Pregnant in the summer: Beat the heat and thrive
Pregnancy is an amazing time of life. It’s only 40 weeks, but since there are so many changes, it can seem like an eternity. The summer months can crawl, especially as the delivery date draws near. Here’s what you need to do to enjoy life while being pregnant in the summer.
Understanding body temperature during pregnancy
Your body is working overtime to support you and the life you’re growing inside, so it increases blood volume and the number of blood vessels significantly, according to Healthline. You’re more metabolically active — which explains that increased appetite — and you have a higher body temperature even in the earliest days of your pregnancy.
It’s natural and expected that your body will be warmer than normal, which is a bonus during the winter but needs to be managed in the summer. This isn’t just for the physical discomfort you experience, but the potential harm to your baby.
Risks of overheating
Healthline noted that there are two primary concerns with overheating during pregnancy: the risk of developmental problems and the possibility of a miscarriage. According to an article in Birth Defects Research, hyperthermia can affect all parts of fetal development, but the brain and spinal cord are at the highest risk.
Secondly, an overheated pregnant woman may become dehydrated, which can affect blood flow to the uterus, causing low amniotic fluid and may even lead to premature labor, the American Pregnancy Association explained.
Tips to stay cool
Keep yourself and your baby cool this summer with the following tips:
- Dress in light clothing – Light, flowing dresses will keep you cool and make it look like being pregnant in the summer is effortless. Cotton t-shirts and shorts also work. Just wear whatever keeps you cool.
- Air conditioning is your friend – It’s a great time to take a stroll around the mall, see the latest summer blockbuster or find a new favorite book at the library. These public places should all have the air conditioning cranked up so you’re comfortable.
- Lounging in the pool – If you have access to a pool, use it to beat the summer heat. Protect yourself from the sun with sunscreen and a hat, and you can float the day away. It’s also beneficial to take the added baby weight stress off of your joints and can even relieve swollen feet and ankles.
- Cool it when you exercise – The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists encouraged pregnant women to exercise at least 150 minutes a week if cleared by a doctor. So exercise in the morning or late evening to avoid the heat of the day. Consider water aerobics or walking indoors. For the most part, you should be able to do much of the exercise you did before the pregnancy, but don’t allow yourself to become uncomfortably hot. Ask for your OB’s advice about exercise.
- Drink plenty of water – Cool water with lots of ice can make you feel more comfortable in the summer months. You can even find recipes for healthy popsicles or purchase sugar-free and even real fruit options to mix it up a little.
- Cool showers – One cool shower can make a world of difference from feeling hot, sticky and sweaty to feeling cool, clean and refreshed.
Stay cool this summer, pregnant moms. Remember, it’s only a few months and it’ll be cooling down before you know it.
Related link: Reid Health Mother-Baby Care Center
Image source: Flickr