by Courtney Sullivan
Being pregnant during summer isn't necessarily a gal's idea of a good time.
Your thermometer's on "red" from the heat, humidity, swelling and "poor dear's" piling up around your ears.
Feeling overwhelmed? Use our Pregnant Gal's Guide to Surviving Summer! Stay cool, thrive and let your bump in on the fun.
Keeping Your Cool
Drink and Drink Some More...
You need more fluids when you're pregnant during summer. Keep sipping or guzzling six to eight glasses a day. It keeps your body running smoothly. Not enough water can worsen pregnancy aches, swelling and even trigger contractions.
Is the sight of yet another glass of water painful? Flavor it up a bit.
- Top with a slice of lemon, lime or orange
- Tuck a sprig of mint along side the ice
- Add a splash of lower sugar juice
Water's Not Just for Drinking
Carry a water-filled spritz bottle. A few sprays can cool you down and help keep your skin hydrated.
Use a cool washcloth on the back of your neck. If that isn't enough, try freezing scarves and wrapping them around your neck.
Still melting? Go for a swim. The water cools you off and helps support your growing baby. You can feel light, graceful, comfortable and cool.
Summertime doesn't mean you have to be miserable. A well-stocked summer maternity wardrobe keeps you stylish and cool. Have these essential items on hand:
- Comfy natural fiber capris and shorts
- Yoga pants for those rare, chilly days
- Lightweight, loose summer tops
- Flowing, breezy summer dresses
- Cute, comfy and supporting undergarments
- A fabulous pair of sunglasses
Listen to the Weatherman
If you're trying to argue with Mother Nature, you'll probably lose.
When the forecast calls for hot and humid, plan to stay indoors with air conditioning or fans. Do your outside chores and errands early in the day or late in the evening when the heat's less extreme.
If you're the type that bounces from chore to chore, slow down during the hot spells. You can cool off when you sweat but your baby can't. Keep hydrated and take breaks.
Hitting the Road
Your summer plans might include a vacation or you're required to travel for work. Here's how you can keep comfortable and safe.
Schedule sensibly. During the first and third trimester you might need rest and frequent bathroom stops. If driving, stop every hour or two, stretch your legs and walk around. If flying, stroll up and down the aisles and flex/extend your ankles while seated.
Check airline policies. Some restrict travel after 36 weeks pregnant. Others require a verification from your doctor that you're fit for travel.
Bring your own snack, water bottle and pillow. Don't forget your emergency phone number and center list for the area you're visiting.
Do's and Don'ts
Avoid the afternoon sun. Pregnant women are more prone to sunburn. Slather on the sunscreen.
Remove your rings if they're snug. Pregnant women's hands and fingers are known to swell.
Don't eliminate salt from your diet. You can reduce your salt intake, but don't nix it. Salt contains iodine that your baby. It also helps your body maintain proper fluid balance.
Rashes and Dry Skin
Your pregnancy book says, "You may develop a heat rash." Those words do nothing to describe the Prickly heat rash caused by sweat and heat. It usually crops up in places where two skin surfaces touch, like under your breasts, where belly meets legs, or on your thighs.
Discourage heat rash by wearing natural, loose clothing that lets your skin breathe and cool off. If that doesn't work, some women find relief with corn starch powder or aloe vera gel. Others swear that a cooling ice pack works wonders.
Dealing with Swelling
Leg and foot swelling is common in the last half of pregnancy. Minimize misery -- try these tips:
• When you sit, put your feet up
• Pop your feet in a tub of cool water
• Wear comfortable shoes
• Go for a walk during the cool part of the day
Fainting and Heat Exhaustion
If you feel weak, dizzy, light headed or extremely thirsty, head indoors. Drink a glass of cool water or a sports drink. Lie down on your left side. If you don't feel better soon, call your midwife or doctor.
Food spoils faster in summer. Beware of typical barbecue and picnic foods that contain mayonnaise like potato salad and coleslaw. As a general rule, if it's been out more than an hour or two, pass it up.
What's helped you survive the summer? An easy recipe, a cool lake, a helpful friend? Tell us all about it!