When you’re pregnant, it doesn’t take much time in the sun to feel overheated, but there are some things you can do to stay cool (or at least comfortable) during the summer months as the temperatures start to spike.
Did someone turn up the thermostat?
No, it’s not an illusion. Your internal body temperature is warmer now that you are growing another human. The reason is your blood volume increases as much as 50% when pregnant, and blood vessels dilate to transport the additional blood where it is needed. In addition, your body has to work harder when it’s pregnant. Just moving from the couch to the kitchen can be a challenge when you have the additional weight to support.
Even in the early stages of pregnancy, it’s important to be mindful of your body temperature, which can become higher than usual when you are pregnant. During pregnancy, if your body temperature becomes higher than 102.2°F for more than 10 minutes, you may suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke, or dehydration, which can be dangerous for both you and baby. Stay cool, mama!
Ways to stay cool
To keep you and baby cool and healthy this summer, there are some things to avoid and some tricks to use to cool down.
During pregnancy, avoid:
- Saunas or hot tubs.
- Excessive time outside or in the sun on particularly hot days or during heat advisories.
- Large amounts of salt, which can increase water retention.
When it’s too hot to function:
- Stay inside or seek out buildings with air conditioning, such as a movie theater; Eugene Public Library and Springfield Public Library; walk the Valley River Center for a bit of air-conditioned exercise. Check news outlets for listings of cooling centers during extreme heat waves.
- Find a cold water lake, stream, or pool to submerge in. Even just soaking your feet in a kiddie pool can bring you some relief.
- Wet and freeze a bandana to wear on your head or around your neck.
- Opt for “cold” foods, such as salads with diced chicken; frozen fruits; cold pasta; etc.
- Stay hydrated. During pregnancy, you need 8 to 12 cups (64 to 96 ounces) of water every day. Water is important for so many reasons: it aids in digestion, helps form the amniotic fluid around the fetus, as well as circulates nutrients throughout your body.
Know the signs of dehydration
Just as important as staying hydrated, know the signs of when you might be dehydrated. Look for: sweating, sluggishness, nausea, dizziness, headaches, confusion, decreased or dark-colored urine. If you feel moderate dehydration, replenish your fluids with cold water. If you are experiencing severe dehydration, a trip to urgent care will be necessary to receive intravenous fluids and a proper evaluation by a medical professional.
Sleep it off
It won’t be summer forever and you won’t be pregnant forever. Allow yourself to get some extra rest during these very hot days. If you’re at home with a busy toddler or preschooler, settle in for an afternoon movie or read some books together in bed. Take care of yourself so you can best care for your children.