It's 90 degrees and I feel like I am melting.
Being pregnant can be the most rewarding, exciting time for a woman. During the summer, however, it can also be downright miserable!
As a midwife, I have the opportunity to see pregnant women every day. I love delivering babies and working with women to make their pregnancy healthy and safe. During the hot summer months, keeping cool while pregnant is important for both comfort and the health of you and baby.
Why am I so hot? Is this 'normal?'
Pregnant women have a higher body temperature.
Everyone suffers when the temperature goes up - but, when you are pregnant, you have an added reason to feel the heat. During pregnancy, extra blood flow, increased metabolism and additional pregnancy hormones can actually cause an increase in body temperature for the mom-to-be.
A pregnant woman's body temperature is an average of 1 to 1 and one-half degrees higher than normal! That is before you add in the heat from exertion or air temperatures.
Increased body temperature = increased heat-induced risks
Heat-related illness can cause harm to you and baby
These changes in your body temperature put you at a higher risk for heat exhaustion, heat stroke and dehydration. These are serious dangers to your health and the health of your baby - so be aware of the signs of these conditions:
High body temperature (above 103º F)
Share these signs with your loved ones and others around you.
If you believe you are experiencing these symptoms, you should seek medical attention.
Water is important for your summer health while pregnant
Drink it, wear it, play in it!
During the hot summer months, keep your focus on water! Water can help you stay cool and hydrated. Here are a few tips to keep your cool:
- Drink 6 - 8 glasses of water each day.
- No soda pop, tea or coffee - these actually pull water from your body!
- Eat fruits high in water content - like watermelon.
- Avoid high-sodium foods to keep swelling down.
Keeping your temperature down:
- If the heat index is above 90ºF stay indoors.
- Try a misting fan or a cool cloth to provide moisture and lower your skin temperature.
- Swimming can be a low-impact way to exercise.
- You have "belly bouyancy" and the weight of your baby is supported by the water.
- Consult your midwife or obstetrician if you plan to exercise more strenuously than before you were pregnant.
A word about heat- and dehydration-induced contractions
Dehydration can cause contractions
Heat and dehydration can cause your uterus to contract. You may feel 'false labor' contractions due to this. If you experience these, drink water.
If you continue to feel unwell, or you experience more than 5 contractions during an hour - call your midwife or obstetrician.
Tips for a cool and healthy summer
Think cool during the heat - these tips may help.
We want you and baby to be cool and healthy. Here are a few additional tips to keep you comfortable:
- Wear light color clothing which reflects the sun - instead of absorbing its heat.
- Choose breathable fabrics with a loose fit.
- Wear sun protection.
- Do most chores in the morning, before the temperatures increase.
- Eat cool foods like salad or cold soups. Popsicles are also a cold treat!
Take care of you! Ask for help with physical chores. Take naps. Put your feet up. Rest!
We want you to have a safe and healthy pregnancy.