10 Tips for a Safe Pregnancy In Summer

Every year, when Summer heats up (and the smog rolls in, at least in Atlanta) “sensitive populations” need to be careful. That includes pregnant moms. 

Getting too hot or becoming dehydrated are both dangerous conditions for your baby. Being dehydrated can cause you to have contractions, reduce your baby’s amniotic fluid, or even make you go into labor. So being aware and safe when it is hot is important.

10 Tips for a Healthy and Enjoyable Summer

  1. Drink a LOT of water and other hydrating beverages like juice and non-caffeinated teas to help replenish your electrolytes. Try for an 8-ounce glass of water each hour, or more if you are exercising.
  2. Alternate water and low-sugar electrolyte drinks. When you are sweating, your body loses electrolytes which need to be replenished. Just drinking water doesn’t do this, but just having electrolyte drinks is not great either, especially if the electrolyte drinks are sugared. The liquid sugar can wreak havoc with your blood sugar levels.
  3. Avoid diuretic beverages like alcohol and coffee. These cause your body to get rid of more water than is in the drink, resulting in an increased risk of dehydration.
  4. Exercise indoors in air conditioning if possible, or exercise outdoors in the early morning while it is still cooler.
  5. Stay indoors during hottest part of the day in air conditioning or a cool basement, especially if the temperature reaches over 90 degrees. Look for “cooling centers” or hang out at a friend’s house if you do not have either of these available. If you plan to be outdoors, wading or standing in a pool with a hat on, using a battery-powered misting fan, or using a cooling cloth on your neck can help keep your core body temperature down.

Dehydration Danger Signs

“Early warning signs of dehydration include dark-colored urine, frequent urination of very small amounts, and dry skin. More serious dehydration can result in fatigue, fever, confusion, and more. If you notice any mild symptoms, drink more hydrating beverages. If symptoms are severe, you may not be able to drink, but may be able to suck on a popsicle or ice chips/cube. If you experience severe dehydration symptoms, call your birth attendant or 911 right away.”

When Outside:
    1. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Sunburn is never any fun, and can feel worse during pregnancy. Getting enough sun is important for vitamin D production, but a burn can develop quickly with the intense summer sun, especially as you get closer to the equator. Apply plenty of a broad-spectrum sunscreen if you plan to be outside longer than 10 minutes, especially between the hours of 10 am and 6 pm.
    2. Keep the sun off your head. Stay in the shade or use a hat to shield your head, face and neck from the sun. This makes the heat less intense.
    3. Use a misting fan. They sell these cool (pun intended!) small battery-operated misting fans that are easy to carry with you. If you are outside for awhile, bring one and spritz yourself every 10 minutes or so to help you stay cooler.
    4. Have someone with you who can watch for signs of heat exhaustion & heat stroke. People who are developing heat illnesses often do not realize anything is wrong. Symptoms include: heavy sweating (sweating may stop eventually if the person is not cooled off), fatigue, headache, pale, clammy skin, thirst (may be extreme), rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, nausea or vomiting, muscle  cramps, and/or mild fever. If you or someone else develops symptoms of heat exhaustion, get them to the coolest area possible, give them a drink of cool water or sports drink, and get them cooled off right away.
    5. Pay attention to contractions. If you notice contractions, immediately drink 1 liter (about four 8-ounce glasses) of water or electrolyte drink and call your doctor or midwife.

Pre-labor Contractions in the Summer?

“If you notice contractions (pains in your abdomen), immediately drink 1 liter (about four 8-ounce glasses) of water or electrolyte drink and call your doctor or midwife.”

Summer can be an enjoyable time during pregnancy (swimming is wonderful). Leave me a comment about how you will be enjoying your summer while pregnant. I would love to know!  Just take that little bit of extra care to stay safe, and enjoy!

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