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Pregnant This Summer? Stay Cool and Healthy

by Jane Wangersky | June 9th, 2014 | Pregnancy

024_ppEveryone wants to stay cool in summer, and no one more than a pregnant woman. But for her, it’s a matter of health and safety as well as comfort. According to the EPA, an increase in the mother’s core body temperature can affect the baby, especially during the first trimester. This is not to say you’re a negligent mom if you let yourself start feeling warm any time this summer, but if you take some extra steps to stay cool it’ll be better for both of you. So here are some useful things to know.

Pregnant women are at greater risk for dehydration, says the Air Force’s 375th Medical Group, because of their physical changes. So be sure to get eight to 10 glasses of water a day (that’s a 24-hour day) and watch for signs of dehydration (dry mouth, headache, chapped lips) in yourself.

Speaking of drinks, you’re probably already avoiding alcohol, but as much as possible, avoid caffeine too, to minimize your risk from the heat. Sugary drinks can also actually cause you to lose body fluids, according to the CDC, and very cold drinks can give you stomach cramps. Think cool, not icy.

If you don’t have air conditioning at home (as many of us in cooler regions don’t), you may be parking yourself in front of an electric fan. While this feels good, the Center for Disease Control warns that “when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness” since they don’t cool the air, just move it. (The coolness you feel is your perspiration evaporating — the fan is using your own body fluids to cool you.) However, a cool bath or shower will do the job. If you can go for a swim, or even just sit in a kids’ wading pool, that’s good too. The 375th says even just soaking your feet in cool water will help you feel better. Keep in mind that people on the top floors of buildings with no air conditioning are more likely to be at risk from extreme heat.

If you find yourself starting to feel sick from the heat, it’s not necessarily a crisis, but you should take some steps right away. The 375th says, “If you start to feel lightheaded and dizzy, rest on your left side in a cool place and drink water. If you do not feel better after resting, go to the emergency room to be evaluated.”

A safe and comfortable summer can be yours to enjoy, even if you’re pregnant.

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