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Yes, it's absolutely normal to have hot flashes during pregnancy. On the pregnancy hormone roller coaster, hot flashes – like mood swings – may be part of the ride. More than one-third of women have hot flashes during pregnancy, often even after giving birth.
Regular fluctuations in hormone levels, particularly drops in estrogen, as well as your increased metabolism during pregnancy can cause the surges of heat that may have you kicking off your sheets at night or fanning yourself wildly in the checkout line.
Hot flashes during pregnancy usually affect the head, neck, and chest, and they can last "from seconds to minutes," says Laurie Gregg, an ob-gyn based in Sacramento, California.
Generally, hot flashes are more common in the second and third trimesters and may continue after your baby arrives. "That's because your hormones lower after pregnancy and will stay low if you're breastfeeding," says Gregg.
It's important to recognize when you have a fever and not just a hot flash because fevers can signal an infection, and high fevers can be dangerous during pregnancy. The key difference is that fevers raise your body temperature, but hot flashes don't.
"If your temperature is over 100 degrees F, call your healthcare provider," says Gregg.
To stay cool during a pregnancy hot flash:
- Wear layers.
- Use a fan.
- Open a window.
- Drink ice water.
And remember, like the other inconveniences of pregnancy, hot flashes too shall pass.