Surviving the Summer Heat in Pregnancy

By: Rupal Hospital


Even healthy people can get sick because of hot weather. However, the pregnant woman is at higher risk, and need to be extra careful in summer. When itís hot and humid and you are pregnant, pregnancy can be uncomfortable. Heat and humidity, while unpleasant for most of the people, it takes a greater toll on pregnant women.

Being pregnant in the summer months poses some unique challenges for expectant mothers. Pregnancies are already uncomfortable. Add in the summer heat and they're even worse. Sweltering heat during the summer months makes moms-to-be feel like they're staggering to the finish line during the last mile of their pregnancy instead of happily anticipating a bundle of joy.

The usual pregnancy aches and pains aside, summer heat can pose some health hazards to expectant mothers who may overlook the fact that sun and heat exposure affects the body differently with a baby on the way.

Expectant mothers cannot forget that the sun and heat take a particular toll during pregnancy. A short heat hike that seems simple or even a night activity in prolonged heat can leave a mom-to-be feeling drained. It's important to listen to your body and think about the way the heat may be affecting you.

You must learn to beat the heat this summer and enjoy healthy pregnancy. The following points must be kept in mind for healthy pregnancy in this burning heat.

Dehydration: Summer heat plays an important component in dehydration, a condition which can quickly escalate into a more serious problem of heat stroke. Keep hydrated. Pregnant women are especially susceptible to dehydration. To avoid dehydration don't wait until you're thirsty to drink up, by then you're already water-depleted. Drinking eight glasses of water a day is important for several reasons. Water helps keep the body cool and energy levels high. It also can help reduce confusion due to increased contractions which creates worry and unnecessary trips to the hospital. Eat snacks that provide hydration such as melons and cucumbers. Avoid soft drinks particularly caffeinated ones as they will not quench thirst and can rob your body of needed water. Also being dehydrated can lead to urinary tract infections, a common ailment of pregnancy. Water also is an essential element to help maintain blood pressure which can increase an expectant motherís dizziness if low. And water maintains correct physiology for a growing fetus. Always carry a water bottle while travelling.

Sunburn: If it feels like your skin is turning pink in the sun faster than it used to, it might be because it is. Pregnancy hormones cause the skin to become more sensitive, which makes some people more susceptible to quicker and more painful sunburn while pregnant. UV exposure during pregnancy can deplete the body's supply of folic acid óan important vitamin for fetal development. The best way to avoid sunburn problems while pregnant is to take the same precautions while not pregnant: Wear sunscreen, wear a hat and other protective clothing, be aware of the amount of time you spend in direct sunlight, and avoid the sun at peak hours in the day, when its rays can be the most punishing. Sunscreen can help prevent or minimize such issues, plus it's the best policy pregnant or not for safe skin.

Edema: Edema, or mild swelling, is common during pregnancy. The phenomenon can unfortunately become worse during a sizzling summer, when rising temperatures cause increased fluid retention which results in puffy feet and ankles for many pregnant women. Lying on one's left side, elevating the legs, and wearing support hose and comfortable shoes may help to relieve swelling. You should avoid prolonged sitting and standing and when sitting elevate legs if possible. While episodes of swelling may seem like the norm for many during pregnancy, it's important to notify your physician about sudden swelling, especially in the hands and face, especially if accompanied by rapid weight gain. In these cases, edema can be a sign of preeclampsia, a condition marked by high blood pressure, which can lead to seizures.

If you perspire heavily because of the heat, make sure you drink plenty of fluids. Water's good, but so are orange juice, milk, and sports drinks, which replace electrolytes that are being sweated away.

We all know pregnant women feel hotter in the summer months because they're carrying around all that extra weight, but as it turns out, their body temperatures are also slightly higher, which makes things even worse. This puts them at risk for heat exhaustion, because it takes twice the mom's energy for her body to cool off not just her, but her baby as well. And heat exhaustion, characterized by muscle cramps, excessive sweating, weakness, dizziness, and headaches, to name a few symptoms, can lead to heat stroke, which is very detrimental to the mother's health and that of her baby. It can even lead to pre-term labor or death. Hence it is utmost important to take proper precautions so that overheating does not happen during pregnancy.
Following are the tips where pregnant women can stay cool, comfortable, and safe in the summer months.

