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Drew: Beating the Summer Heat While Pregnant

By Samuetta Hill Drew

Beating the scorching summer heat is something we all strive to achieve. In our region of the country where August is typically the hottest month of the year, it’s important for all of us to practice cooling safety measures.

Implementation of safety cooling measures are even more important for those women who are pregnant because the summer heat is notoriously uncomfortable for pregnant women. These women run the unique risk of overheating which could increase the chances of a miscarriage during the first trimester, and dizziness, fainting and dehydration are real possibilities for women who are further along.

Their core body temperatures are already higher than normal. It is not uncommon for some pregnant women to experience a spike in their body temperature due to a combination of the increased amount of blood pumping through them, extra fluid in their body and hormonal changes. Where a slight spike is not uncommon, it’s essential for them not to allow their body to overheat, whether vacationing in a very warm climate or merely out and about.

This article will share possible ways to help prevent overheating while pregnant but it’s important to remember they should listen to their doctor first. The information will be provided in a two-part series.

Staying hydrated is very crucial to regulating one’s body temperature. The American Pregnancy Association recommends pregnant women drink 8-12 glasses of water daily and even more if she’s engaged in a very strenuous activity. An additional 8-ounce glass of water is recommended for every hour of activity. She should not wait until she feels thirsty. This means her body is already suffering from dehydration. She should drink water throughout the entire day. It is important to note caffeine makes the body feel even more dehydrated. Most doctors recommend pregnant woman refrain from consuming food items with caffeine.

When the body is hydrated it is better able to release heat primarily through sweat which cools the skin but sweat also allows the body to lose electrolytes as well. These electrolytes are a crucial element to hydration. Therefore, eating foods like pickles, olives, bananas, spinach and/or sweet potatoes is encouraged.
Swollen feet and hands should be taken care of because they are caused by the extra fluid in a woman’s body. Sandals fit swollen feet better. Therefore, she should take advantage of the summer heat by wearing sandals (one whole size larger). Due to the swelling she may need to remove her rings and place them in a secure location.

Pregnant women should minimize their salt intake. Excess salt helps the body to retain water. Pregnant women need to keep their feet up as much as possible.
Pregnancy alone creates an increased amount of discomfort any time of the year, but, the high temperatures of August will heighten it for pregnant women. Let’s help her Keep an Eye on Safety by practicing some of the cooling safety tips in this and the upcoming article.