Have you been woken up from sleep a number of times in the last week feeling unbearably hot, perspiring and feeling uncomfortable despite the weather being quite favorable? These are hot flashes that are normal and expected in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and could make your days and nights quite restless. Hot flashes can continue even after delivery and is often known as postpartum hot flashes.
What Are The Symptoms?
- unexplained perspiration
- faster heart rate
What Causes Them?
It is common to experience hot flashes all through pregnancy and you cannot really point to a particular time when it can strike. The primary reason behind hot flashes is the fact that your hormonal levels keep fluctuating in pregnancy. There is a change in the level of estrogen that primarily causes these hot flashes. Even during breastfeeding, you might experience hot flashes due to the lower levels of estrogen in this phase.
How To Deal With Them?
Hot flashes are difficult to avoid since they are caused by fluctuating hormonal levels but there are a few ways to deal with them. You can wear loose, cotton clothes in summer so that your skin can breathe. In winters, you can layer up so that if you do get hot flashes, you can shed off a layer or two to feel comfortable. Cotton, linen and natural fabrics should always be opted for to allow better air circulation.
If it is too hot outside, you should try and stay indoors as much as possible to avoid overheating your body. Standing in front of the Air conditioner helps to feel more comfortable.
Keeping yourself hydrated, drinking chilled lemonades, ginger ale, iced teas, chilled water etc can also help in keeping the hot flashes at bay. Since you tend to perspire more, you should always keep a note of your water intake.
Maintaining a healthy weight an also avoid hot flashes. It has been seen that women who are overweight tend to experience them more severely than those who are leaner and have a normal BMI.
When And What Do They Affect?
Hot flashes are commonly characterized by heat emanating through your chest, head and neck and can feel suffocating to say the least. Like contractions, hot flashes can last from a few seconds to a few minutes and strike at anytime in the day.
Should You Let Your Doctor Know?
Like every new thing that happens to you in pregnancy, you must let your doctor know about this too. Although hot flashes are quite common in pregnancy, it is a wise idea to understand the difference between hot flashes and a fever. If you have a fever your body temperature will be raised and a digital thermometer will be able to notify you. If you do get a raised body temperature, call up your doctor to rule out any infection that might have caused the fever. If the hot flashes disturb your sleep severely, you could speak to your doctor for a thorough diagnosis.