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Summer Pregnancy: Stay Hydrated and Healthy For You And Your Baby

See your doctor regularly as scheduled and remember to mention any unusual symptoms that you may have noticed.

Dr Jayashree Nagaraj Bhasgi, Senior Consultant, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru shares tips for pregnancy in summers

Proper care during pregnancy is a must and the same is more important in summers. If one is pregnant in summer, then at times the heat can be real discomforting.

Challenges faced by Pregnant Women in Summer

  1. Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy
    This is a normal phenomenon faced by 60-70% of pregnant women. Excessive vomiting can lead to dehydration and weakness requiring admission to hospital which can be made worse in the summer months.
  2. Indigestion, “gas”, bloating sensation and reduced appetite
    The changes that take place in pregnancy contribute to slow movement of the food through the food pipe, stomach and gut.  There is also relaxation of the gut muscles and sphincters which cause a regurgitation of acid and food, worsening heartburn.  The growing pregnancy presses upwards on the stomach and worsens the discomfort.
  3. Oedema
    Fluid collection in the feet and legs occurs after the first 3 months of pregnancy.  About 60% of normal pregnant women have swelling of the feet and legs.  This can get worse and cause discomfort in hot weather.  However, remember that excessive swelling or sudden swelling of the feet, legs, fingers and face may be a sign of high blood pressure in pregnancy.  So, it is advisable to see your doctor if the swelling is disproportionate or does not go down with rest.
  4. Shortness of breath – due to the growing womb
    The growing uterus compresses on the lungs and causes shortness of breath.  During hot temperatures this can increase the sense of “suffocation” felt by the woman, making them breathless especially when lying down.
  5. Feeling hot
    Some pregnant women complain of feeling hot and sweaty most of the time.  This could be because pregnant women have1-1.5 liters of extra blood in their body, compared to their non pregnant counterparts.  It could also be due to their metabolism being higher.

Tips for a ‘Cooler’ pregnancy in summer:          

  1. Stay Hydrated
    Pregnant women often see the temperature of their bodies increase. The goal is to keep it stable. To fight heat, the number one tip is good internal hydration. This can be done through ample consumption of liquids mainly water but also fruit juice or intake of fresh vegetables with high water content. In addition to drinking a lot, it is strongly recommended to include in one’s diet, fruits, vegetables and soups. Some too sweet drinks can cause a sensation of thirst shortly after ingestion thus avoid them much as possible.
  2. Cold Shower
    To withstand high temperatures in summer, there is nothing better than baths or showers at room temperature. Although cold water showers are more tempting and desirable during hot weather but they tend to increase body temperature because our body has to work to adapt to the ambient temperature. That’s why a few minutes after a cold shower one will be hot again. A cold shower at dawn or just before bed will refresh you for several hours. If one is not used to it, do it gradually starting with the shower head on your feet, legs and then your arms. Make the belly last, while massaging it in circular motions.
  3. Choosing right clothing
    Choose clothes that makes you feel good and comfortable. In summers, clothing should not be tight and should facilitate breathing and movement. You should prefer natural fabrics that release perspiration and do not store sweat. Wear light clothes so as to breathe through the skin too. Avoid cluttering with too many pieces of clothing.
  4. Moderate sporting activity
    For pregnant women a moderate sporting activity is always welcome and good. In the summers do not put physical exercises aside unless the same been advised by your doctor or gynaecologist. Working on the elasticity of the muscles and tendons will allow you to better withstand the sluggishness and exhaustion associated with progressive weight gain. Also, practice exercises that improve blood circulation that tends to be disrupted during pregnancy. Walking and swimming are the most recommended activities.
  5. Light and frequent meals
    In summers in the evening, do not dine too late and eat light. On the other hand, the breakfast must be complete, nutritious and energetic so as to avoid nibbling within the next three hours. It is best to have five meals a day. Of these five meals, at least one or two must contain fruit and vegetables. Do not forget to consume light proteins.
  6. Rest and relaxation
    Taking a nap one or two times a day, in the shade, open windows so that the fresh air enters the room. Floating in the water is also a good way to relax. Relaxation through a total disconnection with everything that disturbs you is beneficial. 

See your doctor regularly as scheduled and remember to mention any unusual symptoms that you may have noticed.

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