Between heat waves, lower energy and the excitement of bringing new life into the world, summertime can be tricky emotionally and physically for mamas-to-be
By Jennifer Aline Graham
Summer brings forward diverse emotions during pregnancy.
Women who are constantly active busy bodies may feel dragged back due to intense heat, unexpected aches or simply because their summer clothes don’t fit the way they used to.
If they are women who once enjoyed summer festivals where alcohol and late-night performances were focal points, the pure exhaustion from pregnancy (and the inability to have a few drinks) may be all they need to feel a bit disheartened.
On the other hand, some women feel great during the entirety of their pregnancy. They may fully embrace their growing belly by wearing every bikini top they can get their hands on (all while lathering themselves in sunscreen before walking out the door, of course). If they are not impacted by swollen ankles or unbearable pains, they will continue their workout regimen all while pushing through any exhaustion they may feel just to make sure they see their favorite band play at the harbor.
Whether someone is having a pregnancy many women envy or one many people dread, one thing is for sure in the summer: Summertime means preparation for a pregnant mama.
While months ago people were complaining about snow-covered driveways or how many sweaters they’d have to wear at once outside, the tables have turned — as they do every year. Those wintery complaints have been replaced by the upkeep of air conditioning units, searching for friends with pools and the toll the summer heat takes on a mama-to-be.
Even though you may look at the calendar and think the summer is almost over, it most definitely is not. The heat can continue well through September into October and when you are pregnant, heat can be debilitating and dangerous.
“It is so important to keep your body hydrated during these hot summer months,” said registered nurse Elizabeth Carraba. “Most providers will recommend 2 to 2.5 liters of water per day and using an app on your phone can be helpful to keep track of your water intake throughout the day.”
Wear Comfortable Clothes
When you’re pregnant, sweating isn’t always due to the summer heat. Hot flashes come and go continuously during a pregnancy and continue on during the postpartum days while those hormones are still very active and moving.
The US National Library of Medicine states, “35 percent of women reported hot flashes during pregnancy and 29 percent reported hot flashes after delivery. Higher depressive symptoms were associated with hot flashes during pregnancy.”
Since this is true for many, many women, it’s important not only to pay attention to your body, but also pay attention to what you’re putting on your body.
While some moms-to-be want to wear whatever the latest summer fashion is, when the heat index is high it’s important to make one thing the primary focus: comfort. Baggy dresses or maxi skirts instead of jeans provide expectant women with less constricting clothing choices. Since dresses and skirts are not staple items for all pregnant women, Target, Old Navy, and Burlington have budget-friendly options for maternity shorts and tank tops that allow moms to look and feel comfortable when the sun is pounding down.
If the sun is truly that intense, the best choice may be to simply stay out of it — for both the mom and baby’s health and safety.
Physical Activity is Important
Pregnant women may want to spend as much time as they can in the sunshine during the hot summer months. However, those long walks outside may not be as safe when there is a little one growing inside of them. Being outside is a beloved activity in Western New York during the summertime and provides mamas-to-be with a variety of unique exercise opportunities.
“Physical activity during a healthy, low-risk pregnancy benefits a woman’s overall health and most exercises are safe to continue,” said Victoria Hoeltke, a registered dietician who works for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). “You can consult with your health care provider to determine a routine that works best for you.”
If mom is feeling dehydrated, exhausted or a little uneasy from heat or excess sun exposure, alternatives should be looked into. This doesn’t mean ending physical activity altogether. if it is a normal part of a woman’s life – it just means adjusting that routine.
And when you’re a mom-to-be, adjusting routine is already a day-to-day occurrence.