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What are hot flashes in early pregnancy?

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Quick Answer

Hot flashes, the sudden sensation of flushing or being overheated, occasionally occur during pregnancy in response to normal, pregnancy-related hormone fluctuations, according to BabyCenter. Hot flashes primarily affect the areas above the waist and last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes.

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Full Answer

About 10 percent of pregnant women experience hot flashes at some point during their pregnancies BabyCenter explains. Although hot flashes are possible at anytime during the duration of pregnancy, they are most common during the second or third trimesters and during the postpartum recovery period. Rapid drops in estrogen levels during these times correlate with an increased probability of experiencing a hot-flash episode.

Pregnant women have hot flashes at five times the rate of women who are not pregnant in their same age bracket, according to the results of a study from Penn Medicine. The researchers also found a correlation between heightened anxiety levels and pregnancy hot flashes. Reducing stress levels during pregnancy is likely to lower the risk of experiencing hot flashes.

Although pregnant women feel hot during hot flashes, their body temperatures remain normal, BabyCenter reports. Fevers during pregnancy are a symptom of infection, and women with temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit need to check in with their health care professionals.

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