Soon after the “Congratulations!” and “When are you due?” the “Oh, you’re going to be ‘really’ pregnant in the heat” comments come in for those who share the news they are due in June, July, August or September. Yes, it is something expectant mothers have thought about also – and for good reason. Being pregnant any time of the year can be strenuous. Pregnant in your third trimester in the summer, however, brings its own set of concerns – especially in regard to staying hydrated and cool.
When you first become pregnant, a slight rise in basal body temperature is often one of the first signs of pregnancy. As your body releases progesterone throughout the pregnancy, your average temperature will remain about one degree above normal. Metabolic changes during pregnancy can also cause your temperature to rise slightly. Though this may seem like a small change, it really makes a difference in our hot, muggy Oklahoma summers.
Pregnant women are also more susceptible to hyperthermia, or overheating. Hyperthermia is of concern for mom and baby during pregnancy as this increase in mother’s core temperature can not only harm baby’s development, but can also lead to dehydration for the mother. Dehydration can lead to a loss in blood supply to the baby, as well as increase the risk of preterm contractions.
To stay cool and hydrated during summer months, expectant mothers should follow these tips:
Drink water throughout the day. You should aim for about 64 ounces of water each day. Keep a glass or bottle of water near you throughout the day and sip continuously. If you wait until you feel thirsty, your body is already showing signs of dehydration.
Limit exposure to heat. Stay inside as much as you can during the hot summer months. If you like to take walks or enjoy some pool time, it is best to do so either in the morning or evening and avoid the heat of the day – noon until 6:00 p.m.
Wear breathable clothing. Loose, light colored clothing will help keep you cooler throughout the day. Cotton fabric is best.
Regulate body temperature with multiple showers. If you are finding you are having a hard time staying cool, even when indoors, take a few breaks for a nice shower to cool you off.
Cut back on exercise. Earlier in your pregnancy, you may have been keeping up with your regular exercise routine just fine. Now that you are further into your pregnancy and the heat is on, cut back on the duration and intensity of exercise. Walking, swimming and prenatal yoga are great ways to stay active, without overexerting your body.
Eat more, smaller meals. You may already be adjusting to “less room” to digest a big meal. Eating smaller meals more times throughout the day, also helps regulate your metabolism and body temperature better than sitting down for a big meal. Keep snacks like almonds or baby carrots on hand to help from getting too hungry.
Rest. Not only for your body temperature, but also for alleviating other late-pregnancy symptoms such as body aches and varicose veins, taking time to rest for naps is a good way to stay cool this summer.
Although it is common to feel hot during pregnancy in the summer, a temperature of more than 101 degrees should be reported to a health care provider, as it may be a sign of an infection and harmful to mom and baby.