Flu-like body aches in early pregnancy: Is it normal? What causes this symptom?
Most importantly, how can you ease some of your discomfort?
The pregnancy test is positive and it’s time to celebrate! … Wait, what? Why do you feel like you have the flu?
Those first couple months of pregnancy come with some weird symptoms. At least, that was my experience. I didn’t get the nausea or food aversions all my friends complained about. No, no. I legitimately felt like I had caught the flu.
If you’re experiencing the same, don’t worry. Flu-like body aches in early pregnancy are actually pretty common. In this post, we’re going to talk about getting chills during early pregnancy: what causes it, how to manage your symptoms, and when to worry.
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Why Does Pregnancy Give You Flu-Like Symptoms
This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of the links I will make a small commission at no charge to you. Blunders in Babyland does not diagnose, treat, or give out any professional advice for any medical conditions.
Yes, it can, and there are actually a few reasons why you could be feeling this way.
Pregnancy chills but no fever? The culprit could be hormones.
Hormones are the little troublemakers behind most of what happens when you are expecting. Your estrogen and progesterone levels will steadily (and not so steadily) increase during your gestation. Many pregnant people experience flu-like symptoms as a response to this.
Have you ever heard of the period flu? If not, good for you! It’s a bear. Basically, this is a short time where you experience flu-like symptoms before your menstrual cycle begins. Fun things like muscle aches, hot flashes, nausea, headaches, and fatigue. This too is caused by hormone fluctuations.
I rarely contract the flu, but when I was expecting I felt like I was walking around with a “infect me” sign for viruses.
During pregnancy, your immune response is lowered. This protects the little one growing inside you. The flu, notorious for causing body aches, jumps on your weakened immune system. So, those muscle aches could very well be actual flu symptoms.
If you have a fever or are experiencing any other disastrous symptoms, schedule a visit to your provider’s office. During my pregnancy, my midwife gave me Tamiflu. This is an antiviral drug that (ideally), reduces the severity and duration of your symptoms.
By itself, chills are not usually an indication of miscarriage. However, in some cases, flu-like body aches in early pregnancy can be an indicator of a miscarriage.
- Severe cramps (cramps can also be normal though.)
- Clear or pink fluid
If you notice these symptoms, please, just call your provider. They’re happy to talk you through what you’re feeling. You and your baby’s health is a serious, legitimate concern.
Remember, this is the worst-case scenario, Mama. So, please don’t feel like this is common or the first reason you should look at.
If you’re in the third trimester and close to the finish line, guess what? Flu-Like body aches during pregnancy might actually be an indicator that baby is coming soon.
Once again, hormones are the culprit here.
Right before giving birth to my second daughter, I experienced this. That, combined with contractions, was not the funnest experience…but the end result made it worth it!
How to Ease Body Aches During Pregnancy
Is it normal to have chills in early pregnancy? Yes. Is it fun? No. Let’s talk about how to alleviate some of your discomfort.
1000x, yes! A soothing warm bath can work wonders for those achy muscles. Just make sure the water isn’t too hot. Doctors recommend keeping the temperature below 100 degrees. You definitely do not want the little guy to get too toasty inside you.
Now, sometimes these symptoms make any physical touch unthinkable. Other times, a good massage can help. Ask your partner to give you a gentle massage or treat yourself to a prenatal massage.
I spent a good portion of my trimester wrapped in a fuzzy robe and sitting next to the fireplace. Heat can work wonders for your achy muscles. You can also try heat pads if you’re looking for relief in a particularly achy area.
Remember, keep it at a safe temperature and avoid placing it directly on your belly.
You probably don’t feel like moving at all right now. I get that. Having said that, pregnancy-friendly stretches can ease those aches like nothing else.
My friend Ava wrote an entire post on how to exercise during pregnancy, but here’s a couple ideas to get you started:
- Pregnancy Yoga: Gentle poses that focus on stretching and relaxation can help release tension and improve flexibility.
- Pelvic Tilts: Pelvic tilts are simple and effective. Lie on your back, bend your knees, and gently tilt your pelvis upward.
Your body is working overtime to create life, so don’t hesitate to take breaks and catch those Z’s. Good, quality sleep has been found to improve fetal development and decrease anxiety. Doctors recommend that pregnant ladies catch 8-10 hours of sleep. Personally, I took an hour nap in the afternoon, and slept about 8 hours at night.
I can’t stress this enough. You want to drink about 8-12 cups a day.
You wouldn’t think that dehydration could cause muscle aches, but they absolutely can. Hydration helps keep your muscles happy and your body functioning smoothly.
Other Pregnancy Symptoms that Look Like Illness
Does pregnancy give you flu-like symptoms? Yup. We’ve covered body-aches, so let’s take a moment to explore the other ones. You’re probably expecting the nausea and fatigue, so let’s talk about a few interesting symptoms.
I mean, every pregnant mom expects to have food aversion. The funny thing is, these aversions change from trimester to trimester and pregnancy to pregnancy. For example, during my first pregnancy it was spiced chicken. Parmesan garlic or Mexican-seasoned chicken made me want to gag.
My second daughter? Sweets. Cupcakes, cookies, breakfast croissants… anything and everything sweet, I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. It was a good problem to have.
Have you experienced this yet?
The catch, though: many people with the flu virus also experience food aversions. Keep your eye out!
Hot flashes and chills during early pregnancy go together like peanut butter and jelly. How is it possible that you’re cold and hot at the same time? IDK.
Unfortunately, feeling feverish is an early pregnancy symptom that kind of comes and goes throughout your pregnancy. This is due to changes in body temperature as well as hormone fluctuations.
Heightened Sense of Smell
Congratulations, you’ve developed a new superpower. But this ability goes both ways: you’ll smell scents that make your mouth water and grosses you out.
Elevated Body Temperature
To be clear, pregnancy does not cause a fever. That would be the actual flu. It can, however, raise your baseline body temperature about .2 degrees.
Chills During Early Pregnancy FAQ:
1. Is it normal to have chills in early pregnancy?
Absolutely! Hormonal fluctuations can lead to chills. While they might catch you off guard, experiencing chills during the first trimester is a common occurrence for many expectant mothers.
2. When should I call my doctor for chills during pregnancy?
If you are experiencing persistent, severe chills or other symptoms like fever, intense pain, or see blood, vision changes, swelling, or a sudden headache, reach out to your provider.
If something feels off or different from what you’ve been experiencing, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
3. Do chills during pregnancy mean I’m having a boy or girl?
While it’s fun to speculate, chills or (any pregnancy symptoms) aren’t reliable indicators of whether you’re having a boy or a girl.
4. Is a sudden cold an early sign of pregnancy?
It can be! When you are pregnant, the hormones in your body fluctuate, causing flu-like symptoms. Your immune system also takes a nose-dive, making you more susceptible to illness. Pregnancy is fun, isn’t it?
That said, I don’t want to raise your expectations too high! Flu symptoms aren’t always an indicator that you may be pregnant. It could just be a plain ol’ infection.
Wrap-Up: Did You Experience This Sign When You Were Pregnant?
I hope this post eased your fears about flu-like body aches during early pregnancy. Or, on the opposite side of the spectrum, convinced you that it’s time to give your provider a call.
Honestly, I hated the body aches during the first trimester. It made me feel like I was on the verge of getting sick all the time. While it feels like they won’t go away, eventually they will! Once you hit the 12-week mark, your body starts to return to some semblance of normal. Keep your head up, Mama!
In the meantime, get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, and try some yoga or other light exercise. I’ve noticed that physical activities can take your mind off the discomfort.
Veteran moms, I’d love to hear from you! Please share your best tips below.