High temperature in pregnancy

If your temperature is above 37.5 degrees Celsius, even with no other flu or cold symptoms, call your doctor or hospital maternity unit.

A high temperature could be a sign of a hidden infection. This could be harmful to your baby so it is important to get it checked out.

If you have a mild fever it is safe to take paracetamol. Make sure you follow the instructions on the packet for how much you can take. Try to take the lowest dose of paracetamol that works and for the shortest amount of time.

There are some painkillers you should not take while you’re pregnant. These include:

  • tablets or capsules that contain added caffeine (sometimes sold with 'extra' on the label)
  • tablets or capsules that contain codeine
  • anti-inflammatory tablets or capsules, like ibuprofen or aspirin.

Some women may be advised to take a low dose of aspirin as a treatment if they have had miscarriages before or they are at risk of pre-eclampsia. It should not be taken as treatment for a fever or headache.

Find out more about drugs and medicines in pregnancy.

Read more

Sources

Macdonald S, Johnson G (2017) Mayes’ midwifery, Fifteenth edition, Edinburgh, Bailliere Tindall Elsevier

 

Hide details

Last reviewed on September 28th, 2018. Next review date September 28th, 2021.

Was this information useful?

Yes No

Comments

Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.
  • By Victoria (not verified) on 17 Mar 2019 - 22:25

    I’m 7weeks pregnant and I been throwing up yellow foamy stuff haven’t been having any strength and I also be spitting up blood is this bad for my baby

  • By Rachel Newbury (not verified) on 16 Feb 2019 - 18:38

    Hello,

    I have had a temperature of between 38.5 and 38.9 for the past two days accompanied by flu like symptoms. I went to the hospital and saw a doctor who advised me I had a virus, and said just to rest and drink lots of fluids and that it wouldn't harm the baby.

    I know he is a medical professional, but I still can't help feeling like it may still have some sort of negative impact, as paracetamol is not bringing my temp down.

    Thanks,

    Rachel

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Feb 2019 - 15:14

    Hi Rachel
    If you are still not feeling better by now, four days after you sent this message, then please do go into your maternity unit to be reviewed again by a midwife and Dr. You may have an infection requiring antibiotics if you have a persistent fever. Take care, Tommy's Midwife

  • By Sam (not verified) on 4 Feb 2019 - 18:17

    I am only 8 weeks pregnant and had a temperature of over 39 for the past 3weeks (it is currently 39.8), I also had Norovirus 2weeks ago and have headaches ever since. I have spoken to 111 and my doctors and they have said I'm too early in pregnancy to worry and I haven't been given a midwife yet

  • By Yanie (not verified) on 30 Jan 2019 - 19:50

    Hi, I’m 15 weeks and 5 days pregnant and had flu with 38.7 degree celsius last night. I also have cough and colds for few days already. I’m so worried, will my condition cause physical or mental defects for my baby?
    Many thanks.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 31 Jan 2019 - 09:19

    Hi - Thank you for your message. Please try not to worry, most women get some form of cold/cough at some stage in their pregnancy. Coughs and colds are not known to have a negative impact on babys development and growth.
    Rest up, take in plenty of fluids and see how you feel over the net few days.
    If the fever lasts 48-72 hours and did not come down to below 37.5 with paracetamol in that time, then you should to your GP who may refer you either to your local early pregnancy unit, or A&E if they are really worried

  • By Frida (not verified) on 30 Jan 2019 - 05:03

    Hi there
    I had the flu
    And when I was sick with the flu I had a fever of 39
    And they say you shouldn’t have a fever of 38 or higher in early pregnancy..especially during 5-7 weeks
    And I had the fever when I was 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 weeks pregnant
    I heard if you have it for 4 or more hours it may boost the risk of heart defects and facial deformities such as cleft lip or palate
    I was sleeping almost that whole day and My husband came home and checked my temperature and it was 39
    But I dont know how long it was that high
    Should I be really worried
    I am currently 12-13 weeks pregnant
    And I already had a miscarriage before this one - so I really want everything to be okay this time around
    Tomorrow I have my first trimester screening- will that be able to tell me anything

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 30 Jan 2019 - 15:03

    Hi Frida,
    You can speak to the sonographer tomorrow about your concerns and if they are concerned by what they see on scan, then you might be referred to be seen by a consultant in the fetal medicine unit.
    You can also talk to your midwife about this when you next see her if your scan looks to be completely normal.
    If you need any further support or advice, please feel free to get in touch via midwife email or our helpline. All the best, Tommy's Midwife

  • By Regina (not verified) on 26 Oct 2018 - 02:36

    Hi pls for the past 2days I have being having a severe headache and high temperature that comes at interval. I will be very ok during d day and before I know it my body temperature will just rise and I will be catching cold.am 32weeks gone. Thank you

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 26 Oct 2018 - 10:31

    Hi Regina,
    If you are experiencing high temperatures and severe headaches then it is important that you contact your midwife or maternity unit to be seen today.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Marisa (not verified) on 22 Oct 2018 - 21:27

    Hi I’m 6 weeks and 4 days pregnant and today I have 37.4 temperature. What should I do? Thank you

