Monroe, Ga – There are some advantages to being pregnant during the summer months, such as wearing flip-flops and dresses and going on vacation, but Georgia’s hot, muggy, summer days are certainly not one of them.
Summer heat is notoriously uncomfortable for pregnant women and can pose some unique risks, such as overheating (which increases the risk for pregnancy loss), dizziness, fainting and dehydration.
If you are wondering how to beat the heat without staying cooped up indoors all summer, check out these tips from Stephanie Tarracciano, D.O., an obstetrician and gynecologist (OB/GYN) at Piedmont Walton Hospital.
- Go for a swim. “Swimming is a great workout during pregnancy because of the low amount of stress and resistance it puts on the body – and it cools you off at the same time,” Dr. Tarracciano said. The cool water can also help with swelling, and it’s also great for stretching to care for lower back pain, according to Dr. Tarracciano.
- Seek shade. Sun exposure doesn’t pose any more of a risk than usual, but it’s cooler in the shade. “If your skin is prone to melasma, which are dark patches that can appear on your face or neck during pregnancy, reducing your sun exposure may help,” Dr. Tarracciano said. “Also, don’t forget to use sunscreen! It can also help prevent melasma.”
- Drink more water. “In addition to your normal water intake, pregnant women need an extra eight ounces of water for every hour in the sun to stay hydrated,” Dr. Tarracciano said. To prevent dehydration, try carrying a water bottle with you. Also, adding slices of fruit – such as lemons, oranges or cucumbers – can give your water a hint of flavor and a cool, refreshing taste. “In extreme cases, dehydration can cause contractions and even preterm labor, so it is important to stay hydrated,” Dr. Tarracciano said.
- Avoid unnecessary changes in body temperature. Your body has to work hard to adjust to continuous spikes and declines in temperature. “When going outside, try wearing light-colored, breathable clothing and a hat to keep your body cool,” Dr. Tarracciano advises. “Also try to schedule your appointments in the morning or at the end of the day when it isn’t as hot outside.”
- Put your feet up. “When it’s hot outside, pregnant women tend to get swollen legs and feet more quickly,” Dr. Tarracciano said. Putting your feet up when you sit down can relieve the swelling. Dr. Tarracciano recommends elevating your legs and feet above the level of your heart. Wearing flip-flops or sandals gives your feet air and helps with swelling as well.
For more ways to stay safe during your pregnancy and tips for preparing for baby’s arrival, visit piedmont.org.
To read about Piedmont’s Fetal Monitoring System, click or tap on this link to read it online, or pick up a copy of the latest issue of Walton Living Magazine at Piedmont Walton in Monroe, any Walton County City Hall, Library, the Chamber of Commerce or any one of many businesses and professional offices around the County.
Stephanie Tarracciano, D.O., an obstetrician and gynecologist (OB/GYN) at Piedmont Walton Hospital, has served the Walton County community for four years. She specializes in all aspects of women’s health with a special focus in uterine fibroids, abnormal uterine bleeding, and high-risk pregnancies. Additionally, she is trained in minimally invasive surgical procedures for gynecologic needs.