By Samuetta Hill Drew
Pregnancy and extreme heat equal uncomfortable conditions for pregnant women. Last week’s article reviewed some cooling tips to help pregnant women remain safe from the sizzling August heat in our region. This final article in this two-part series will outline some additional cooling safety measures especially beneficial to pregnant women, but could be used by any of us.
When possible, use hibernation at home as a technique when the temperatures are extremely high. If it’s not necessary for you to leave your home during days with very high temperatures, then stay inside, prop your feet up, relax or even consider taking a nap. When you’re asleep your body temperature lowers.
If you are not able to leisurely hibernate at home, be aware that trips between the outdoor heat and air conditioning, can force the body to continuously work extra harder to adjust to the rise and fall of the different temperatures. A safety cooling recommendation to this is wearing loose, light and breathable clothing. Loosely fitted clothing speeds up the evaporation of sweat allowing the skin to cool quicker. Lighter colored linen clothing is also cooling because lighter colors absorb less heat, and linen is one the most breathable fabrics.
Cool cotton underwear should be considered as well. In fact, some expecting mothers enjoy the comfort of wearing men’s boxer shorts during their pregnancy.
Taking cool showers is also recommended. Avoid ice-cold baths since extreme cold constricts the blood vessels and sends signals to the body to retain heat. This is the reasoning why pregnant women should also avoid ice-cooled drinks or compresses. It’s better to take a cooling shower before bed. It’s both relaxing and cooling.
Choosing to drink cooler drinks and eat cooler foods versus hot tea or soup is another cooling safety measure. Be creative by making homemade popsicles or frozen snack treats. Look up a recipe for popsicles made from yogurt and your favorite fruits. If you are lactose intolerant, then opt to freeze grapes, watermelon slices or other fruits. These are tasty and cooling alternatives to your traditional warm/hot food or drink.
For those expectant mothers whose lifestyles include a regular exercise routine, consideration for water exercises should be considered. Strenuous exercises in hot weather should be avoided (check with your physician first). Working out in water is preferable because it offers body cooling and toning. It also helps to energize the body. Check your local listing for aqua-natal exercise classes.
Keeping an Eye on Safety during blistering August heat is a concern for both the expecting mother and her unborn child, so review and follow these cooling safety tips from both articles while consulting with your doctor.