Summertime in Ohio is finally here! While many of us have been looking forward to the warmer weather, some of our pregnant patients will soon be looking for ways to beat the heat. The extra blood flow that women experience during pregnancy causes higher than normal body temperatures, not to mention the few extra pounds you might now be packing can add to the problem.
Here are a few tips for the expectant mommies to keep cool with while sporting that baby bump this summer:
· Drink plenty of water! It’s pretty much a no brainer that we all need more fluids during the hot summer months, but pregnant women should be getting at least 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. As if you weren’t already making enough trips to the bathroom, right? Unfortunately, a lack of water during pregnancy can only make the woes of pregnancy worse, including more swelling and the increased risk of triggering contractions and preterm labor. So drink up, even if you don’t feel thirsty because by time you actually feel thirst, you may already be dehydrated, according to medical experts. If plain water isn’t your favorite, try adding some lemon slices or mint sprigs to spice up your H2o. Or, you might consider munching on some water packed fruits and vegetables such as watermelons and cucumbers.
· Reduce your salt intake! Of course salt isn’t all that good for us to begin with, but for pregnant women reducing the amount of salt or sodium your body consumes will help prevent swelling. But, be careful not to completely eliminate salt from your diet because it is essential to the health of the unborn baby.
· Go for a swim! You earned that baby bump, now go show it off at the pool. A nice relaxing float in a pool or lake not only helps you to cool off, but the buoyancy of the water helps to relieve the pressure that the baby puts on mom’s sciatic nerve. If you can’t go for a swim, try a nice bathtub full of water at home for a short float. You can also use cool, damp washcloths to help bring your body temperature down and reduce swelling – just place them on the neck and forehead (this will help to cool the blood the flows near the surface of these areas).
· Slather on the sunscreen! Because of the higher levels of estrogen in the body, pregnant women are more susceptible to melasma. Melasma is a condition where dark patches of skin appear on the face. The “mask of pregnancy,” as it has been referred to by others, is caused by an increased melanin production. The best way to avoid these dark spots during the summer is to apply sunscreen daily. Use at least an SPF of 50, even on cloudy or rainy days. The UVA rays that trigger the condition can penetrate not only through clouds, but also the windows of your home and office.
We wish all of the mothers to be and their families a happy and healthy Memorial Day holiday! For all of your gynecology and pregnancy health care needs, visit Stark Women’s Center.