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 23 Oct 2018 - 09:24

    This is only very slightly above the normal. Just rest and take plenty of fluids and you will most likely feel better soon.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 10 Sep 2018 - 10:45

    Hi , caught a cold / flu , temperature was 38.3 last night and toke a tylenol . Temperature then came down to 37.7 after an hour. I didn’t take any Tylenol today as my temperature is ranged from 37.4-37.8. Should I be worried? Or should I keep taking Tylenol? Am around 5 weeks . Thank you.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Sep 2018 - 14:31

    The only over the counter medication recommended for use in pregnancy is Paracetamol 500mg tablets-recommended dose is 1-2 tablets up to 4 times in every 24 hours-at least 4-6 hours between doses. The following link has more information for you-
    https://beta.nhs.uk/medicines/paracetamol-for-adults/
    As your temperature is below 38.0c further paracetamol is not advised.
    If it's not effective or you are concerned about your symptoms please contact your GP

    Take care
    Tommy's Midwife

  • By Dom (not verified) on 12 Aug 2018 - 16:37

    33+5wks pregnant. 2nd pregnancy (nothing like the 1st)
    Already been told I won't make it to 37wks. Currently experiencing painful tightenings (although this has been the case since 28weeks told i have Braxton hicks).
    Temperature 37.6, painful tightenings, headaches and feeling nauseous (Was actually throwing up yesterday in the early hours of the morning). Finding it difficult to eat anything. How will I know if I'm in labour with all that has been going on in the past weeks?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Aug 2018 - 14:24

    Hi Dom
    If you have not already done so, then please go urgently to your local hospital maternity triage/labour ward for urgent assessment in view of your temperature, vomiting and headaches especially. Your contractions will also need to be reviewed.
    You are not yet term and this means that you could be at risk of having a premature birth if you are not checked over by a midwife and doctor at the hospital.
    Please take good care of yourself
    Tommy's Midwife

  • By Barbara (not verified) on 6 Aug 2018 - 08:59

    Been having stomach aches (almost like bad period pain) some back and what feels like groin pains but doesn’t feel like actual contractions more like a constant stomach ache last 3 days on and off, have been having difficulty sleeping and when I eventually manage to sleep the pain wakes me. 37 weeks + 5 days,

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Aug 2018 - 11:31

    Hi Barbara, We always advise that you are seen by a doctor or midwife if you have abdominal pain in the third trimester. The pain may be nothing to worry about but without assessing you I can't make that judgement. If you are concerned please ask. Take care x

  • By Anne (not verified) on 24 Jul 2018 - 06:19

    For the last 12 hours I have had a mild fever of around 38 degrees which is not coming down with parcetamol or from cool bathing.

    How harmful can this be given I am 8 weeks pregnant and what would you suggest I do?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 26 Jul 2018 - 12:17

    Hi Anne
    If the fever lasts 48-72 hours and did not come down to below 37.5 with paracetamol in that time, then you should to your GP who may refer you either to your local early pregnancy unit, or A&E if they are really worried. I hope that by now you are feeling better, but if this is not the case, then please seek additional medical care. Please ensure that you stay well hydrated with plenty of water (2-3 litres per day)
    Take good care of yourself
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Nand (not verified) on 16 Jul 2018 - 20:03

    Hi,

    I am 30 weeks pregnant and have been suffering with really bad lower stomach pains, morstly aching with some sharp shooting pains, since yesterday. I am definitely finding walking hard and picking up my 19 month old near impossible. Now feelong light headed and have a temp of 37.7. Should I be concerned or just take some paracetamol and rest?

    Many thanks

    Nand

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Jul 2018 - 12:24

    Hi Nand
    You need to go into your local hospital to be seen by a midwife and obstetric doctor as soon as possible please!
    Abdominal pains, at any gestation, need to be investigated each time they offer to be proven normal. And you have a raised temperature, which could be a sign of an infection if it does not go down with taking 1g paracetamol. Please prioritize yourself and be seen today if you have not done so already
    All the best
    Sophie,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Sinead (not verified) on 17 May 2018 - 12:22

    Just finished a 7 day course of antibiotics for UTI, have had temp past few days ranging from 37.7-38.1, hasn't gone under 37.7 even with paracetamol and feeling flush / unwell. I am leaving a urine sample in tomorrow to check UTI is fully cleared, should I be worried about a low fever lasting a while? Can it be harmful to my baby? Thank you

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 17 May 2018 - 14:07

    Hi Sinead,

    We would ideally like your temperature to be between 36 and 37, so having a temperature that is not resolving with paracetomol does need to be assessed. You don't say how may weeks pregnant you are but in any case we would recommend that you see a doctor. They may need to take some bloods to check for any underlining infection that is causing your temperature to remain high.
    If you cannot see you GP then you can always contact your local maternity unit, explain to them that you have a temperature which has not being resolving with paracetomol and that you have had a recent UTI, it may be that you need intravenous antibiotics to treat the infection and this can happen at times so please don't be alarmed.

    Keep drinking plenty of fluids and rest well, but call your GP or maternity unit so that you can be assessed and treated if needed. Hope this helps, Take care, Tommy's Midwives x

Add new comment