Beat the Heat This Summer While Pregnant
“As the summer heats up, it can be difficult to get comfortable during pregnancy. However, this does not mean you can't enjoy the sun,” says Angela H. Yu, MD of Premier Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Here are a few ways to beat the heat while enjoying the summer sun.
Make sure you are drinking plenty of water. All pregnant women should be drinking about 8 cups of water daily. When sweating is added in on a hot summer day, plan to drink extra and replace those electrolytes with sports drinks or juice. This will help prevent dehydration which can affect your body more quickly during pregnancy.
Unless your healthcare provider advises against it, regular physical exercise during pregnancy is recommended. Exercise improves and maintains physical fitness, helps with weight management, reduces the risk of gestational diabetes, and boosts your mood and energy. Make sure to start a level of exercise your body is accustomed to. Great low impact exercises to get you started include walking and swimming.
Go for a swim.
With the additional weight you are carrying during pregnancy, you have likely experienced back and joint pain. The increased buoyancy that your body experiences while swimming will help relieve pressure on your back and joints. Unlike other forms of exercise, swimming keeps you cool while working up a sweat.
Take advantage of the shade.
Shade can make the temperature feel 10-15 degrees cooler than direct sun exposure. In addition to making you feel cooler, this will help protect your skin. For the time you are enjoying the sun, make sure to wear wide brim hats and long loose clothing.
Protect your skin from the sun.
We all know that protecting our skin is important but pregnancy can make your skin more sensitive to the sun rays. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen that works as a physical blocker and contains an SPF greater than 30. Avoid those with oxybenzone as they have been linked to low birth weight. Don't forget to reapply that sunscreen reapply every 3 hours or more often if you are sweating or swimming.
Take a vacation.
Pregnancy shouldn't keep you from traveling during the summer break. As long as you have an uncomplicated pregnancy, it is safe to travel up until 36 weeks of pregnancy. If you will be sitting for long periods, make sure you get up to stretch your legs and move around every 1-2 hours. This will help with leg swelling and help prevent rare complications of a blood clot in your vein.
For those days when the heat is just too much, take advantage of the indoors and air conditioning. Overheating can be dangerous to both mother and baby. This doesn't mean you have to stay at home! Head to the movie theater or get your exercise in walking around the mall.
Don't let pregnancy keep you from enjoying the summer and the outdoors. Make sure to speak with your obstetrician if you are unsure of what activities are recommended for your pregnancy.
Last Updated: June 23, 2016