Cool Pregnancy

water.jpgToday, Carole Arsenault of Newborn Nurses offers tips to stay cool during summer pregnancy:

During pregnancy a woman’s body temperature increases, making her much more intolerant of the hot summer weather. And it doesn’t have to be a 90-degree heat wave for a pregnant woman to become uncomfortable.

Particularly during the hot weather – when you lose a lot of fluid while perspiring - expecting moms should be careful about dehydration. Thirst is a basic, early sign of dehydration, while later signs include dizziness, lightheadedness, and possible uterine cramping. Note that dehydration decreases blood volume, which in turn could increase the concentration of oxytocin in the body; this increase can cause uterine cramping.

It’s also important to note that the edema (extra fluid) in your body during pregnancy does not keep you and your baby hydrated. Edema, or swelling, moves fluid out of the cells to the surrounding tissue, where it is needed. This is what causes the swollen, puffy look of pregnancy. Drinking extra fluids will help hydrate cells and flush out this extra fluid.

Here are some ways to beat the heat and stay cool during pregnancy:

  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated; water, sports drinks, juices, and fruit smoothies are all very good at quenching thirst.

  • Instead of exercising outside, try walking through a cool mall instead.

  • Movies or library visits offer air-conditioned retreats, while allowing you to relax off your feet.

  • Pools and water help decrease body temperature. Swimming in the ocean is also fine; just be careful of big waves.

  • Cool showers or a bath can be just as refreshing as a dip in a pool.

  • Freeze wet washcloths and take them with you in a small cooler when you go out. Rub over your arms, face, and neck for cool relief.

  • Choose breathable, natural fabrics instead of nylon, polyester, and spandex. Choose light colors over dark colors. Wear comfortable shoes.

  • Avoid eating heavy meals; instead, consume light, low salt, smaller meals more frequently.

    And once baby arrives, keep in mind that delivery does not mean that heat intolerance will suddenly go away. Maternal hormones, increased blood volume, and additional body fluids will continue to make you sensitive to the heat for approximately 6 weeks postpartum.

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