While the average person is elated to peel away the extra layers and spend more time outside to soak up some rays, the average pregnant woman isn’t too thrilled at the notion of growing ever-larger in the hottest, most humid months of the year.
Pregnant women have an increased blood volume and extra fluid in their bodies, so they’re more likely to feel warmer than normal or experience uncomfortable swelling, even in mild weather. But as soon as the heat and humidity begins to rise, these usual features of pregnancy can become intolerable or even problematic.
No matter which trimester you’re in at the start of this New Jersey summer, there’s plenty you can do to keep yourself — and your baby — as cool, comfortable, and healthy as possible. Here are a few of the best ways to beat the heat when you’re pregnant:
Heading outside in the summer months is invigorating. Apart from immersing yourself in fresh air and raising vitamin D levels, spending quality time outdoors can elevate your mood and help you stay centered as your pregnancy progresses.
To enjoy the best that summer has to offer without running the risk of heat stroke, it’s important to schedule your daily walk, routine errands, and prenatal appointments early in the morning or in the evening, when the sun is lower and temperatures tend to be cooler.
Staying hydrated can be hard for anyone in hot, humid weather, but it’s especially important to drink plenty of fluids when you’re pregnant, particularly when you’re out in the heat or if you don’t have air conditioning at home.
It can be hard to drink an adequate amount of water when your growing baby makes you feel like you need to go to the bathroom every five minutes, but it’s important to restore the extra fluids you lose through sweat.
If you’re mildly thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. So how much water should you drink? Let the color of your urine be your guide — you’ll want to boost your fluid intake until your urine is light yellow or transparent. This is a good indication that you’re well-hydrated.
Because pregnancy-related hormonal changes can make your skin far more sensitive than usual, it’s especially important to pamper and protect it in the summertime. The intense heat and sunlight can leave your skin drier and more susceptible to damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Pregnancy hormones cause your skin to stretch, expand, and dry out, making a daily moisturizing routine an absolute must in hot-weather months. Use a highly emollient lotion or cream made with all-natural ingredients to keep your skin soft, smooth, and itch-free.
Pregnancy hormones also send the pigment-producing melanocytes in your dermal tissues into overdrive, leaving your skin prone to discoloration, particularly if you like to spend time in the sun. Before you head outdoors, protect your skin by using a broad-band sunscreen with an SPF rating or 30 or above.
To maximize comfort, minimize sweat, and reduce your risk of developing an uncomfortable heat rash, dress in loose clothing made of light-colored, breathable fabrics. Maternity dresses, wide-legged bottoms, and short-sleeved or sleeveless tops made of cotton, linen, or silk are ideal.
They promote airflow and allow heat to escape, while body-conforming maternity clothes or clothes that are made with rayon, polyester, and other heavy materials tend to trap heat and make you sweat.
Going barefoot can help you keep your feet cool at home, but you should resist the urge to slip on a cheap pair of flip-flops when you head out of the house. A good pair of comfortable, supportive sandals does more than just cushion and reinforce the arches of your feet — it also promotes better body mechanics and reduces your risk of developing back pain as your baby gets bigger.
Pregnancy can be even more draining than usual in the summer. Listen to your body and respect its needs — there’s no task, chore, or commitment that can’t wait if you feel tired, drained, or exhausted.
Taking a nap can help you recharge your batteries, while putting your feet up can give you a much-needed moment to relax and alleviate swelling in your feet and ankles. To stay cool and energized when the temperature is really soaring, head to the local pool or try taking several quick, cool showers throughout the day.
And don’t underestimate the importance of downtime — clear your calendar when it’s too hot to be as active as you’d like, and ask for help when soaring temperatures or oppressive humidity leave you feeling too tired to cook, run errands, or take care of other daily tasks.
For more helpful tips on how you can beat the heat this summer, call our Passaic, New Jersey, office today or use the easy online tool to schedule a visit any time.