Surviving a Summer Pregnancy
Pregnancy can be uncomfortable, even in the best circumstances. Add sweltering heat and high humidity, and it can become almost unbearable. If your due date falls during the summer or early fall you’ll likely encounter some additional pregnancy “challenges” related to the heat.
One of the biggest issues during the hot summer months is staying hydrated. Dehydration can lead to an increased risk of urinary tract infections, along with cramping, and dizziness. It’s a good idea to sip water throughout the day to make sure you’re keeping your body sufficiently hydrated. Eating fresh fruit can also go a long way toward avoiding dehydration; plus, fresh fruit contains plenty of vitamins and minerals and fiber - all good things!
But, be careful! There is such a thing as TOO MUCH water. Water toxicity, caused when you consume too much water, If you over-hydrate with water, you can dilute your electrolytes, causing cramps, fatigued muscles, and in extreme cases, unconsciousness. It’s a good idea to drink some juice or a sports drink, or eat some fruit, if you feel any of these symptoms.
During pregnancy, your body temperature is already a bit higher than normal. So it’s more likely that you’ll be unable to tolerate the heat as well a you might have before you were pregnant.
While nobody likes to be stuck indoors on a beautiful sunny day, it’s a good idea to stay inside in the air conditioning if the heat index (a measure of both the temperature and humidity) is 90º or above. A cool, damp cloth on your forehead, neck, or the top of your head will also go a long way to helping you keep cool.
But staying out of the heat does not mean you have to stay in the house. Air conditioned restaurants, malls and movie theaters are all good places to beat the heat while getting out of the house.
Put your feet up
Swelling of the legs and feet are common, especially toward the end of a pregnancy, and this can be exacerbated by the heat. Again, it’s a good idea to stay hydrated, and keep your feet up to reduce swelling and discomfort.
Beware the Burn
Of course we all know that we need to wear sunscreen any time we’re going to be out in the sun. But, it’s especially crucial during pregnancy, as pregnant women are more prone to sunburn than non-pregnant women. Use a high-SPF sunscreen, or even a sunblock, to avoid both sunburn and “pregnancy mask,” which can be caused by increased melanin production.
One of the best things about being pregnant is that you have a good reason to dress as comfortably as possible, We’re lucky that pregnancy fashions have come a long way since our mothers and grandmothers had babies - now there are almost limitless maternity options that are fashionable and comfortable. Choose loose, breathable fabrics that will help you stay cool and comfy.
Take a Dip
Swimming can be a fantastic way to beat the heat. If you have access to a pool, take the plunge! Being in the water can help you stay cool, and it can help take some of the pressure off of your sciatic nerve. Plus, it can ease the pain from swollen legs and feet.
Just remember to reapply sunscreen often if you’re going to be spending time in the pool. The sun’s rays do reflect off the water, and even waterproof sunscreen loses its effectiveness over time.
Even during the most uncomfortable stages of your pregnancy, remember to take good care of yourself, and focus on the excitement that awaits you when your baby arrives. Stay cool, and have a great summer!
Jun 20, 2013