Are you pregnant right now? In this hot, humid, sweltering weather? I’m so sorry! I remember my sweet little August baby all too well! Surviving this heat is hard enough, but the heat takes an extra toll on pregnant women because of the added weight and increased body temperature. Pregnant women are more prone to dehydration and fatigue so it is important to pay attention to your body’s cues and give it the attention it needs.
Drinking enough water is key to staying healthy during any pregnancy, but especially in the summer time. Staying hydrated isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Here are a few tricks I’ve learned to help with hydration and staying cool:
• Bring a full glass of water to bed with you at nightand commit to drinking the whole thing upon waking (after emptying your bladder for the fifth time, of course). Starting the day off with ample hydration sets the stage for a healthy and energetic day and for some reason, drinking first thing in the morning increases your thirst receptors so you will crave water for the rest of the day, increasing the liklihood that you will actually drink it.
• Enjoy an electrolyte drink like coconut water, Replenish, or Emergen-C. Or, better yet, make your own with the following ingredients:
o ½ c. fresh squeezed orange juice
o ¼ c. fresh squeezed lemon juice
o 2 c. water
o 2-4 tbs. honey or coconut sugar
o 1/8 tsp. sea salt
• If you have a juicer, make a replenishing veggie juice with carrots, celery, cucumbers, and spinach – some of the most hydrating vegetables.
• Make your own popsicles with juice, yogurt, or coconut milk, and add berries.
• Carry a squirt bottle with cool water to spray yourself with – and add a few drops of cooling essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, roman chamomile, or geranium if you like.
• Plan your day so that exercise and outdoor activities are done first thing in the morning or in the early evening when the air has cooled down.
• Go swimming! Enjoy the weightlessness of being in the water and cool your body.
• Try to find clothing that is made with natural fabrics like cotton and linen rather than anything made with synthetic fabric, which tends to increase sweating.
Many pregnant women also suffer from swelling in the legs or feet (edema) that is often exasperated during the hot weather. This can become downright unbearable. You might consider easing this discomfort by reducing consumption of salt and caffeine. Wearing comfortable, high-quality shoes that are a ½ size bigger than your regular shoe size can also be helpful. Many women find it beneficial to spend some time during the day, whether at work or at home, with their feet elevated or placing their legs up a wall (a common yoga pose for edema) to allow the blood and fluids to drain back down legs. At times, it is necessary for a woman to use compression stockings to keep the edema at bay. Though not the sexiest attire and certainly frustrating to have to pull onto a large, pregnant body, these stockings can make a huge difference in overall comfort of the legs when edema is severe.
Even though summer time pregnancy can be a drag, it is not without its joys! Don’t let the summer roll by without filling your tummy with the fresh produce that is so bountiful at this time. Show off that beautiful bump of yours at the beach or pool while you absorb Vitamin D from the sun’s rays, which will keep your mood elevated. Give thanks for fewer wardrobe dilemmas as you throw on your simple maternity clothes. And, don’t forget – when your baby is born, he or she will adjust well in the warmer temperatures and need a lot fewer layers to stay warm.