Beat the Heat When You're Expecting
Sweating for Two
Oh -- and if you haven't already, lose the pantyhose! "When
I was pregnant in the summer, I never wore them," Buery-Joyner says. "I
kept up my pedicure and wore nice sandals."
Now that you're dressed for cooler comfort, don't leave the
house without your water bottle. One trick Silber advises: put the full bottle
in the freezer, taking it out just before you leave the house, and let it melt
through the morning -- a constant source of icy water.
Limit your outdoor activities to the cooler parts of the day,
says Buery-Joyner. Take the kids to the park or do your gardening in the early
morning or early evening, and limit your exposure to the heat of the sun
between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. If you're exercising, try working out indoors where
it's air-conditioned. Mall-walking is popular among Silber's clients, and
swimming makes an excellent pregnancy exercise not just because it supports
your body, but because it cools you off.
Fortunately, there are some handy keep-cool gadgets to tote
with you to work or errands. Ice packs that slip into lunch bags are just a
start. Silber swears by personal mini-fans (some can spray a fine water mist),
and spray-can Evian water. Mavis Schorn, RN, CNM, a nurse-midwife with Women's
Specialists in Houston, where they know a thing or two about heat, suggests one
of the cooling bandannas sold by various athletic companies and outdoor
suppliers. "A doctor I know always used that cooling bandanna on her neck
in the operating room when she was pregnant. She tucked it in with her gown
over it, and it kept her temperature down."
What about at night? Staying cool while you sleep may seem
impossible. Air conditioning, an icy water bottle near the bed, and as few
nightclothes as possible are all your friends during summer pregnancies."
Some women even split up the rooms because they can't sleep next to their
partner -- he's too hot," says Schorn. "Anything touching her,
especially someone else's skin and body heat, is just too much and she can't
sleep." Consider the bathtub your private pool, and take cool dips when you
need to, even in the middle of the night.
Just because you've delivered the baby doesn't mean the sweat
will magically go away. Like post-baby weight, post-baby heat takes some time
to recede. "The sweating can continue up to six weeks after pregnancy,
because you still have the hormones in your body, the higher blood volume,
additional fluid, and additional fat storage," says Silber. "I was
still sweating after Zachary was born and I didn't know it was normal, but it
Originally published June 17, 2002.