Q: I'm expecting my first child. Amid the excitement, I'm worried about being in my last trimester over summer. Any advice?
A: As women feel their bodies start to change during pregnancy, there is a lot of joy and perhaps a few challenges at any time of year. The biggest complaint we hear during the summer is dealing with the heat.
Soothe your symptoms
Having a baby in your belly can feel a bit like having a built-in furnace, so staying well hydrated is key. Dehydration can cause contractions and cramping, so it's important for you to monitor yourself and notice if you're getting too warm. Take a rest when you can, and carry a water bottle with you to avoid uncomfortable symptoms.
You may notice some swelling in your legs, which is common for pregnant women year-round. Consider buying compression stockings next time you're at the pharmacy to help with circulation in your legs. These work best if put on first thing in the morning before you get on your feet. Elevating your feet or relaxing in a bath with Epsom salts can also take down the swelling.
Certain summer activities, such as amusement park rides, should not be enjoyed while pregnant, but take advantage of the warmer weather and don't be afraid to take a dip in the pool. Swimming is great when you're pregnant, as it allows you to be somewhat weightless and takes the pressure off your back. It can also provide a way to exercise while still beating the heat. Just be careful getting in and out of the pool, using designated stairs and ladders and not pulling yourself up where your belly could hit the side of the pool.
We encourage pregnant women to exercise regularly, even in the summer, but you may want to modify your normal routine. You should not push yourself to the point of breathlessness. Talk to your care provider about the type and intensity of exercise that is right for you.
- Kristie Blake, APRN-CNM, is a nurse midwife at Kettering Health Network
For more information, visit our maternity website.