While hot flashes are normally associated with the typical symptoms of menopause, they are also known to occur during pregnancy. It has been estimated that at least 10% of women suffer from hot flashes while they are pregnant. This happens due to the erratic fluctuations of hormones that take place in the body.
A drop in estrogen levels occurs during pregnancy. This can hit an all time low especially during the first and the last trimesters, making women sweat and kick off their blankets at night. The common areas that are affected are the head, face and the neck regions. Sometimes the symptoms also get exacerbated after the delivery of the baby.
Ways to Deal With Pregnancy Hot Flashes
Hot flashes can be quite uncomfortable and require a great deal of adjustment especially if they hit at regular intervals. It is very important to differentiate between a hot flash and a fever as a fever above 100 degrees Celsius can prove to be dangerous for the mother and the baby. In the meantime, some of these strategies will help you to cope with your symptoms.
Dress in Layered Clothes
If the weather is cold outside, you cannot possibly dress in cotton garments to ward off the hot flash. Instead, opt for layered clothes. That way when the hot flash strikes, you can remove the layers one by one until you start to feel more comfortable. This strategy works well for cold months. If the weather is hot outside, you are better off wearing loose, sheer, cotton garments that allow you to breathe and permit air circulation.
Take a Cooling Shower
You will notice a pattern in the time of the day the hot flash strikes. During these times, try to cool yourself off by taking a shower. If you are fond of exercising, you can opt for a refreshing swim in your neighbouring pool, as this will also help you to cool down and get comfortable.
Stay in Air-Conditioned Rooms
Stand in front of the air conditioning vent so that the blow of air is directed straight at your neck and facial regions. You can also stand right in front of a blowing fan to get some respite from the discomfort and heat.
Drink Cold Fluids
Just as hot beverages are effective against the cold weather outside, you can try some cooling beverages to ward off an attack of hot flashes. Drink iced tea or chilled lemonade, which will immediately help you to feel cooler and lighter.
Get Out of Crowded Areas
It is very easy to feel overwhelmed if you get an attack of hot flashes in a crowded area, as this is likely to leave you feeling claustrophobic. Try to get out of the crowded area and stay in areas, which are less crowded and airier. Crowded places also generate heat, which is likely to make you feel worse.
See a Doctor
If you cannot truly differentiate between a fever and a hot flash, it is important to see a doctor at the first available opportunity. If you are running a fever, the doctor will give medicines to bring it down so that it does not harm you in any way.
Stay away from coffee, tea, alcohol and other hot beverages as they may not only make you feel hotter but can also exacerbate your symptoms. Stick to cold water and juices instead.
Stay Away From Hot and Spicy Foods
Hot and spicy foods like chillies can act as triggers for a hot flash. If you suspect that they are causing a hot flash to occur, you need to avoid consuming them at all costs.
Apply Ice Packs
You can try applying ice cold packs on your neck and facial region especially if you do not have access to air conditioners. Ice packs can also help to relieve the symptoms to a great extent.
Avoid anxiety provoking situations and try not to let a stressful situation overwhelm you. Stress and nervousness can bring on a violent attack of hot flashes. Stay cheerful and try to engage yourself in interesting activities that keep you gainfully occupied.
It is very important to take some form of exercise every day. Exercise may promote sweating but it also helps to maintain hormonal balance in the body. This will reduce the frequency and intensity of the hot flashes and make you feel more comfortable in the long run.
Try Some Herbal Remedies
Herbs like black cohosh are said to be helpful in treating symptoms of hot flashes. This is a herb, which is consumed frequently by women who are in their menopausal years. It is said to be an effective treatment for hot flashes and reduces the frequency and the intensity of the attack.
It may also serve you well to eat a healthy and well-nourished diet throughout your pregnancy. This plays an important role in preventing hormonal fluctuations that lead to hot flashes.
Eat a varied diet that is high on fruits, veggies and fibre as these help to remove toxins from the body that could be aggravating the problem. Stay away from fatty and junk food as this may make you gain weight and lead to hot flashes.
See a Doctor
At times, the symptoms can really get bad. In such circumstances, it is better to see a doctor and rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be causing the problem. If any hormonal imbalance is present, this needs to be addresses and treated so that the woman can have a safe and a comfortable pregnancy.
The above tips are effective ways of getting rid of hot flashes during pregnancy. The good news is that hot flashes are temporary and generally go away once the baby is born.