When you’re pregnant and your body is changing in ways that you never dreamed possible, the added heat of summer can be a real challenge. Here are 6 summertime tips to keep you and your growing body comfortable.
1. Water, Water, Water
Staying hydrated seems obvious, but it might be more challenging than you think. Most of my pregnant patients are surprised to learn that their blood volume can double by their 5th month of pregnancy.
Most women also find that they are sweating more in pregnancy. This is from your increased metabolic rate and your body’s way of regulating your temperature so that your baby stays in the Gold-i-locks Zone, not too hot, not too cold, but just right.
- Remember, even if you’re not sweating, just sitting outside this time of year can lead to feeling drained and dehydrated, (this is what’s known as insensible loss of fluids – just picture how a breeze at the ocean helps you feeling cooler, while small, tiny amounts of sweat are evaporating
- If you’re living at altitudes above 3000 feet, you are losing even more of your body’s fluid
Don’t like to drink plain water? No worries: Try Juicy summer fruits such as
- Watermelon, honey dew, cantelope
- Juicy peaches and nectarines
- Popsicles are your friends
- Sorbets and Italian Ices
- Fruit smoothies and drinkable yogurts
- Add wedges of pineapple, strawberries, cucumber or other fruits to a pitcher of water for more taste
- Avoid caffeine as this tends to cause dehydration – Experts recommend no more than 200 mg of caffeine/day – 2 cups of drip coffee or iced tea
When it comes to salt – Remember the Gold-i-locks Zone: Not too much, not too little, but just the right amount. The truth is, your body does need salt, so while we don’t want you to over indulge in lots of salty foods, a little goes a long way in helping you maintain your fluid balance. So, don’t restrict your salt intake.
- Aim for about 1 teaspoon of salt each day, that’s the equivalent of 1,500 mg/day.
- That means avoiding a lot of processed foods, which can have lots of hidden salt in them
- Listen to your body and your prenatal provider: if your ankles are swollen or you have high blood pressure, then ask for specific guidelines.
3. Ice Cream
You scream, I scream, we all scream for Ice-Cream: Yes, you heard it here! There’s nothing like a yummy ice cream cone to nurture yourself this summer. Ice cream, frozen yogurt and other frozen dairy treats have lots of nutritious calcium and protein, so treat yourself now and then. If you’re worried about too many calories, opt for frozen yogurt or have ½ as much as you normally would enjoy. Remember fats keep us feeling full and provide a lot of energy.
Remember to continue taking your Prenatal Vitamins every day to provide the nutrients that you and your baby need. It’s recommend to take a vitamin with DHA to help with the baby’s brain and eye development. Look for a vitamin that’s easy to swallow. Many of my patients are happy to find more choices that are like it Gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, sugar free and lactose free.
5. Go Swimming
It’s pool time! I know, I know that it might be a little intimidating to find a bathing suit you like and feel good in. If that’s the case, find a cover up, but don’t let fear of what strangers might think prevent you from swimming.
If you can find a pool, lake or ocean, swimming is one of the best ways for you to exercise and you’ll feel so refreshed. And if that’s not enough, you’ll be able to float and be buoyant – there’s no weight bearing which will take the strain off your legs, knees and joints. Even if you don’t swim, just floating or hanging on to a kick board and paddling around is great exercise. And here’s another side benefit: Sitting or swimming in cool water actually HELPS reduce swelling in your ankles and feet. No kidding!
Don’t forget your sunscreen. During pregnancy, your hormones can make your pigment producing cells, known as melanocytes produce more pigment than usual. Some moms will notice a darker discoloration or more freckles on their upper lips, cheeks or foreheads. This can happen whether you’re in the sun or not, but more sun exposure can makes this worse. So, tp avoid these dark discolorations and use sunscreen, hats and cover ups and find a nice shady place to relax, put your feet up and sip cool water!
I hope this helps you have a fun and healthy summer.