Summer is in full swing, and the high-heat temps are showing us that the warmth of the season is here to stay. While this time of year presents many opportunities for enjoying the outdoors, that may not be the safest choice for pregnant women. If you are expecting, take note of these symptoms and follow our tips so you can be sure to stay safe in the summer swelter.
Did You Know?
Did you know that pregnancy makes you more vulnerable to extreme heat? When you are expecting, your risks of overheating increase leaving you at potential risk of heat cramps, heat exhaustion, dehydration, and even heat stroke. How do you know if you are experiencing any of these concerns?
Heat Cramps - Unpleasant and uncontrolled muscle spasms, usually in the arms, calves, and stomach
Heat Exhaustion - Fatigue, nausea, muscle cramps, headache, fast breathing & pulse, elevated body temperature
Dehydration - Dry mouth & throat, headache, less urination, dark-colored urine, lack of sweat even in hot temperatures, feeling lightheaded & dizzy, confusion, racing heart rate
Heat Stroke - Body temperature 104F+, confusion, delirium, slurred speech, nausea, vomiting, irritability, rapid breathing, racing heart rate
Tips to Treat
- Increase fluids! - It is important to increase your fluid intake while pregnant but factor in high heat, and you’re really going to need to drink, drink, drink! In some instances, it may even be appropriate to consume an electrolyte-enhanced beverage such as Gatorade or Pedialyte
- Skip the Sun – stay indoors, especially between the hours of 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM when the temperatures are usually highest
- Wear Light Clothing – wear light fabrics such as linen and moisture-wicking materials to help keep you cool
- Limit exposure – take breaks when you are outside and try to find shady areas while you are out. Head inside to the air conditioning, especially if you start feeling warm
- Wear sunscreen – Applying a pregnancy-safe sunscreen before heading outdoors and reapplying every two hours will help protect your skin while you are in the sun. Wearing a hat can also be helpful
- Mind your urine – if your urine is a dark color, it is a good indicator that you need to rehydrate with some fluids
- Modify your workouts – Working out while pregnant is recommended to most expecting women, however, skip the workouts outside in the heat or avoid altogether if you are going to be sweating outdoors that day
- When in doubt, call the experts – if you feel like you may be experiencing a heat-induced condition, always seek professional help. Do not ignore the symptoms and contact your obstetrician immediately
Beat the Heat
The best way to beat the heat is to be prepared. If you have a hot outing planned, be sure to hydrate in advance, have access to plenty of fluids, know where you can seek shade or air conditioning, and listen to your body. Summertime is full of memory-making events. Get out there and – safely – create some of your own!