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Summer Tips for Pregnant Women
Written by - Dr. Divya, Gynaecologist.

It's hot, it's humid, and you're pregnant. True, that can be a recipe for misery, but there are ways to cope.

"Heat and humidity, while unpleasant for most people, take a greater toll on pregnant women."

'Heat Intolerance'

when you're pregnant your body temperature is already a bit higher than normal, so added heat from the outside temperature is bound to make you feel uncomfortable.

"Pregnant women already have some degree of heat intolerance,"

Here are some tips to beat the heat during summer :

  • Not only does swimming cool you off, it helps to take some of the weight off your sciatic nerve.
  • Wear breathable fabrics so you won't sweat; this will keep you cooler and help prevent heat rash that can develop under your breasts and abdomen, a common problem for pregnant women.
  • Carry a water-filled squirt bottle so that you can mist yourself when you start to feel warm.
  • Exercise at the cooler times of day and avoid exercising to the point overheating.
  • Avoid direct mid-day sun, because pregnant women are more prone to sunburn than non-pregnant women.
  • Drink one eight-ounce glass (240 ML) of water or electrolyte replacement liquid for each hour you are outdoors in hot weather.
  • Avoid vigorous outdoor activities during the hot hours of the day.
  • Use a high SPF sunscreen. If you have fair skin, use SPF 30 or 45. (Increased melanin production can lead to the "mask of pregnancy," so make sure your time in the sun is limited and don't head out without sunscreen or, better yet, sunblock.)
  • Get indoors at the first sign of weakness, fatigue, dizziness, light-headedness, or excessive thirst. Lie down and drink some cool water or electrolyte replacement liquid. If you don't feel better soon, call your doctor.

Another frequent problem in summer pregnancies is leg swelling -- called physiologic edema. "If the second half of pregnancy occurs during the summer months, the degree of leg swelling can increase dramatically."

Do:

  1. Lie down for 30 to 60 minutes a day, either at the end of the workday or during lunch.
  2. Keep your legs elevated while sleeping by placing a rolled-up towel or blanket under your mattress at the foot of the bed.
  3. Wear comfortable shoes and, if possible, wear one pair of shoes that are a half size larger than your normal size.
  4. Walk two to three times a week during times other than mid-day heat.
  5. Remove your rings if they seem to be tight. Some pregnant women experience mild swelling of the hands and have to get their rings cut off.

DONT:

  1. Don't wear constrictive clothing, especially around the waist.
  2. Don't stand in one place for too long.
  3. Reduce, but don't eliminate, salt from your diet. Salt contains iodide, an essential element for the health of the fetus.
  4. Don't take any diuretic substances. Diuretics can cause the loss of electrolytes that could endanger the fetus.

If you follow all these tips, you may very well be able to ignore the heat and get back to enjoying the excitement of awaiting the arrival of your baby.