable, there are some things you can do to alleviate your discomfort:
Things to Avoid
Considering all the internal things going on, there are also external triggers for hot flashes, so here are a few things to avoid:
- Scorching food and beverages
- Spicy foods
- Too much caffeine
- Being out in the heat
- Anxiety and stress
- TIght clothing
Things That Can Help
- Cold food and beverages
- Staying in a cool location with good airflow
- Staying calm and relaxed
- Loose, breathable clothing
You may still experience hot flashes because of the other things above, but following these tips can help them occur less often and not be so severe. It is essential to take care of your body as you grow your baby. This will ensure your pregnancy goes as smoothly as possible.
Hopefully, this has eased your mind that what you are experiencing is typical and expected. The female body goes through so many changes to grow and sustain life. It can be scary experiencing these new symptoms and cause extra worry about your baby. While there is a wide range of normal and expected, if something is concerning you, always ask your doctor or midwife. If you are experiencing hot flashes, fever, nausea, flu-like symptoms, muscle aches, or diarrhea, it may be time to get checked out. Although there are many uncomfortable things during pregnancy, the body is doing a fantastic thing, and it is all worth it once you meet your baby.