Pregnant This Summer? Beat the Heat
Hot, humid -- and heavy with child. Pregnancy can make the summer seem hotter. But following a few simple guidelines can keep you cool.
Keep Cool continued...
Hyun-Joo Lee, MD, an ob-gyn at Albert Einstein Medical Center
in Philadelphia, has her own suggestions for keeping your cool while
- Avoid direct mid-day sun, because pregnant women are more prone to sunburn
than non-pregnant women.
- Drink one eight-ounce glass of water or electrolyte replacement liquid for
each hour you are outdoors in hot weather.
- Avoid vigorous outdoor activities during the hot hours of the day.
- Use a high SPF sunscreen. If you have fair skin, use SPF 30 or 45.
(Increased melanin production can lead to the "mask of pregnancy," so
make sure your time in the sun is limited and don't head out without sunscreen
or, better yet, sunblock.)
- Get indoors at the first sign of weakness, fatigue, dizziness,
lightheadedness, or excessive thirst. Lie down and drink some cool water or
electrolyte replacement liquid. If you don't feel better soon, call your
Another common problem in summer pregnancies is leg swelling --
called physiologic edema, Lee tells WebMD. "If the second half of pregnancy
occurs during the summer months, the degree of leg swelling can increase
Lee offers a list of dos and don'ts for women who experience
leg swelling while pregnant:
- Lie down for 30 to 60 minutes a day, either at the end of the workday or
- Keep your legs elevated while sleeping by placing a rolled-up towel or
blanket under your mattress at the foot of the bed.
- Wear comfortable shoes and, if possible, wear one pair of shoes that are a
half size larger than your normal size.
- Walk two to three times a week during times other than mid-day heat.
- Remove your rings if they seem to be tight. Some pregnant women experience
mild swelling of the hands and have to get their rings cut off.
- Don't wear constrictive clothing, especially around the waist.
- Don't stand in one place for too long.
- Reduce, but don't eliminate, salt from your diet. Salt contains iodide, an
essential element for the health of the fetus.
- Don't take any diuretic substances. Diuretics can cause the loss of
electrolytes that could endanger the fetus.
If you follow all these tips, says Lee, you may very well be
able to ignore the heat and get back to enjoying the excitement of awaiting the
arrival of your baby.