Hot flashes are usually associated with menopause and hormonal transition, but it is also very common for pregnant women to develop them as well. The culprit is the same in both cases, however. Fluctuations of hormones, especially estrogen, are generally responsible for the development of hot flashes during both menopause and pregnancy. In order to better prepare for this aggravating and often uncomfortable symptom, you must become acquainted with hot flashes and how to more effectively prevent them.
What Are the Symptoms and Side Effects of Pregnancy-induced Hot Flashes?
The following symptoms are common side effects of hot flashes during pregnancy, and thus can be used as a way of diagnosing this condition:
• Sudden or spontaneous sensations of intense warmth or heat in the upper regions of the body
• Quickened heartbeat or pulse
• A flushing or reddening of the face, chest or neck
• Sudden and profuse sweating
Pregnancy-induced hot flashes can persist for up to five minutes, but commonly only last for about thirty seconds. Although the frequency and intensity of these hot flashes will vary between individual women, nearly three out of four American women experience hot flashes at some point during pregnancy. They tend to be more common throughout the second and third pregnancy trimesters, but they can occur at any point.
What Causes Hot Flashes to Occur During Pregnancy?
Although the main culprit of pregnancy-induced hot flashes continues to elude scientists and medical experts, it is generally believed that they are caused by reactions between the brain and hormonal activity. During pregnancy, the core body temperature of a woman is significantly higher, and hormonal levels, especially those of estrogen, wildly fluctuate. These changes within the body, especially estrogen fluctuations, cause an immense accumulation of physical and emotional stress, prompting the release of norepinephrine and epinephrine into the bloodstream, consequently promoting blood flow. This increased blood flow raises your body temperature, creating hot flashes during pregnancy in an attempt to expel heat.
It is very important for pregnancy women to distinguish hot flashes from fevers, a condition that can create pregnancy complications and possibly harm the unborn baby. A fever is very different from hot flashes, as they increase the overall temperature of the body as opposed to simple creating sensations of heat. To determine which symptoms you are experiencing, you need only to read the actual temperature of your body with a thermometer. If you are at all in doubt as to which symptom is present, you should seek the opinion of a medical professional.
Hot flashes, although not immediately harmful like fevers can be, still have the potential to become problematic and irritating, especially when they progress to such a degree of intensity that they inhibit completion of the task at hand. Continue to garner as much information as possible to better prepare yourself for hot flashes during pregnancy.
Coping With and Treating Hot Flashes during Pregnancy
Because pregnancy-induced hot flashes are directly related to a lack of estrogen within the body, you need only to address this very specific issue in order to effectively prevent and alleviate this bothersome symptom. Most women find that a combination of simple lifestyle alterations and natural, herbal supplements is the most efficacious way to treat hot flashes, and other menopausal symptoms, during pregnancy.
Know why hot flashes occur in young women.