Summertime Pregnancy Survival Guide
We all know pregnancy is a beautiful thing…but carrying a baby in the summer? Still beautiful, just a little hotter, sweatier and more swollen. Don’t fret though, it’s easier than you think to stay cool and comfortable when pregnant during the summer months.
Stay hydrated. Few things are more important to a mom-to-be than drinking plenty of water. “Dehydration can worsen pregnancy aches like swelling,” said Marty Cox, registered nurse and service line director for women’s health at Indiana University Health West Hospital. “It can even trigger contractions and increase the risk of preterm labor.” While regular H2O is best, you can vary your liquid intake with fruit-infused water, caffeine-free herbal iced tea, homemade smoothies and sports drinks.
Choose safe footwear. While your favorite pair of flip-flops might seem like a great summer go-to, it’s better to invest in something with a little more arch support. If swelling becomes more noticeable than usual, remember to sit or lie down and elevate your feet.
Exercise. It’s still possible to maintain fitness goals and enjoy some sun while pregnant. Activities like swimming, walking and yoga are low impact and fun to do outside. Try to work outdoor activities into mornings and evenings when temperatures are cooler. Before exercising, talk with your doctor about a fitness plan that’s right for you.
Use sunscreen. Some women are more susceptible to sunburns while pregnant. “I usually give this advice to pregnant women… summer heat in small doses is fine, but if you wouldn’t let your newborn be in the sun all day, it’s probably not a good idea to do while pregnant either,” said Karla Loken, DO, a women’s health laborist at IU Health West Hospital.
Avoid excess sodium. Swelling often gets worse in the summer months, and excess sodium can make you feel even more uncomfortable. Try to avoid the salt shaker and pre-packaged foods, and drink plenty of water to help your body rid itself of excess fluid.
Heat exhaustion, dehydration, sunburns and swelling are all common with summer pregnancies, but how do you know if it’s time to see a doctor?
“Headaches that won’t go away, preterm contractions that become regular and increased feelings of dizziness are all signs you should be seen and evaluated,” said Dr. Loken. “Even if the symptom seems insignificant, it’s always better to check with a doctor.”
Even with all the right information, it’s normal to still have questions and concerns. When those moments arise, IU Health West Hospital will provide the resources needed to ease your mind. The highly-skilled team of caregivers, including around-the-clock obstetric and pediatric hospitalists and dedicated anesthesiologists, will be there to walk you through the experience. IU Health West Hospital offers a full range of birthing options and childbirth education classes to help guide you on your journey from labor to delivery to motherhood.