Taking care of yourself while you’re pregnant can be a challenge even in the best conditions. If your due date falls in the summer or early fall, the hot temperatures might make it even harder to stay healthy and comfortable.
Dr. Patricia Brougher at Bluebonnet OB/GYN is dedicated to supporting you through your entire pregnancy. Our team wants to make sure you have the tools and strategies needed to have a smooth pregnancy no matter the weather.
Why are summer pregnancies more difficult?
Picture the last summer you had when you weren’t pregnant. Would you strap a 25-pound bag of flour to your body and be able to get around comfortably? Not likely. When you’re pregnant, you put on anywhere between 25-35 pounds and have to tote around your growing baby. This kind of heavy lifting in the dead of summer can be grueling.
You also become naturally intolerant to heat. Your internal body temperature rises during pregnancy, so high external temperatures can have a negative impact on your health. A good rule of thumb is to pay attention to the heat index, which is a measure of the heat and humidity outside. Stay inside in the cool air conditioning if the heat index is in the 90s.
Although it might be necessary at times, we don’t want you to spend your summer cooped up inside. Here are 10 tips for having a safe pregnancy during the hottest months of the year:
1. Wear comfortable clothing
The worst part about a summer pregnancy is the increased discomfort. The heat and your changing body are a recipe for irritability. We recommend you wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing with breathable fabrics. Consider a wide-brimmed hat to keep your sun exposure to a minimum.
2. Stay out of the direct sunlight
Your days of sunbathing are on hold for a while. You’re much more likely to suffer from heat exhaustion in your current condition, so it’s best to hang out in the shade, wear a hat, or grab an umbrella if you must be outside.
3. Drink plenty of water
This is good advice regardless of whether or not you're pregnant. But it’s especially important now. Staying hydrated regulates your body temperature and keeps your systems working properly. Try to drink at least eight to 10 glasses of water every day or more if you spend time exercising. Other sports drinks that are high in electrolytes are also great if you’re outside and sweating.
4. Mist yourself with water
Water isn’t just good for your insides. It’s a good idea to carry around a spray bottle filled with water. Spritz yourself periodically to keep yourself cool.
5. Use sunscreen often
Now more than ever it’s important to defend yourself against the sun’s rays. Sunburns dehydrate you and make you unbearably uncomfortable. Save yourself the trouble and apply sunscreen often.
6. Take a swim
Not only is swimming great for cooling off on a hot day, but it can also have other benefits as well. You might lose a little weight and you’ll take the pressure off your joints and back. Swim with caution and stop if you feel overly tired.
7. Exercise with caution
Exercising is great for a pregnant woman. However, the summer can put a damper on your workout routine. The best time to break a sweat is in the early morning hours or after the sun has set. This is when it’s typically coolest outside and your risk of heat exhaustion is at its lowest.
If you can’t schedule a workout around the sun, consider taking a walk in your local mall where it’s air-conditioned or getting a gym membership so you can exercise safely inside.
8. Kick your feet up
Your legs are already at risk for becoming extremely swollen and uncomfortable when you’re pregnant, but it gets worse in the summer. We suggest you spend some time every day with your feet elevated above your heat to reduce swelling.
9. Eat healthy foods
With so much sweating and extra exertion, eating healthy foods is extremely important. Feed yourself and your baby lots of protein-rich foods and healthy fats from foods like avocados and oils. This will support your health as you endure the sweltering sun.
10. Stay away from foods that can spoil
If you’re at a summer picnic, chances are someone has bought potato salad, coleslaw, or other dishes with easily spoiled ingredients. It’s best to avoid these foods as they can go bad quickly in the summer sun.
Being pregnant in the summer doesn’t have to be miserable. You can enjoy the warmth and take a dip in the pool with your friends and family, while still having a safe and healthy pregnancy. If you’d like to know more about getting through your pregnancy, call our office today.