A 2010 study by the University of Pennsylvania shows that hot flashes affect pregnant women mostly in the first and second trimester. Other research findings also conclude that it affects more than 75% of pregnant ladies at some point. Despite the high prevalence, some ladies still may not understand what the flushes or flashes are.
However, they are just a sudden feeling of excess heat spreading across the body. With a hot flush, you will feel different parts of your body burning up, and it can last for a few seconds or even up to 30 minutes. It is important however to note that the hot flashes during pregnancy do not raise your core body temperature.
What Does Hot Flash Feel Like?
Only a pregnant woman or those that are in menopause can understand what a heat flash feels like, but the feeling also varies from one person to the others. The frequency will also vary among women, and this also determines what it feels. However, the general feeling is your body burning up and it can be so severe that some ladies will have to check their skin to see if it is one fire.
In most cases, the heat flash starts on the upper part of the body or the face and head before spreading to the rest of the body. But in some instances, you may only feel it on specific parts of the body. For example, you might be all sweaty on your face and head while your legs are freezing and the vice versa also happens. You may also experience an increased heart rate during the heat flush because the blood tends to move faster but this is not always the case for some ladies because their heart rate remains constant even as the body feels the heat.
Excessive sweating or perspiration is also other things that you may feel during the heat flush. Some ladies will also experience mood swings while the feeling might be anger for others. However, it is important to know the difference between a flash and fever because the symptoms and feelings might be the same.
What Causes Hot Flashes During Pregnancy
A lot of research is still required to determine the exact causes of heat flashes because the information available is still very scanty. However, most medical experts tend to agree that reactions between the brain and hormones are the general cause of these flashes.
One theory proposes that the reduction in estrogen level that comes with pregnancy is the primary cause because the brain releases norepinephrine and epinephrine in response to the decline. The changes in the degree of these hormones are what then create the increased body heat.
When you are pregnant, you will have more blood flowing in your body than normal, and it also moves at a faster speed than usual. The rapid rate of blood flow will boost your metabolism, and you will experience the heat sensation. Some experts also propose that the increase in BBT (Basal Body Temperature) that occurs when you are ovulating will stay until your fifth month of pregnancy and so it also triggers the heat flashes.
The other common causes that most experts seem to agree about include dehydration, excess body weight, stress, anger, and anxiety. You may also experience the heat flushes if you to do not maintain a regular sleeping and eating schedule because this will interfere with the body’s mechanisms in many ways.
Sudden Feel of Heat: The abrupt feel of heat is the most common symptom, and you will feel your torso, neck face or your entire body just burning.
Fast Heartbeat and Pulse: If you feel your pulse going crazy or palpitating for no particular reason this may also be a symptom of a heat flush.
Perspiration: Sweating is normal, but it should only happen when your body is under intense heat like when you are out in the sun for long. However, if you start sweating when indoors or on a cold day, this might be a heat flash symptom.
Redness: Ladies with a light skin tone will notice that their face and neck will develop some redness and in most cases, this will occur in a matter of seconds.
Unsettledness: If you cannot sleep or you just feel unsettled at work, and you do not have any other medical condition this can also be a sign of heat flash.
Other symptoms may include things like blurriness, back and headache and a feeling of anxiety.
How To Deal With Hot Flashes During Pregnancy?
Dealing with hot flashes during pregnancy is not always easy. And this is because even though you feel like you are burning your body temperature does not rise. However, there are some things that you can do to ensure that they do not affect you a lot and below are five of them.
1. Wear Comfortable Clothes
You will feel and want to take off all your clothes during a heat flash, but this might not be possible if you are not in the house. The best thing that you can do is to wear comfortable, and breathable cotton clothes and also have some layers of clothing so that you can get rid of some when you start burning up.
2. Stay Hydrated
Water is what prevents your body’s temperature from rising, and a sip of cold water during a heat flash is the perfect remedy. Always take a bottle of water with you everywhere you go because you cannot know when you will need it.
3. Avoid Spicy Foods and Coffee
Spicy foods and coffee will make hot flashes worse, and so the best thing is to avoid them. They are also not very safe for pregnancy, and so you should limit their consumption until you deliver. Alcohol and smoking can also trigger the flashes and so they should also be a big no.
4. Avoid Hot and Crowded Rooms
Sleeping in a warm room can be uncomfortable even without the flashes. If you expect or think that you will experience the burning sensation, make sure that you turn off the AC because it will only make things worse. Crowded rooms are hot, and so they will only make the burning sensation feel intense and so avoid them when you can.
5. Take Numerous Showers
Taking as many showers as possible during the day will help refresh your body, and this will, in turn, make the flashes less uncomfortable. However, do not shower with hot or cold water because they are not safe for pregnancy and instead use warm water.
Some Helpful Advice on Heat Flashes
It is vital to know how to differentiate between fever and heat flash because the former will cause a rise in your core body temperature and it might be a sign of other serious conditions such as infections.
Do not panic because you might end up doing something that may put your unborn child in danger. Keep calm because the burning sensation is part of a healthy pregnancy and it will go away after some minutes.
If the burning sensation does not go away after 30 minutes or it keeps coming back after a very short while, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible.
Always watch out for the symptoms or signs that precede the flashes so that you can prepare yourself on how to deal with them.
A hit flash is one of the things that you have to be ready to cope with when pregnant and even if you do not experience one in the first or second trimester you will probably have some when menopause sets in. However, there is nothing to worry about when it comes to hot flashes during pregnancy, and so it is important that you always remain calm.