Warm Weather Tips for Pregnant Women

Pregnant woman on beach

While many people look forward to the barbeques, beach days, and heat of the summer, pregnant women often struggle during the summer months due to the increased heat and humidity. At Capital Women’s Care, we recognize the process of keeping you and your unborn child healthy, so we have built a list of ways for pregnant women to take care of themselves during the hottest months of the year.

1. Stay hydrated

Dehydration is one of the biggest health concerns for pregnant women during the summer months. Dehydration leads to serious symptoms and side effects, such as dizziness, fainting, uterine contractions, low blood pressure, and low blood volume. Physicians recommend that pregnant women drink 10-12 glasses of fluids per day. In addition to water, doctors recommend other liquids that will replenish electrolytes for the mother and child like sports drinks (preferably those with lower sugar content), milk, or orange juice. Pregnant women should also limit or avoid diuretics (like coffee) that may cause a loss of electrolytes.

2. Avoid direct sunlight

Because of increased production of melanin, pregnant women are more prone to sunburn. If you have to be out in the sun, even for a short amount of time, wear at least a 30 SPF sunblock. A wide-brimmed hat can also help to keep the sun off of your face. Pregnant women often develop darker moles, freckles, and spots on their skin as well as chloasma, also known as “the mask of pregnancy”. These conditions can be worsened by sun exposure, so doctors recommend that pregnant women avoid direct sunlight for a prolonged amount of time as much as possible.

3. Take a Walk

Walking is a great, low-impact exercise for pregnant women. Unless your doctor has warned you otherwise, taking a walk is encouraged for pregnant women at all stages. Make sure you have a comfortable pair of walking shoes and a water bottle. Try walking during the cooler parts of the day (early morning or evening) to avoid any risk of overheating. You should always ask a doctor before you start any exercise routine.

4. Cool down!

When you are pregnant, your body temperature is naturally elevated, making the heat of the summer unbearable. Avoid prolonged periods outside as much as possible, especially if the heat index is over 90. Instead, stick to cool, air-conditioned spaces. If you need an extra cool down, try these tips:

  • Carry a water-filled spray bottle with you for those moments when you need a little refreshment.
  • Place a cool, wet washcloth on your neck for a cool down.
  • Hit the swimming pool! The water will not only refresh you, but the weightlessness of the environment will relieve pressure on your back and legs.
  • Carry an electric or paper fan with you for the times you need a breeze.
  • Take a lukewarm shower. Doctors recommend you avoid cold showers, because a sudden chill will cause your body to generate more heat.
  • Adjust your wardrobe to include more breathable material like cotton or athletic “dry-wicking” material. Switching from snug clothing to looser clothing will keep you cool and decrease your chance of developing heat rashes.

5. Take care of your nutritional needs

Most pregnant women know that diet is a crucial part of pregnancy health. Continue to make sure that you are eating lean meats, whole grains, and non-saturated fats. Summer brings the opportunity to include a variety of fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables. Check your nearby farmer’s market or grocery store for local produce you can incorporate into your diet. Don’t forget, it’s important to maintain your recommended dosage of folic acid (400mg), typically found in leafy greens and oranges. If you aren’t getting enough folic acid from your diet, talk to your doctor about the right prenatal vitamin or supplement. 

6. Alleviate swelling

If you struggle with swelling in your legs, hands, or feet, there are some actions you can take to alleviate it. If you are already experiencing swelling, do not try to “power through.” For example, if your hands are swelling up constantly, take off your rings. If your feet seem to swell often, consider purchasing a new pair that is half a size up. During the day or in the evening, lie down for 30 to 60 minutes. While you are lying down or sleeping at night, try to keep your feet slightly elevated by placing a rolled-up blanket, towel, or pillow under the end of your mattress. If swelling persists, you should see a doctor, as it may be a sign of an underlying problem that could affect your pregnancy.

Is the threat of summer heat a concern for you? Schedule a prenatal or OBGYN appointment this summer. Give the team at Capital Women’s Care a call to speak to a professional and learn more about our services and how we can help you beat the heat.

Our Mission

The providers of Capital Women's Care seek the highest quality medical and ethical standard in an environment that nurtures the spirit of caring for every woman.

 

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