By Carolina Boyd
Beating the summer heat is tough for all of us but it is difficult, and in some cases dangerous, for pregnant women. Pregnancy causes a woman’s body temperature to run slightly higher than normal, so the Texas heat is sure to make her feel extra uncomfortable. Overheating can lead to miscarriage during the first trimester. Plus, dizziness, fainting and dehydration are always a possibility. Here are some ways to help ease pregnancy related hot-weather issues.
Staying hydrated during pregnancy is important due to the increased demands on your body. Pregnant women need to drink extra water because even being slightly dehydrated can cause problems like preterm labor. It is recommended that expecting moms drink between 8 and 10 cups of liquids daily, preferably water or juice. They should also drink an extra 8 ounces for every hour spent in the heat.
Swelling (especially in the legs, feet and hands) is common during pregnancy. Depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy, the degree of leg swelling can increase significantly. It’s a good idea to lie down between 30-to-60 minutes a day if you can with your feet propped up. Also, try to cut back on the salt intake.
Summer time is no time to layer your maternity wear. Instead dress in lightweight and breathable clothing. Go for loose, light-colored clothes that keep you from overheating and allow you to sweat, especially under your breasts, where heat rashes tend to occur.
A woman’s skin is more sensitive during pregnancy. That’s because cells that produce pigment are in overdrive and can make the skin, especially on the face, more susceptible to discoloration and brown spots. Expecting moms should protect their skin by using a sunscreen with at least an SPF 30 that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
Just because you are pregnant doesn’t mean you are trapped at home, but staying close to air conditioning to avoid overheating is a good idea. Temperatures usually peak between 3pm and 5pm during summer, so try to avoid going outdoors during these extra warm times of day. Reliant, in collaboration with the City of Houston, has opened 11 Beat the Heat centers from June through September, which could also help some pregnant women on those extreme temperature days.
Regardless of the temperature, there are warning signs to look out for if you are pregnant. Those include: contractions, vaginal bleeding, sharp and prolonged stomach pain, continuous vomiting and intense pelvic pressure. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
Legacy Community Health offers a wide-variety of OB/GYN and maternity services at our clinics across Southeast Texas. Click here to learn more.