Struggling through the latter months of pregnancy in the heat of summer can be an uncomfortable challenge for some moms-to-be.
It’s a complaint Dr. Sue Sohaei, Mercy OB/GYN, hears often in her practice. And while staying cool is important for mom’s comfort, she tells her patients the primary reason to stay out of the summer heat is to keep baby safe.
“During pregnancy, obviously, mom’s body surface is bigger, and therefore more fluid is evaporated from her body in the heat,” Dr. Sohaei said. “By the same token, the placenta needs more fluid, so staying hydrated is extremely important.”
Dr. Sohaei explained that dehydration can lead to pre-term contractions and also can contribute to the development of kidney stones in women with a history of stones.
“Pregnant women need to drink more water. And by ‘water,’ I mean water, not sodas. Do not hydrate with sodas!”
Moms-to-be also should limit sun exposure throughout pregnancy, she said, as too much sun can cause hyper-pigmentation of the skin due to hormonal changes in the pregnant woman’s body.
Pregnant women also should choose their “cooling off” activities wisely.
“Swimming is a good option for keeping cool,” she said, “but, of course, no diving or water skiing, and no Jacuzzis.”
While swimming very near the end of pregnancy, Dr. Sohaei added, women should pay close attention, as membranes could rupture (“water could break”) while in the pool and they may not realize it immediately.
Other good tips for keeping cool during a summer pregnancy include:
“Safety is the key for both mom and baby,” Dr. Sohaei reiterated. “Hydration, hydration, hydration and choosing low-risk summertime activities can help ensure a healthy (and more comfortable) pregnancy.”