Summer Pregnancy: Special Report

Summertime pregnancy can be uncomfortable as the temperature rises. As a mom-to-be, you want to enjoy this time in your life. That will require you to stay as cool, calm and collected as possible. The third trimester can be especially tough so you may have to get creative.

In this report you will learn all the fabulous ways that you can keep cool no matter where you are. Summertime is still about fun even if you are pregnant. Take precautions to keep mom and baby safe and the rest will take care of itself.

Also, be aware of some conditions that are more likely to affect you during a summer pregnancy. Being prepared can eliminate worry.

Tips

Eating Right

What is the one thing that many pregnant women love? It's cravings. You are literally eating for two but that doesn’t mean that you have to double your caloric intake to do that. After all, your baby may weigh at most ten pounds at birth. They won’t need a lot of calories.

In fact, your total caloric intake may increase only a few hundred calories. A safe weight gain is between 25 and 35 pounds. Many women gain more than that, but in the summer those extra pounds are more of a burden to carry around.

You can satisfy your cravings for summertime fare but keep it all in moderation. On vacation, enjoy the hamburgers, fries and delectable desserts. It’s okay as long as it doesn’t become the norm.

Watch out for heartburn. During the third trimester, the diaphragm is displaced upwards as the baby grows. Eating lots of greasy foods can irritate your digestive system, making you more uncomfortable. Also eat smaller meals instead of three large ones. This can also reduce heartburn episodes.

People like to eat lighter in the summertime. When you are pregnant, it can become downright unbearable to stand over a hot stove cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner. Instead, opt for foods that don’t need to be cooked. It’s okay to serve cold sandwiches for lunch. Don’t forget summer salads. They are quick to fix and full of vital nutrients that you need to eat for baby’s health.

At breakfast, try cold cereal with fruit or even a fruit smoothie. Both are refreshing and easy to fix - not only for you but also for other family members.

Avoid unnecessary sodium in your daily diet. Excess sodium can cause your body to retain more fluid and also lead to swelling in the hands and feet. You are already bloated enough without additional fluid retention to make your belly feel tight. Too much swelling can become painful.

Stay Hydrated

The body is mostly made of water. So, it’s important to keep the fluid levels high on the inside. In the summer months of pregnancy it will be even more crucial to prevent dehydration. Lean towards consuming eight glasses or more a day.

Your hormones are causing all sorts of changes in your body. This can affect the look and feel of your skin. Keep your body’s largest organ supple and full of moisture by drinking as much water as you can each day.

Because you are probably feeling like a human furnace on your best day, perspiration releases more water from the body. All of that needs to be replenished. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, add a drink mix packet to a bottle of water for a sweeter taste that you’ll enjoy better. Avoid caffeine when you can as it can elevate blood pressure and increase thirst.

Another way to increase your hydration is to eat fruit that contains a good portion of water. This includes watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon and berries. Buy fresh and freeze them for later use. A number of vegetables also increase your hydration. Eat celery and carrot sticks to add water to your diet.

One thing to remember: When you feel thirsty, you are already close to dehydration. For a pregnant woman, this can lead to preterm labor, premature contractions and swelling. Try to space out your water consumption so you are drinking all day long.

What to Wear

We are not talking about fashion here. Sure, pregnancy apparel has gotten more chic over the years but our objective is something a bit simpler. We want to keep you feeling comfortable and cool.

Ideally, when you are out and about in the summer months, choose fabrics that breathe. Cotton or linen is ideal. Natural fabrics allow air to circulate.

Choose light colors. They are less likely to absorb all of that heat from the sun to overheat your body on really warm days.

Avoid clothing that will hug your belly. That can get uncomfortable and rub the skin, irritating it. Sundresses or baby doll tops will accentuate your baby bump but also allow for ease of movement.

Shoes are an important part of your outfit. As your belly grows, balance may become a problem. You want to be sure that you are always on sure footing.

The shoe that you may think is the best to wear is actually the worst. Flat sandals or flip-flops provide no support for the feet. If you plan on walking anywhere, your feet will need more support.

Sandals are still appropriate but select those that have more arch support. Proper footwear takes pressure off of your lower back and can reduce swelling in the ankles. When breaking in new shoes, walk slowly until your body adjusts to the change in center of gravity.

Exercise

Exercise is crucial for the pregnant woman. Remember those cravings? Those extra calories over and above your daily needs will all turn to fat without some intervention. Exercise reduces the risk of gestational diabetes and other complications. There is also the benefit of not gaining too much weight by burning excess calories.

