Applications of Thermography during Human Pregnancy

Applications of Thermography during Human Pregnancy

23/09/2021 By: Nieves Fernández López y Alejandro del Estal Home

Have you ever wondered what happens thermally when a woman is pregnant? In this article, we want to introduce you to the different applications that thermography has during pregnancy.

What does pregnancy produce in women?

During this process, the mother undergoes significant anatomical and physiological changes in order to nurture and accommodate the developing fetus. These changes begin after conception and affect every organ system in the body (Soma-Pillay, P., Nelson-Piercy, C., Tolppanen, H., & Mebazaa, A., 2016). Besides, thermography has been also used to evaluate and monitor this natural process in different animals (Andrew et al. 2020).

Pregnancy causes changes in the physiology of the woman’s body that may result in altered thermoregulatory capacity, similar to the changes seen in different moments of the menstrual cycle. For example, increased progesterone levels may raise skin blood flow, resulting in greater heat loss and a compensatory elevation of basal metabolic rate (Artal, R., & Wiswell, R., 1986). This is due to the variations in skin temperature that result from changes in tissue perfusion and blood flow (Bower et al. 2009; Winsor T., 1971).


Thermography does not require a direct contact to measure and is non-invasive, this is why it could be used in humans to:

  • record maternal-fetal dynamic interaction in pregnancy (Topalidou A., Markarian G., & Downe S., 2020),
  • localize placental sites without exposing the mother and fetus to irradiation (Millar K. G., 1966),
  • help in the development of techniques targeted to early infection surveillance in women after caesarean section (Childs et al. 2016),
  • to adjunct as a tool in clinical evaluation of the low-back pain during pregnancy when associated with artificial intelligence  (Araujo et al. 2021),
  • evaluate the differences between pregnant and non-pregnant women (Bowers et al. 2009) and
  • identify the effects of physical activity on pregnant women (Sillero-Quintana et al. 2012).

To sum up, Infrared Thermography can be a good complementary tool to use in the assessment of different factors during the pregnancy, with the aim of improving the mother’s health and monitoring the whole process.


Andrews, C. J., Thomas, D. G., Welch, M. V., Yapura, J., & Potter, M. A. (2020). Monitoring ovarian function and detecting pregnancy in felids: a review. Theriogenology.

Araujo, C. M., de Sousa Dantas, D., de Santana, D. R. S., Brioschi, M. L., Ferreira, C. W. S., & Maia, J. N. (2021). Thermography evaluation of low back pain in pregnant women: Cross-sectional study. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies.

Artal, R., & Wiswell, R. (1986). Exercise in pregnancy. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore.

Bowers, S., Gandy, S., Anderson, B., Ryan, P., & Willard, S. (2009). Assessment of pregnancy in the late-gestation mare using digital infrared thermography. Theriogenology, 72(3), 372-377. 

Childs, C., Siraj, M. R., Fair, F. J., Selvan, A. N., Soltani, H., Wilmott, J., & Farrell, T. (2016). Thermal territories of the abdomen after cesarean section birth: infrared thermography and analysis. Journal of wound care, 25(9), 499-512.

Millar, K. G. (1966). Placental localization by thermography. British medical journal, 1(5503), 1571.

Sillero-Quintana, M., Conde-Pascual, E., Gomez-Carmona, P. M., Fernandez-Cuevas, I., & García-Pastor, T. (2012). Effect of yoga and swimming on body temperature of pregnant women. Thermology International, 22(3), 108.

Soma-Pillay, P., Nelson-Piercy, C., Tolppanen, H., & Mebazaa, A. (2016). Physiological changes in pregnancy: review articles. Cardiovascular journal of Africa, 27(2), 89-94.

Topalidou, A., Markarian, G., & Downe, S. (2020). Thermal imaging of the fetus: An empirical feasibility study. PloS one, 15(7), e0226755. 

Winsor T., (1971). Vascular aspects of thermography. J Cardiovasc Surg; (12), 379–88.

If you have any comments or clarifications, feel free to send us a message. We will be delighted to read you.

Europa Thermohuman ThermoHuman has had the support of the Funds of the European Union and the Community of Madrid through the Operational Programme on Youth Employment. Likewise, ThermoHuman within the framework of the Export Initiation Program of ICEX NEXT, had the support of ICEX and the co-financing of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

CDTI Thermohuman has received funding from the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), in participation with the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), for the R+D activities involved in creating a new tool, based on thermography, for the prediction and prevention of rheumatoid arthritis. See project detail.