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Keeping your cool when you’re pregnant and hot weather is here

Keeping your cool when you’re pregnant and hot weather is here

No matter which pregnancy guidebook you’re reading or pregnancy app you use, it may not be enough to prepare you for the summer heat here at home. You’ll want to take special precautions this summer when you’re pregnant and hot weather is in full swing. Keep reading as our Touro women’s health specialists explain why.

Understanding the dangers of hot weather

We are no strangers to heat and humidity. Hot weather is simply a way of life for a large portion of the year. Heat waves that take the temps close to the 100s aren’t uncommon, either.

When it’s that hot outside, the risk of heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion, increases. That’s true for everyone, but older adults, young children and pregnant women are at a higher risk.

The changing shape and function of a pregnant woman’s body alters how the body handles heat. During pregnancy, the body works harder to cool down, since it’s responsible for both the mother and the developing baby.

When body temperature is elevated, it can cause many uncomfortable symptoms, including muscle cramps, skin flushing, warm skin, headaches and nausea, even if you don’t experience an actual heat-related illness.

It’s also easier for pregnant women to become dehydrated, which can add to the problem. When you don’t drink enough, the body is unable to cool itself down through the sweating process. Dehydration can also cause other health issues, bringing on Braxton-Hicks contractions, dizziness and even fainting.

It’s important to take precautions to keep yourself hydrated and at a normal temperature to protect yourself and your baby.

Tips for keeping your cool

Given the increased risk of heat-related problems for a pregnant woman, do you just need to stay indoors all summer long? Not unless you want to! There are other ways to beat the heat.

Focus on staying hydrated. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Instead, drink plenty of water throughout the day. You can also help boost your fluid intake by eating fruits and vegetables containing water, like berries, melon, cucumbers and tomatoes. Wondering whether you’re drinking enough? You want your urine to be pale yellow or clear.

Keep your exercise indoors. As long as your Touro OB/GYN says it’s OK, it’s healthy for women to stay physically active throughout pregnancy. If you prefer being outdoors , exercise in the early mornings or evenings and choose low-intensity activities to avoid overheating.

Watch the heat index. It’s hot nearly every day around here during the summer, but some days are hotter than others. Check the local weather or your weather app for the heat index, and plan to stay inside when those numbers are in the 90s. The heat index is an important measure as it takes into consideration not only the higher temperatures but also the humidity and when you will feel hotter.

Wear comfy clothes. Choose light, breathable clothing. Materials that are sweat wicking may be especially comfortable during the summer. Also, the looser the clothing, the better.

Take breaks. Consider those doctor’s orders! Plan a daily nap or at least frequent periods where you can sit in a cool, air-conditioned space. Even if you don’t go outdoors on a given day, the oppressive heat outside can still affect your body, causing you to feel more fatigued. Listen to your body and rest up.

In addition to these basic tips, pregnant women may want to take some other precautions during the summer. You’re more likely to burn in the sun during pregnancy, so seek shade during the hottest hours of the day and amp up your SPF. Your skin will thank you!

Wondering what to expect when you’re expecting? A Touro women’s health provider can guide you through pregnancy from conception through delivery.