1) Drink plenty of water. Itís advised to drink water from time to time since we become pregnant. But it's even more important in warmer temperatures, when you're perspiring more and losing electrolytes. Make sure to drink water at a steady pace throughout the day, because if you are thirsty, you're already dehydrated. If your home is too hot, perhaps due to insufficient AC, then head out to the mall, a movie or even in an air conditioned car in the heat of the day. You need to keep an eye on your body temp, as too high and fetal damage can occur particularly in the early weeks.

2) Swim. Not only does swimming cool you off, it helps to take some of the weight off your sciatic nerve. Just make sure to wear extra sun block, as pregnant women are more susceptible to sunburn.

3) Wear breathable fabrics so you won't sweat; this will keep you cooler and help prevent heat rash that can develop under your breasts and abdomen, a common problem for pregnant women. Stick to cotton and skip the polyester.

4) Carry a water-filled squirt bottle so that you can mist yourself when you start to feel warm.

5) Exercise at the cooler times of day and avoid exercising to the point overheating.

6) Stay indoors. Remaining inside in the air conditioning on super-hot days is the best way to protect you and your baby. And if you must venture out of the house, try and avoid leaving the house during the hottest hours of the day.

7) Shower often. You may wind up feeling the heat even indoors, so taking multiple showers throughout the day will help keep your temperature cooler.

8) Eat smaller, lighter meals. Eating smaller, more frequent meals will keep your metabolism steady. If you gorge on larger portions, your metabolism has to work harder and generates more heat in your body which may affect you and your baby.

9) Get some rest. Sometimes there's no better way to beat the heat than taking a nap in a cool, dark room. This is one of the last times you can nap without interruptions whenever you please anyway, so you might as well go for it and stay comfortable in the process.

10) Don't over exert yourself. Sure, you want to stay in shape during your pregnancy, but working out in the middle of a heat wave isn't worth the risk. Now is the time to take it easy and not do anything that will make you sweat any more than you already are and dehydrate you.

11) Get indoors at the first sign of weakness, fatigue, dizziness, light headedness, or excessive thirst. Lie down and drink some cool water or electrolyte replacement liquid. If you don't feel better soon, call your doctor.

If you follow all these tips, you may very well be able to ignore the heat and get back to enjoying the excitement of awaiting the arrival of your baby. Summer can be a great time of year to get out and enjoy your pregnancy. There are many activities that can still be done during pregnancy, and with a few simple precautions, there is no reason you shouldn't enjoy summer. Remember to watch out for warning signs of dehydration, problematic swelling, or other signs that you need to call your practitioner.

Rupal Hospital for Women is a premiere leader in women's healthcare since 45 long years. The doctors at Rupal Hospital are committed to provide highest quality of healthcare to its patients in all stages of their lives from pregnancy to menopause. We are one stop place for all gynaec problems and our expertise lies in providing affordable Laparoscopic surgeries and difficult cases of infertility like IVF, ICSI, IUI, TESA/MESA, Egg, Sperm and embryo freezing, Egg /sperm/Embryo Donation, Surrogacy. We also provide to our patients information regarding pre care and post care of pregnancy related issues. Dr. Malti Shah believes that preventive interventions are equally important as curative medicine, and prevention always requires awareness and educations. She monitors the patients and gives them advise and educates them on changing seasons and its implications from time to time on their health and babyís health.

You can contact the team of doctors in Rupal Hospital at http://www.rupalhospital.com or at http://www.rupalhospital.com/team.html

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Rupal Hospital for Womenís is a premiere leader in women's healthcare since 45 long years. We are committed to providing women with the highest quality and most advanced healthcare throughout all stages of their lives, from adolescence through menopause. Rupal Hospital understands and meets all the health needs of a woman and fosters the understanding of how advanced health care can improve the lives of women and their families. www.rupalhospital.com

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