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Summer Pregnancy Survival Guide

Tips to beat the heat

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.

Health Topics:

  • To be an ally and partner in women's care with focus on overall well being, in addition to obstetrics and gynecology.