Just because the weather has heated up, you don’t have to give up your exercise regimen. Thinking of the temperature, consider dialing back your intensity. In the third trimester, you'll have given up high impact activities and any that depend on a high degree of balance. These activities introduce the danger of falls as you near your delivery date.

Use common sense. Adjust your exercise time to coincide with the early morning hours or late in the evening. Carry an ample supply of water with you to replenish what you lose through sweat.

Walking is still the best exercise. Getting some form of activity each day can keep the muscles in shape that you will be using to push during delivery. But, know your limits. If you are experiencing labored breathing or sweating profusely after a two-mile walk, slow your pace or shorten the distance.

Change activities. The coolest place to be during the summer (pregnant or not) is the swimming pool. Swimming has many benefits - not the least of which is that it is not hard on the joints. Your entire body gets a good cardio workout without losing hydration to sweat.

Water aerobics can also replace outdoor activities. It is easier to balance because the water is holding you in place. Stretching is also easier. The pool just may become your new best friend.

Time in the Sun

Summer wouldn’t be complete without a few days doing outdoor activities. Protect your skin by applying sunscreen before you go out. Choose an SPF of 50 or higher for maximum protection.

Skin is more sensitive when you are pregnant. Dark spots, called melasma, can appear at any time during pregnancy. Exposure to sunlight can increase their incidence. There is also the subject of burning. Skin burns more easily when pregnant, so take all precautions.

Stay in the shade as much as possible. You will still need the sunscreen but your core body temperature will stay lower while you enjoy time outside. Run any errands in the morning or the evening to stay on the cool side.

Carry a spray bottle of water to mist your skin whenever you feel your temperature creeping up. If you are in doubt about the humidity and heat index, stay indoors. There will be other days to spend time outside. You don’t want to become overcome by a heat-related illness.

Combine errands so that you hit all points during one trip. For example, if you need to pick up the kids and go to the grocery store, do the latter on your way to the daycare.

At Work

Many women work right up until their delivery date. As your pregnancy progresses, it may be harder to get comfortable in your work environment. Here are a few tips to help you prepare to stay cool in the workplace.

* Ergonomic support – Find a way to keep your feet elevated. This prevents swelling. Use back support and an ergonomic chair to alleviate pain and stay comfortable. When your shoes get tighter you may want to swap them for a comfy pair that breathe and allow extra room.

* Desk fan – It can get warm in an office building, especially if you are working under hot lights. A desk fan can provide circulating air to keep your temperature under control.

* Extra hydration – Keep water bottles on hand. You never know when you will feel thirsty. It can be laborious to keep getting up and walking to the water cooler for a cup of water. Now, hydration is at hand whenever you need it.

* Travel light – Weighing yourself down with purse, bags and other things only increases your body temperature. Minimize what you carry with you by combining only what you need into one bag. Too many bags can also throw your balance off.

* Bring your lunch – You can eat at your desk or in an air-conditioned break room. Carrying lunch minimizes the amount of time you have to spend outdoors during the work day.

At Home

This is the one place where you can do whatever you need to do to stay cool. Rest will keep you feeling comfortable. Prop your feet up and take a load off. Have a tall, cold glass of water.

Whenever you need time to take a break, get others to help you. Ask your husband, other family members or neighbors for their assistance with basic household chores. Your spouse may even offer to give you a massage to help improve your circulation. Keep a cool rag handy to wipe your brow or soothe the back of your neck.

Take cool showers frequently. You may feel overheated after washing dishes or cleaning the house. A dip under a cool stream can help lower the temperature. Do this as often as you need to.

If you don’t feel like cooking or cleaning, then don’t. We’ve already discussed eating cold foods and salads as a way to avoid fatigue and increase your nutrition.

Limit your social engagements. Pregnancy, summer and a busy schedule can be a recipe for disaster. If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to reschedule activities or eliminate them. Try to schedule activities for later in the evening when the weather is cooler.

Traveling

Travel can be hard on a pregnancy. However, research shows that traveling late in the pregnancy doesn’t necessarily increase risk of certain conditions. If you feel comfortable enough to travel then you can - as long as your doctor gives you clearance.

If you are traveling by car, make allowances for frequent bathroom breaks or stretching. Whenever you can, recline in your seat to get comfortable. Use the air conditioner on longer car trips for steady cooling. When driving around town you can roll the windows down for a little breeze.

Carry a toiletry bag on you. Stock it with items that can help you to stay cool in the heat. For constant perspiration, utilize cornstarch powder and deodorant to control sweating, heat rash and odor. Don’t forget a pack of baby wipes to wipe sweat. Just in case, carry an extra shirt should you need to change.