Pregnancy is fascinating … and uncomfortable. You’re creating a human, but you’re also nauseated, swollen and tired. And with a summer pregnancy, you have the heat to deal with too.
Not only is it hotter outside, but your internal body temperature also rises, thanks to the hormone progesterone. When you’re not pregnant, progesterone helps regulate your menstrual cycle. After you become pregnant, your body is flooded with progesterone, causing tons of changes—one being an increase in body temperature.
The best piece of advice is to make sure you drink lots of water.
Pregnant women need 50 percent more water—about 6, 16 ounce glasses a day—no matter the temperature outside. Drinking water not only lowers your core temperature, it also helps with nausea.
Dr. Grayson offered these suggestions for staying hydrated:
- Place a bottle of water on your toilet before you go to bed. When you wake up during the night to use the bathroom, you’ll be reminded to drink. This will keep you hydrated through the night and reduce morning sickness.
- Set an alarm on your phone for every 4 hours during the day to keep your water intake on track. Do your best to drink throughout those 4 hours.
- Span out your water intake rather than drinking lots at once.
Avoid Heat Exposure
You’ve probably heard not to take hot showers during these 9 months. And there is some truth to it—you won’t want to take an extra long, extra hot shower—but Dr. Grayson said a brief, warm shower is perfectly safe when pregnant.
However, taking a hot bath, a dip in a Jacuzzi or doing hot yoga—anything that emerges you in hot air or hot water—are no-nos for the entirety of your pregnancy.
Some other things to be wary of are heated car seats, heating pads and other similar items. When used for long enough these can cause harm to the baby, especially during your first trimester when the baby’s organs are forming.
Use Sun Protection
Sun protection is important whether or not you’re pregnant. But in addition to the standard sunscreen and avoiding peak sun hours, Dr. Grayson also recommends wearing loose clothing. Loose clothing allows air to circulate and helps keep your core temperature down.
Be Safe When Exercising
Plan to increase your water intake by 16 ounces every hour or so during exercise—same goes for if you’re spending time outdoors in the heat. “Since activity level and ambient temperature effect hydration, you’ll need to increase your water intake when you exercise or if you’re in moderate to high temperatures,” Dr. Grayson advised.
Consider doing laps or shorter distances when biking, walking or hiking. This way if you start to get hot, you can end the activity quickly and be close to home or your car.
And Dr. Grayson had this tip for staying active and cool—get in the pool.
“A pool is a pregnant woman’s best friend,” he said. You can be outside in the heat but stay comfortable—do water aerobics, resistance exercises or just float.
Another perk of the pool: You can reduce swelling in your ankles by standing in a pool for about 20 minutes.
Signs of Overheating
If you notice that you’ve stopped sweating despite being hot or are feeling light headed or dizzy, cool down as quickly as possible by:
- Going indoors
- Placing a damp cloth on your skin
- Drinking water
“Signs of overheating can happen very quickly,” shared Dr. Grayson. “You can have no symptoms and then have many all of the sudden, so it’s best to avoid situations where you could overheat.”