From swollen ankles to unexpected aches and pains, being pregnant isn’t always easy, especially during the summer months. Your body is constantly changing throughout pregnancy resulting in an increased body temperature, swelling in your hands, feet and joints and less sleep than normal. Add the summer sun and outdoor activities to those already uncomfortable symptoms and pregnancy can be down-right unbearable. Mom and Obstetrician Gynecologist, Kellen Patton, DO, shares tips to get comfortable and beat the heat this summer.
Keep your cool
During pregnancy you have an increased amount of blood in your body which can cause you to feel warmer than normal. Combined with the summer heat, regulating your internal thermostat is even more of a necessity.
- Stay hydrated. Hydration plays a role in everything from digestion to fighting fatigue. In addition to increasing your water intake, limit your consumption of foods and beverages that dehydrate your body including salt and caffeine to help minimize swelling and inflammation. Iodine is an essential nutrient for your growing baby, so be sure that you do not completely eliminate salt from your diet.
- Go swimming. Swimming is a great low-impact exercise that can also reduce your body temperature. Additionally, swimming may provide relief to aches and pains by taking pressure off your joints, lower back and feet.
- Refresh yourself throughout the day. Small things go a long way in providing relief as you move through your day. Try cooling off with a nutrient-packed smoothie or keeping a spray bottle on hand to spritz yourself with cool water for a midday refresher.
Take the best steps. Although flip flops and sandals are cooler options, wearing shoes that provide additional arch support will provide increased stability and help minimize foot pain. The combination of excess weight and pregnancy hormones can cause foot pain and are associated with flattened arches and swelling in your feet and ankles. Choose shoes that provide support for your arches and have room to stretch in case your feet swell.
Combine style and comfort. Feeling comfortable in your own skin isn’t always easy during pregnancy. When getting dressed each day, choose breathable, lightweight fabrics that stretch and wick away sweat to keep you cool. Opt for stylish silicone rings or wearing your rings on a necklace around your neck in case your fingers swell and you can’t get them off.
Protect your skin. During pregnancy, you skin is more susceptible to sun damage so it’s important that you apply sunscreen throughout the day. The natural pigments in your skin respond to hormonal changes and can easily darken in spots and patches on your face and chest when exposed to the sun. We recommend wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 daily, reapplying every two hours and immediately after swimming.
Wake up a little earlier. Earlier hours are cooler than midday, so mornings are a great time to run errands or complete any work that needs to be done outdoors. If you are able, arrange your day allowing you to be inside or doing low-impact activities when the day is at its warmest. Start your day off with exercise and prepare your meals before the summer sun kicks in.
Slow down for self-care. Pregnancy takes a toll on you mentally and physically so it is important to take the time to recharge and nourish yourself. Small things such as putting your feet up while reading a book, watching your favorite show or taking a quick shower to cool off can improve common symptoms of pregnancy and keep mental fatigue at bay. If you’re having trouble sleeping and are feeling physically exhausted, try taking a midday nap to get more sleep. Even 15-minutes of rest can boost your energy levels.
Set yourself up to enjoy a comfortable summer pregnancy. Making small changes to how you navigate your day and incorporating a few new tricks can help you keep your cool and stay healthy this summer. For more tips on women’s health, or to schedule an appointment with your obstetrician or gynecologist, please call 1.888.MY.DMG.DR (1.888.693.6437) or schedule an appointment online.