MEDFORD, Ore. -- A new study shows a pregnant woman's high temperature fever can lead to birth defects for the unborn child, separate from the infection itself.
It's long been known a having a fever during the first trimester can increase the infant's risk of developing a congenital heart defect, and certain facial deformities -- such as a cleft lip or cleft palate.
The fever can also impact both the fetus's heart and jaw during the first three to eight weeks of pregnancy, purely from the fever's temperature alone.
The doctors behind the study say this is good news, because fever-associated defects are preventable. Over-the-counter drugs like Acetaminophen can help this.
Some women avoid medications during pregnancy, but the senior author behind the study insists certain drugs are thought to be safe.
However, he adds you should always discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Researchers say they still don't know whether the duration of a fever has an impact on birth defects.