Did you know that July, August and September are the most common months for a woman in the United States to give birth? If you’re one of the millions of women that will be pregnant during the hottest months of the year, we hope one or more of these survival tips will help you stay cool and comfortable.
- Run errands, go for walks, and do outdoor tasks in the morning or evening when it's cooler.
- Stay indoors in the shade or air conditioning when temperatures exceed 90 degrees. Listen to your local weather forecast for air quality warnings that might make it particularly uncomfortable or difficult to breathe on certain days. Limit your activity on those days.
- Wear light-colored cotton clothing that reflects sunlight. Dark colors will make you feel hotter. Also, while flip flops may seem like comfortable shoes, they don’t provide enough support. Wear supportive sandals or shoes to help reduce leg swelling and prevent falls.
- Stick to wearing natural fabrics such as cotton or linen that allow quick evaporation of moisture and allow your skin to breathe.
- Drink plenty of cool liquids throughout the day — don't wait until you are thirsty. It's especially important for you to remain hydrated when you're pregnant in the summer heat. Sports drinks with electrolytes can help replace lost salt and retain fluid. Other liquids such as milk, fruit juice and vegetable juice can substitute for some of the water you need each day.
- Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before venturing into the sun to prevent sunburn. Also, limit the time you spend in the sun, especially from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pregnant skin tends to be more prone to burning and blotching in the sun due to hormonal influences.
- Take quick showers frequently to keep cool.
- Carry a spray bottle of water to spritz yourself if you feel uncomfortably hot.
- Put your feet up often to alleviate swelling and improve circulation.
- Minimize salt intake to decrease swelling due to water retention.
- Take frequent naps. The heat can really wear you out, and you'll feel much better if you're getting enough rest.
- Ask for help. As your pregnancy progresses and the temperatures rise, you might be too exhausted to keep up with your usual routine. Talk with family, friends, and neighbors to get the assistance you need.
- Sip a cold "mocktail," like this Pina Colada Smoothie: Combine 6 ounces frozen coconut yogurt, 1/2 a frozen banana, 1/2 of a 20-ounce can of crushed pineapple, and 1 cup milk; blend until smooth.
- Beware of typical barbecue foods, such as potato salad and coleslaw that, when left out in the sun, can sour and cause stomach upset.
- Go for a swim. Swimming or simply spending time in a pool during pregnancy has multiple benefits. It can cool you down and take weight off of your sciatic nerve. If swimming isn’t your thing, “jogging” in the water is a cool and easy way to get some beneficial exercise.
- For those extra hot days, stay cool indoors and use the time to get ready for the new baby by taking educational classes such breastfeeding, Lamaze, baby essentials and infant CPR.
- Clear your calendar. If it doesn't absolutely need to be done now, or by you, don't do it.
Do you have any tips for staying cool during a summer pregnancy?