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Why You Might Be Feeling Cold in Pregnancy

Here’s why pregnancy might be chilling you out—literally.
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Updated March 26, 2024
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People often talk about feeling hot during pregnancy, so it’s understandable to be thrown off if you’re suddenly chillier than usual while expecting. But some people do feel colder when pregnant. If you find yourself tossing on extra layers or piling on the blankets when you sleep, there could be a few reasons. Here’s why you might always be cold while pregnant—and when to reach out to your doctor about it.

Is It Normal to Feel Colder When Pregnant?

“It’s more common to feel hot during pregnancy due to the swelling blood supply, but some women feel cold at times,” says women’s health expert and author Jennifer Wider, MD. In many cases, it’s normal and not a sign of an underlying medical condition—unless it lasts for a while and comes with other symptoms, she adds.

Causes of Feeling Cold in Pregnancy (and How to Treat Them)

While many causes of feeling colder when pregnant are run-of-the-mill, others should prompt you to reach out to your doctor. “Not eating enough, not getting enough sleep, fatigue and even anxiety can make you feel cold. But so can anemia, thyroid conditions and an infection,” says Wider. Below, some reasons you might be feeling chilly.

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones to meet your body’s needs, says the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Other symptoms include fatigue, joint and muscle pain, dry skin or hair, a slowed heart rate and feelings of depression. Your doctor might recommend taking levothyroxine if you have this condition, says G. Thomas Ruiz, MD, lead ob-gyn at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.

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Anemia

Anemia—a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to your body’s tissues, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)—is common during pregnancy. If you have pregnancy anemia, you might not only feel cold, but have dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath or weakness, says Wider. Ruiz says your doctor might recommend eating more iron-rich foods or taking an iron supplement.

Low blood pressure

Low blood pressure, aka hypotension, is a condition in which your blood pressure is below 90/60 millimeters of mercury, says the NHLBI. “With this, the blood is not circulating through your body quickly,” Ruiz says. “You’ll tend to feel colder, as well as lightheaded.” You might also feel short of breath when you stand up, he adds. Low blood pressure is common in pregnancy and may not need treatment, but the NHLBI recommends talking to your doctor to find out if they think you need medical intervention. Drinking plenty of fluids and wearing compression stockings might also help, says the NHLBI.

Exhaustion

It’s common to feel wiped out in pregnancy, especially if you’re having trouble getting comfortable enough to have a good night’s sleep. “Generally speaking, lack of sleep creates a problem with thermoregulation,” Ruiz says. It can also throw your metabolism out of whack, leaving you chillier than usual, he says. If you can, Ruiz recommends doing your best to prioritize your sleep. He suggests using a pregnancy pillow or weighted blanket for extra comfort.

Illness

“There’s a wide variety of infections you can get, varying in severity—even during pregnancy,” says Thomas Russo, MD, professor and chief of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo in New York. Feeling chills during pregnancy could be a sign that you’re developing a fever, or that you already have one, he says. Having a fever in pregnancy is “concerning,” Russo says, which is why it’s important to reach out to your healthcare provider about next steps. Depending on your symptoms, your doctor could test you for COVID-19, the flu and other illnesses, and recommend treatment from there, he says.

Other Tips to Combat Coldness in Pregnancy

If you’re feeling cold during pregnancy and have ruled out more serious underlying reasons, Ruiz says there are a few things you can do to get comfortable (besides tossing on a sweater, of course!):

  • Try to eat a healthy, varied diet
  • Take prenatal vitamins to lower the risk of a vitamin deficiency
  • Get rest when you can
  • Try to stay active to keep your blood flowing and body healthy

Wider says it’s also important not to ignore how you’re feeling. “Try to figure out the underlying cause and deal with it accordingly,” she says.

When to Reach Out to Your Doctor

If you’re feeling colder when pregnant, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about it at your next checkup—even if you’re not experiencing other troublesome symptoms. “[You can say,] ‘I’ve been feeling unusually cold and that’s not typical,’” Ruiz says. “That could initiate some kind of workup, including checking your blood levels again and maybe running a thyroid test.”

But if you have a fever due to chills during pregnancy, it’s a good idea to call your doctor right away.

Feeling cold here and there is totally normal, but if you’re always cold while pregnant—or are concerned about your symptoms for any other reason—make sure to check in with your provider.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

Sources

G. Thomas Ruiz, MD, is the lead ob-gyn at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. He received his medical degree from University of California Irvine School of Medicine.

Thomas Russo, MD, is a professor and the chief of infectious disease at the University at Buffalo in New York. He received his medical degree from McGill University in Montreal.

Jennifer Wider, MD, is a nationally renowned women’s health expert, author and radio host. She received her medical degree from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Hypothyroidism, March 2021

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Anemia, March 2022

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Low Blood Pressure, March 2022

Learn how we ensure the accuracy of our content through our editorial and medical review process.

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