Welcome back to our blog. In this post, Dr. Cirasole has guidance on an important topic for pregnant women as the weather gets hotter.
Summer is approaching, and we at women’s health centers such as Mt. Auburn OBGYN know just how hot and humid Cincinnati can be at this time. Heat can be a cause for concern for anyone, as various degrees of overexposure lead to sunburn, dehydration and even heat stroke. Women who are pregnant must take even greater caution to avoid injury to themselves and their developing baby.
How Can Overheating Affect Your Pregnancy?
Your core body temperature maintains a higher level when you are pregnant, and exposing yourself to a hot environment means your body has to work harder to cool both you and your unborn baby. During pregnancy, you are also more likely to become dehydrated, which limits your ability to cool yourself through sweat. These stresses on your body can potentially make you more susceptible to conditions like heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Considering a mother’s circulation helps to protect developing babies, significant increases in core temperature, especially at 102°F or above, are to be taken seriously. Such changes have been linked to birth defects and other reproductive issues. Babies in the first trimester are particularly at-risk for heat-related defects.
Stay Cool. Stay Hydrated. Stay Safe.
One simple tip to keep your body at a healthy temperature over the summer is to avoid hot tubs. Though a dip on a summer night sounds nice, a jacuzzi can quickly raise your body temperature, exposing you to the previously stated conditions of dehydration and heat exhaustion.
Staying away from enclosed, hot areas may seem like a no brainer, but getting out of the heat is not always an easy task, unless you want to spend your entire pregnancy inside. You can still enjoy sunny days, just with a few precautions that are good to practice beyond your pregnancy, including:
Water allows your body to cool itself. Aim for 8-10 glasses per day to keep hydrated.
A day in the park may sound like fun, but baking in the sun all day is not. Protect your skin, and manage your body temperature by finding a covered area for enjoying the outdoors.
Get Your Timing Right
The midday sun won’t do you any favors. Find a time early in the morning or late in the evening to get some fresh air.
Wear the Proper Clothing
Light colored clothing will attract less sunlight, and breathable, natural fabrics will help to mitigate sweating.
These tips should help to guide you through the next few months of pregnancy. We encourage you to share this with a friend or family member who is pregnant, or is considering becoming pregnant. If you have any concerns or questions about overheating, or would like additional pregnancy information, we recommend consulting your doctor.