Summertime is here and while many people have been eagerly anticipating the warm weather, the heat can make a summer pregnancy challenging and uncomfortable. We’ve provided a few tips to help alleviate discomfort and keep you safe and cool while pregnant in the summer.
Staying hydrated in the summer is important especially for pregnant women. During pregnancy you should drink at least eight, 8 ounce glasses of water (2 liters) each day. Staying hydrated can prevent common problems in pregnancy such as hemorrhoids, constipation and bladder infections. Your baby also benefits as it aids in forming the amniotic fluid around the fetus and helps carry nutrients to the fetus. During the hot summer weather, you might enjoy ice cold popsicles and cold fruit or melon to increase your water consumption and keep you cool. Be sure to drink water if you begin to experience symptoms of dehydration which may include headache, dizziness, fatigue or dark urine.
High temperatures and strong UV rays can drain you of energy and make you feel tired. This summer, make sure to take time to rest in a cool area. Many patients experience swelling especially lower extremity or leg swelling. This is not a worrisome sign but due to vasodilation from heat. To reduce swelling, keep your legs elevated while resting.
Going for a swim is a great way to relax, cool down and exercise during pregnancy. The weightlessness in the water can help relieve pressure or pain you may be experiencing. For days when the UV rays are powerful, find a spot in the shade to cool off or head indoors to air conditioning to avoid overheating. Utilize hats and umbrellas to create extra shade and stay cool in the sun.
While enjoying time outdoors, it’s crucial to use sunscreen. Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen which provides protection against UVA and UVB rays and contains an SPF of 30 or greater. Due to increased hormone levels, skin sensitivity increases during pregnancy causing pregnant women to be more susceptible to sunburns. Be sure to reapply your sunscreen every two hours, and especially after swimming or sweating to avoid sunburn and sunspots.
Wear lightweight & loose clothing
Choosing the right kind of clothing, such as lightweight material and loose-fitting clothes, can help you stay cool and comfortable during a summer pregnancy. Linen, cotton and silk, are examples of lightweight clothing that can help you from overheating and wick away moisture. Light colored clothing, especially white, can help to reflect the sun rays and keep you cool.
Plan your physical activities
Regular exercise is important during pregnancy and it’s recommended that you get 3 to 4 hours of total exercise weekly. Great exercises during pregnancy include walking, swimming, low impact aerobics and yoga. With the hot summer temperatures, plan your physical activity for the mornings while the temperatures are cooler to avoid heat exhaustion. Staying active during pregnancy provides numerous benefits such as:
- Reduces back pain
- Better mood
- Increases energy
- Less stress
- Eases constipation
- Promotes healthy weight gain during pregnancy
- May decrease risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and cesarean birth
- Improves overall fitness
Signs of heat exhaustion:
Heat exhaustion symptoms may include dizziness, fatigue, muscle cramps, excessive sweating, weak rapid pulse, headache or nausea. Symptoms may start suddenly or progress overtime. If you are experiencing any symptoms of heat exhaustion, move to a cool place, rest and drink water. If symptoms get worse or don’t alleviate within one hour, contact your provider at County Ob/Gyn.
County Ob/Gyn offers comprehensive healthcare for women. Schedule an appointment with your provider through your MyChart Portal or by calling us at (203) 488-8306.