Jumpstarting Summer Wellness For The Expectant Mom

by Sumdima Rai
Pregnant and feeling the brunt of the heat this summer? That’s because when you’re pregnant your body temperature is already a bit higher than normal, so added heat from the outside temperature is bound to make you feel uncomfortable, explains Adelaide Nardone, MD, an ob-gyn in Providence, Rhode Island, and medical advisor to the Vagisil Women’s Health Center. But don’t worry, there’s plenty you can do to keep yourself and your baby cool and comfortable. Here are four great tips for the summer.

1. Working Out Safely In The Summer

Working out while pregnant offers so many advantages for both you and your baby but the heat of summer can take its toll on you, leading to nausea and fatigue. Surely, there are ways to beat the heat, but first and foremost consult your doctor to discuss the dos and don’ts of exercising while pregnant that are specific to your body and your needs.

Dr Kristina Pinto has co-authored the book “Fit & Healthy Pregnancy: How To Stay Strong And In Shape For You And Your Baby,” offering great tips for expectant moms about running to help weather  the pregnancy roller coaster. Take a look at her five sound pointers here.

Jessica Matthews, exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise, and Andrea Metcalf, celebrity fitness expert and healthy lifestyle spokesperson for Womensforum.com, share their exclusive tips on how to exercise safely all summer long here.

2. Staying Hydrated

Ever wondered how the prenatal vitamins and healthy food you are consuming get shipped to your fetus? The water, of course, which helps your body absorb essential nutrients into the cells and transports vitamins, minerals and hormones to the blood cells. Some women even find that drinking water helps relieve symptoms of morning sickness, acidity, heartburn and indigestion and also helps prevent urinary tract infections, which are common during pregnancy. Therefore, staying hydrated is vital during pregnancy, especially during summer months, to help cool your body temperature down and prevent dehydration that can lead to many complications such as a headache, nausea, cramps, edema and dizziness.

How can you tell if you’re getting enough fluids to stay hydrated? If your trips to the bathroom are frequent and the color of your is plain or colorless, your drinking is on track.

If you don’t like guzzling water, you can try several other tasty options to stay hydrated. Try adding a wedge of lemon to water and infuse it for a while, or add a washed sprig of mint to it. You can also go for non-caffeinated fluids such as coconut water and buttermilk.

3. Eating Fresh Fruits & Veggies In Season

Experts believe that proper nutrition is about adding the right nutrients to your diet and not eating extra food. A balanced diet containing vitamins A, B, C, folate, zinc, selenium, iron, calcium, and protein is thus recommended which can be easily acquired through having fruits and vegetables. So, pick up these cooling fruits and vegetables like dragon fruits, watermelon, plums, mangoes, cherries, strawberries, apples, grapes and broccoli, peas, bell peppers, dark green leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach and kale that are great for the summer.

Avoid drinking unpasteurized or “raw” juices of fruits and vegetables which may contain harmful pathogens leading to risks of food poisoning and diarrhea. The Food and Drug Administration recommends high-risk individuals—including infants, young children, pregnant women, older adults and people with weakened immune systems—drink unpasteurized juice only if it is first brought to boil to destroy harmful bacteria. The best advice, however, is to drink pasteurized juices of these fruits and veggies.

4. Adopting Safety Measures From The Sun

It’s very tempting to hit outdoors and bask in the sun, but you should be aware of the harmful effects of the UV rays to you and your baby first. A study published in the 2005 issue of Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology found that when exposed to UV rays, folic acid degradation occurs which is essential for your baby’s growth and development. While the link between sun exposure and harm to the fetus isn’t completely proven yet, it is safe to practice staying out of the sun and protecting your body during the first months of pregnancy.

Hyun-Joo Lee, MD, an ob-gyn at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia also advises pregnant women to avoid the direct mid-day sun and to avoid vigorous activities during the hot hours of the day. You should get indoors at the first sign of weakness, fatigue, dizziness, light-headedness, or excessive thirst, then lie down, drink some cool water or electrolyte replacement liquid and go see your doctor if you still not feeling better, according to her.

Lee also recommends using high SPF sunscreen while heading out. If you have fair skin, use SPF 30 or 45 as increased melatonin can lead to the ‘masked pregnancy.’

So make sure your time in the sun is limited and don’t head out without a sunblock, ladies.
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