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Health & Pregnancy

Beat the Heat When You're Expecting

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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.

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