Dehydration- Staying hydrated, in general, is an essential to life. However, its significance increases during pregnancy. Add that to the effects of the hot weather and you have more of a challenge. The Institute of Medicine determined that women should drink about 2.2 liters of water per day, on average. According to NYC nutritionist Lara Englebardt Metz, MS, RD, CDN, for every hour you’re in the heat you should add about eight ounces. To the people that dislike drinking water, this is an even bigger challenge. A good thing to try is infusing your water with your favorite fruits and herbs. For example, I like to add pineapple and mint.
The Sun- Too much exposure, itself, can contribute to dehydration and exhaustion. The UV Rays also can make your skin more susceptible to pregnancy related issues such as dark splotches on your hands or face and Chloasma. This doesn’t mean you need to stay inside all summer, just proceed with caution. Are you wearing your sunscreen? Will you be out for a long period of time? Is the area in which you’ll be shaded? Does a floppy hat suit you? These are just a few things to take into consideration when planning your outings.
Swelling- We all know that edema (swelling) during pregnancy is a common issue and that it pretty much sucks. However, it can be a lot more common/severe when you’re pregnant in the summertime. It can also be a sign of complications more significant than mere discomfort such as toxemia. Some preventative measures are drinking plenty of water, being conscious of if your diet contributes, (especially those salty carnival foods) and making time to kick those feet up for a bit. It might be just the right excuse to get yourself a pedicure.
Extreme Heat- Dependent on where you live, the summer season can come with extreme heat and make your pregnancy less enjoyable. It can contribute to other issues from dehydration all the way to the risk of preterm labor. Everyone is different and it’s important to know and be cautious of your limit. Overdoing it can make you dizzy, weak, nauseous, and cause shortness of breath. Keeping yourself hydrated and revolve your plans around the weather can help beat the heat. Is the weather calling for severe heat? Don’t be afraid to park it in front of the AC for the day.
Exhaustion- Growing another human can be an exhausting job, especially in the first trimester and at the end of your pregnancy. Add the heat of the summer months and you may have an even more difficult time finding the energy to complete day to day tasks. Aside from drinking enough water and getting enough rest, this may be the perfect time to call on those friends that said “if you ever need anything.” Whether they are taking older children off your hands while you nap or helping you make ends meet around the house, you’d be surprised how many people want you to get adequate rest.