You might find yourself sitting there, feeling perfectly fine and normal.
And then it strikes:
You start to feel hot all over, sort of radiating from your face and then your body. You might start to sweat, especially on your forehead, and have the urge to fan yourself or rip off all of your clothes.
First things first: don’t worry.
Hot flashes are very common during pregnancy, especially in the 1st and second trimesters.
Although that can range from mildly annoying to very unpleasant depending on you and your body, they aren’t dangerous and usually aren’t a sign that anything’s wrong.
Why do they happen, you ask?
As far as I can tell, there is no known specific cause for them. Basically, it’s thought that they’re a result of all the changes (especially hormonal) that your body is going through.
It’s thought that common triggers could include: spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine, low blood sugar, stress, and being physically hot.
Stress can also trigger hot flashes. Even situations like being stuck in traffic or waiting in a busy line at the grocery store can be enough to set them off.
Of course, it’s important to recognize the difference between hot flashes are a fever. I’d suggest having a thermometer on hand, and if your temperature is over 100F at any time, call a doctor.
What do hot flashes feel like?
The symptoms of a hot flash are pretty recognizable.You’ll probably feel an intense heat radiating throughout your body. Really, really hot. You’ll probably have the urge to rip your clothes off no matter where you are, even if it’s in the middle of a crowded Walmart.
Your face will feel flush, and it’ll probably be red and hot, with a burning feeling. Depending on how intense your hot flashes are, you might even feel slightly nauseous.
Hot flashes tend to last a random amount of time, but it can be up to several minutes, which is never pleasant.
If this sounds at all like what you’ve experienced, it’s probably hot flashes.
Other common questions about hot flashes:
Are they dangerous?
Nope, they’re not dangerous.
You might be worried about it because of the intense heat you feel, but you can rest assured that it won’t affect your baby at all
When will they stop?
I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there’s no answer to this.
For some moms, they last as little as a few weeks, but for others, they can last the entire pregnancy. Some moms even experience them after their little one is born. Oh boy!
How to deal with them.
- Sleep in a cool place: If you tend to get hot flashes at night, sleeping in a cool place really helps. Of course, that’s not always easy to pull off when you’re pregnant, but if you open the windows and maybe run the fan or air conditioning, it can make a big difference.
- Stay well-hydrated: Whether you’re indoors or out and about, keep water with you at all times. I like bringing a good insulated water bottle with me when I’m out running errands.
- Wear loose, breathable clothing in layers: Avoid synthetic materials like polyester and go for the more loose-fitting stuff. That’s way more comfortable as a pregnant mama anyway. Tank tops and shorts are perfect if the weather is hot enough! If you layer it up, you can easily take some clothes off if you feel a flash coming on.
- Avoid triggers: Spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol are thought to trigger hot flashes, so you’d do best to avoid them if your flashes are problematic enough. Although you should be avoiding alcohol and caffeine already! Even hot drinks like tea can be triggers.
- Take a cold shower: This is one of my favorite ways to cool down! Jumping in the shower for a quick, cold splash is a great way to cool yourself off.
- Breathe: It sounds simple, but concentrated, full breathing can really help. Stressing out over the hot flash can make it feel even worse, so if you can avoid freaking out, it will make a difference.
- Eat well: Low blood sugar levels can also trigger a hot flash. Don’t go too long between meals (or snacks)!
- Exercise: Even just going for a short walk every day can help. Plus it’s a great idea to get some exercise anyway!
Do you have any tips for dealing with hot flashes?
If you have any advice for other moms dealing with hot flashes, let me know in the comments below!
I’d also be happy to answer any questions!