Maintaining a safe pregnancy during the summer while still enjoying fun summer activities can be a challenge!
Anyone who has ever been in the late stages of pregnancy during the summer knows how uncomfortable it can be! Dealing with the heat when you’re not pregnant is bad enough! Factor in a growing belly, hormone changes, heat flashes and an inability to get comfortable, and it can be downright misery-inducing! Factor in the desire to still do fun things with your family while maintaining a safe pregnancy and you’re facing some major potential challenges. We have some great tips for you, but remember, your doctor’s instructions and recommendations trump any advice you find online.
Tips for a Safe Pregnancy During the Summer
- Slather on the sunscreen. You already know that sunscreen is important to maintaining healthy skin, so this should already be a given. If you’re prone to skipping the sunscreen or going a little too lightly, though, having a safe pregnancy during the summer requires you step up those efforts. Aside from helping protect you from skin cancer, excess sun exposure during pregnancy can increase the risk of chloasma. While these dark patches are harmless, they’re still not fun to have.
- Stick to cooler areas. Spend as much time during the hottest part of the days in an air-conditioned environment. Overheating can increase your risk heat exhaustion. If you can’t stay indoors, stick to places that offer a decent amount of shade. If you’re planning a family day out at the park, for example, look for a table under a nice big shady tree and park yourself there with a big bottle of water.
- Stay hydrated! The purpose of that aforementioned big bottle of water is to keep you hydrated. Dehydration isn’t good for anyone, but it’s especially dangerous during pregnancy. The Intravenous Treatment Center of NYC explains that dehydration during pregnancy can cause a shortage of amniotic fluid. It can also increase your risk of premature labor or reduce the amount of nutrients that your baby receives. Drinking enough water each day if vital to a safe pregnancy during the summer. Aim for at least eight glasses of water, more if you’re out in the heat all day.
- Avoid mosquitoes. Okay, so it’s practically impossible to ensure that you never get bit by a single mosquito during the summer, but try to prevent yourself from becoming an “all-you-can-eat” buffet for a myriad of West Nile Virus carriers. Here’s the tricky part, though: the jury is still out on just how safe it is to use bug spray while pregnant. Some doctors believe that using spray containing DEET is fine. If you do decide to use it, apply it very sparingly and wash thoroughly the moment you come in. If you want to avoid using it, stay inside during prime mosquito feeding time (dusk and dawn) or wear lightweight long-sleeves and pants.
- Enjoy the pool…but carefully. Hanging out in the pool is a great way to help reduce swollen ankles and stay cool during pregnancy. It can also be a safe way to exercise during pregnancy as long as you don’t overdo it. Just be sure to swim in a pool that has its chlorine levels carefully managed. Also, when you’re walking around the pool, wear non-skid water shoes to prevent slips.
- Stay off the wild rides. If your summer involves a trip to a carnival or amusement park, keep in mind that rollercoasters are not exactly part of a safe pregnancy. In fact, any ride that includes sudden jarring stops or turns are off limits. These types of rides could potentially call placental abruption or miscarriage. You can still have fun at the amusement park by playing games and sticking to the gentler rides.
- Skip the rare meats. Barbecuing outdoors is definitely a staple of summertime, but just make sure you request yours well-done. It doesn’t have to be crispy or burnt; you just want to make sure it’s not too close to the rare side. No one should eat rare meat as it could cause food poisoning. When you’re trying to maintain a safe pregnancy, though, rare meat is definitely on the list of foods to avoid during pregnancy!
Having a safe pregnancy during the summer doesn’t have to mean giving up all the fun stuff you love to do. Just pay close attention to the cues from your own body, avoid getting overheated and use common sense when it comes to carnival rides or water safety. Whether you’re in your first trimester or in the final days of your last trimester, these tips are important to follow at any point of your pregnancy. Of course, don’t forget to talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have!