To say that the summers in Indiana tend to be warm is a major understatement. Fact is, in Indiana, it gets hot — really hot, with average summer temperatures in Newburgh ranging from the high 80s well up into the 90s (and sometimes higher). That kind of heat isn’t enjoyable for many people.
But when you’re pregnant, the sweltering effects of an Indiana summer day can be almost unbearable. And if you’re pregnant, it’s not just the outside heat that can make you warm. Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy can make you feel even warmer. Plus, pregnant women are more likely to get dehydrated, and higher temperatures can significantly increase that risk.
Hunkering down in a deeply air-conditioned room for the rest of the season might seem like your only option for staying cool and comfortable, but this doesn’t have to be so. In this blog, leading obstetrician and gynecologist Paul W. Morrison, M.D., provides eight tips that can help you stay cool all summer whether you're indoors or outdoors.
If you need to be outside — either to hang out or to engage in some relaxing gardening activities, for instance, try to schedule your outdoor time for the early morning hours or early evening, when the sun’s rays are less intense. And try to stay in the shade as much as possible, no matter what time of day it is.
Drinking lots of fresh, cool water is the best way to stay hydrated when you’re pregnant. Carry a water bottle with you at all times, so you can replenish fluids no matter where you are. Add some cucumber or lemon slices for added flavor and vitamins. During pregnancy, it’s also important to limit caffeine intake. Caffeine can wind up dehydrating you, so it’s even more important to avoid coffee, tea, and other caffeine drinks during the summer months.
Filled with cool water, a spray bottle lets you spritz yourself with a refreshing spray whether you’re running errands or just hanging out at home. Before leaving your house, add an ice cube to the bottle to maintain that cool temperature, and store your bottle in the fridge when you’re not using it.
Loose clothing is almost a necessity during the later months of pregnancy, but during the first trimester when hormonal fluctuations can be especially intense, wearing flowing tops, pants, and skirts is a great way to let your body heat escape. Choose natural fibers for added breathability, and wear a hat with a brim to keep your head cool and your eyes shaded.
Swimming is good exercise, but just be sure to swim in a shaded area or once the sun starts to set. Walking is good, but once again, you should only be exercising when the sun is less intense, and be sure to take it easy. This is not the time to test your limits. And don’t forget to apply sunscreen regularly.
Yogurt, smoothies, and fruit popsicles are all great ways to satisfy your food cravings while also cooling your body temperature — from the inside out.
Elevate your feet whenever possible to keep your feet and ankles from swelling. And to help reduce swelling even more, try to reduce your sodium intake, because salt can cause you to retain fluids.
Keep your calendar as clear as possible, and try to limit items on your “to-do” list. Being pregnant takes a surprising amount of energy, so don’t feel guilty about taking a nap now and then. Head to an air-conditioned room, draw the curtains, and catch some much-needed Zs.
Being pregnant is an exciting time, but during the heat of the summer, it can be uncomfortable, too. If you have questions about your pregnancy, or if you want more advice on staying cool this summer, book an appointment online or over the phone with the practice of Paul W. Morrison, M.D. today.