Being pregnant isn’t always easy, especially during the summer. From being hot, having swollen feet, sweating all the time and trying to dress comfortably for the weather, pregnancy during the summer months can be unpleasant.
1. Being Hot All the Time
Pregnant women have an increased amount of blood in their body, so it causes them to feel warmer than most people. For a woman’s body to handle the extra blood, the blood vessels dilate slightly, bringing blood closer to the surface of the skin and causing the woman to feel warmer. Mixed with the summer heat, a pregnant woman could feel downright toasty!
2. Swollen Feet and Ankles
Although swelling is normal for women who are expecting, it can be very frustrating. Women have lots of extra fluid in their bodies during pregnancy and the pressure from the growing uterus causes swelling in the ankles and feet. Unfortunately, swelling tends to get worse during hotter weather, which could make those cute sandals a little difficult to wear.
Quick Tips to Prevent Swelling: Stretch often, avoid standing for long periods of time and try to stay cool in the hot weather.
Real Moms of Eastern Iowa blogger, Holly Jirovsky, explains how she went through swelling and how she handled it, “I had minor swelling in my hands and feet. Staying hydrated helps and remembering to put your feet up when at all possible will ease your swelling. And sometimes just ditch that wedding ring if it's too tight!”
3. Sweat, Sweat and More Sweat
Nobody told you that lots of sweating was a part of pregnancy! You sweat everywhere, from your underarms, belly, face, neck and thighs. No place on your body seems to get a break.
Why does this happen? Blood volume increases by 40-50 percent during pregnancy and your metabolism is working for two, so the body sweats more as a way to cool off. It’s important to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and to keep you feeling comfortable, especially if the temperature is high.
Tip to Keep Sweating at Bay: Avoid dressing in clothes that trap heat and use an underarm antiperspirant.
What did real mom Evette Creighton have to say about sweating during pregnancy? “There were parts of my body that I didn’t know could sweat. I cranked up the air and almost always used a fan. My poor hubby froze!”
4. No Summer “Fun”
Alcohol is off limits during pregnancy. That means saying goodbye to the summer cocktails you may love. Drinking alcohol while pregnant can result in lifelong health problems for the baby, including being born prematurely, low birth weight, learning and behavioral problems and birth defects. The best way to ensure that you will be having a healthy baby is to avoid alcohol altogether.
How to Have Summer “Fun”: Find non-alcoholic versions of your favorite cocktail, a “mocktail”, which are just as tasty!
5. All That Clothing
In the winter, it’s easy to dress up a baby belly because you can wear lots of layers, but summer clothing is a little more difficult. Pregnant women tend to feel hotter (see number 1), so dressing comfortably and fashionably (see number 6) isn’t always easy.
How to dress comfortably: choose clothing made of light fabrics that you can layer, allowing you to easily add or remove clothing.
6. Fashion Takes a Back Seat
It can be difficult to feel comfortable while pregnant in the summer, especially since you’re carrying around some extra weight. Luckily, maternity fashion has come leaps and bounds in the recent years, but what if your feet are swollen? It could be difficult to fit into sandals, wedges, and all those cute summer shoes! To keep yourself in those cute shoes, prop up your feet when sitting and try not to cross your legs!
7. No Skipping the Sunscreen
Sun protection is important when a woman isn’t pregnant, and even more important when she is. Skin is much more sensitive during pregnancy because melanocytes, cells that produce pigment, are in overdrive and that makes the skin more susceptible to discoloration. A pregnant woman should protect her skin by using a sunscreen with at least an SPF 30 and that has a formula that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
8. Summer Heat Makes You Sleepy
Have you ever spent a relaxing day in the sun only to find that you’re exhausted at the end of the day? Your body worked hard to control its internal temperature, and during pregnancy, the body is working for two. It’s not surprising that you would feel sleepy.
A pregnant woman may become tired after spending time in the sun because she is dehydrated. Sweating to keep the body cool may cause a pregnant woman to lose quite a bit of fluid.
Quick tip: If you’re tired from pregnancy and the sun, take a nap in a cool place. It may just help you out!
Real mom Kate Ungs had this to say about spending time in the sun in the summer: “Sun bathing while pregnant is very relaxing, though it eats your energy. After a little sun time, an indoor rest and relaxation come next.”
9. Exercising Outdoors Becomes a Little Tough
Summertime is associated with outdoor activities, like riding bikes or going for walks. But in high heat and humidity, exercising outdoors isn’t really safe for a pregnant woman. However, exercise is healthy for both mother and baby, so moving her exercising indoors is a good option to staying cool and healthy. Exercising while pregnant can help with the following:
- Feel better
- Prepare your body for birth
- Help with regaining pre-pregnancy body after birth
10. Getting Enough to Drink
A pregnant woman needs to drink more water to help support the development of the baby and to prevent dehydration. Since a woman’s blood volume increases during pregnancy, a woman needs to drink lots of water every day to help prevent problems like constipation. Dehydration could lead to overheating because water is essential in heat regulation. Because a pregnant woman sweats more than usual, she needs to consume more water to prevent too much fluid loss.
Quick tip to stay hydrated: Drink lots of water and avoid sugary beverages!
11. When It’s Extremely Hot
Becoming overheated comes with many risks to mother and baby. If a pregnant woman’s body temperature reaches over 102 degrees for a period longer than 10 minutes, there could be problems with the baby and the mother can become dehydrated.
Tip to keep cool: go swimming in the pool or take cool showers frequently.
12. Sticking Close to Home
A pregnant woman doesn’t necessarily need to stick close to home, but staying close to the air conditioning to avoid overheating is a good idea. Avoid going outside during the hottest parts of the day if possible. If it is very hot outside, a pregnant woman may need to skip the park and head to the movie theater instead, where it is nice and cool.
Having a safe and healthy pregnancy, especially when it’s warm outside, is important. Talk to your doctor today about summer safety by messaging them through MyUnityPoint or by calling to make an appointment. Need a physician? Find one today at a convenient UnityPoint Clinic location near you!