Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the variation of normal maternal temperature during labour. Design: A prospective cohort study. Setting: Two hospitals in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Population: All women with a live singleton pregnancy and a gestational age of 36 weeks or more admitted to the delivery ward from June 2000 to January 2002. Methods: Maternal temperature was measured rectally every 2-3 hours from admission until the beginning of second stage, and 1-hour postpartum. Normal labour (n = 843) was defined as gestational age ≥37 weeks, spontaneous onset of labour, rupture of membranes <18 hours before birth, normal progress of labour without the need for augmentation or epidural analgesia and spontaneous vaginal delivery of a healthy infant. The remaining group was classified as abnormal (n = 2209). Main outcome measures: Rectal measured temperature in degrees Celsius. Results: The mean temperature during labour in the complete study population increased from 37.1°C at the beginning of labour to 37.4°C after 22 hours. Temperature in the abnormal labour group was equal to the normal labour group during the first 3 hours of labour (P > 0.05) but increased thereafter. Conclusions: At the beginning of labour, temperature was 37.1°C. Temperature increased slowly during labour and was 37.4°C (2SD 1.2) after 22 hours. The upper 2SD limit for normal temperature did not follow a circadian pattern and time of day is not relevant for the classification of normal versus elevated temperature.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Epidural anaesthesia, Fever, Intra-uterine infection, Labour, Maternal temperature
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-0528.2008.01781.x, hdl.handle.net/1765/30347
Journal BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Schouten, F.D, Wolf, H, Smit, B, Bekedam, D.J, de Vos, R, & Wahlen, I. (2008). Maternal temperature during labour. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 115(9), 1131–1137. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0528.2008.01781.x