Pregnant this summer? Congratulations! If you feel like the heat is getting to you more than usual this year, it’s not your imagination. During pregnancy, a woman’s body has 50 percent more blood than usual. Your blood vessels dilate slightly to handle the increased volume, which brings blood closer to the surface and makes your whole body feel warmer. Add any pregnancy weight gain and the summertime heat, and it’s no wonder you have a hard time getting cool and comfortable!
You are doing amazing work carrying that little one, especially during these hot summer days, and you should be proud of your endurance right now. You might find that you don’t have as much energy as usual, and that’s okay. This is just a season, and before too long, you’ll find yourself feeling back to normal. In the meantime, try these 5 tips to beat the heat during the dog days of summer.
It’s always important to stay well hydrated during hot weather, but especially when you’re pregnant: Dehydration can cause contractions before your body is ready to give birth. Yet you don’t want to chug water all day and nothing else, as too much water can upset the normal balance of electrolytes in your body.
Try mixing a 1/4 cup of a sports drink or some juice into a glass of water, or add some electrolyte powder. Natural coconut water, which many stores now carry, also has electrolytes. If you’ve got fruit that’s getting soft in the fridge, squeeze or muddle it and strain into club soda for a delicious and refreshing mocktail.
2Stay close to air conditioning or fans
You’re already feeling some degree of heat intolerance, so go easy on yourself and stick to cool places, whether that means staying in an air-conditioned room or cranking up a box fan next to your bed at night. All that increased blood flow makes you sweat more than usual, so you also may want to have non-toxic deodorants on hand to keep you comfortable (and you’ll still need it postpartum; many new moms experience night sweats!).
3Avoid long periods of standing or sitting
Swollen feet and ankles are a common pregnancy symptom, and the heat makes it worse. Try to move around frequently throughout the day instead of sitting for too long, and if you do have to sit for a while, elevate your feet to keep pressure off them. Try sleeping on your side, and if you can stand it in the warm weather, you may even want to use maternity support stockings or compression socks to help keep swelling down.
4Go ahead and take a nap
The heat, the extra blood flow, and all the work your body is doing to grow your baby are exhausting! If you’ve got some down time after lunch, or during your toddler’s nap, stretch out for some well-deserved shut-eye.
5Do outdoor activities in morning and evening
If you’ve got to get outside, whether to water your garden, run errands, or take your kids out to play, stick to going out in the morning and evening instead of the hottest part of the day. If you do feel yourself getting overheated, head back inside and put a cold, wet washcloth on your forehead for a quick cool-down.
6Take a cool bath
When all else fails, hop in the tub for a refreshingly cool bath. It feels great to be “weightless” in the water for a little while, and a bath can help lower your body temperature to keep you and baby comfortable
You can do this! Hang in there! In just a few more weeks, you’ll be holding your baby, and all the discomfort will have been worth it. In the meantime, keep taking care of yourself, and enjoy some extra rest if you can!
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