No matter what stage of pregnancy, the hotter months present more challenges than the cooler months. To begin with, even during colder months, you feel hotter when you’re pregnant than when you are not pregnant because your core body temperature is higher due to increased blood flow. Couple the higher inner temperature with elevated weather temperatures, and you feel like you’re practically boiling from the inside and out.
Given the heat, and the likelihood of heat exhaustion or dehydration, we are left vowing never to leave our A/C units. Yet, we still need to accomplish tasks and errands outside the home, as well as inhale some fresh air, at least part of the day. Therefore, we need ways to cope in order to beat the heat and still remain mobile and (at least somewhat) sane while pregnant.
Here are four top ways to deal when you’re pregnant in the heat of summer.
1) Hydrate. In pregnancy, our fluid intake needs increase because our bodies produce up to 45% more blood for the uterus, placenta, and baby. In addition, varicose veins and ankle inflammation are common, especially if we are not drinking amply. All told, water keeps things flowing, reducing risks of blood and other fluids pooling in our bodies. And if on top of it all it’s freaking hot outside, we are certainly in dire need of extra fluids when pregnant. We especially want to avoid dehydration because it can cause preterm contractions.
a. Drink a glass of water or juice once/hour during the daytime.
b. Carry a spray water bottle with you everywhere. Spray yourself – whenever!
c. Eat water-rich foods: Fruits (2-3/day) and fresh vegetables (4 or more servings/day.) Before you go outside, consume water-rich foods rather than say, a hamburger – see how different you’ll feel! You can even freeze fruits such as grapes, or sliced mango, nectarine, or plums.
d. Shower (or swim) at least once/day, imbibing the skin with hydration.
2) Wear cooled clothing. Yes, cooled. Here are suggestions for cooling your clothes and accessories before donning them. With really hot weather, you’d be surprised how quickly these wet items will dry, but at least you get a half an hour of a much cooler outdoor experience.
a. Dunk your hat or head scarf in water.
b. Wet your shirt, and put it in the freezer.
c. Carry a wet scarf or wash cloth and place it on your face, and the nape of your neck.
3) Stay in. During peak sunlight hours, stay in cooled indoor areas as much as possible. While this may seem like a no-brainer, we sometimes don’t prioritize this aspect of staying cool.
a. Save as many errands as possible for the cooler hours.
b. If you exercise outdoors, do so either in the very early morning or during cool evenings. Mornings are ideal because the earth has had the night to cool down, whereas the evening street might still be harboring the daytime heat.
With the above suggestions, hopefully you will be able to get through the hotter months much easier during your pregnancy. If you experience any preterm contractions, or other malaise whatsoever, contact your care provider right away. We wish you a healthy and fun time while you’re pregnant during the summer.