From Special Reports

There are some advantages to being pregnant during the summer months (like wearing flip-flops and dresses and going on vacation) but hot, muggy summer days are certainly not one of them. Summer heat is notoriously uncomfortable for pregnant women and can pose some unique risks, such as overheating (which increases the risk for pregnancy loss), dizziness, fainting and dehydration.

If you are wondering how to beat the heat without staying cooped up indoors all summer, check out these tips from Oluwaseun Suzanne Cole, MD, Ob/Gyn at Piedmont Physicians Obstetrics and Gynecology in Newnan.

1. Go for a swim. “Swimming is a great workout during pregnancy because of the low amount of stress and resistance it puts on the body – and it cools you off at the same time,” said Dr. Cole. “The cool water can also help with swelling.”

2. Seek shade. Sun exposure doesn’t pose any more of a risk than usual, but it’s cooler in the shade. “If your skin is prone to melisma, which are dark patches that can appear on your face or neck during pregnancy, reducing your sun exposure may help,” Dr. Cole said.

3. Drink more water. “Pregnant women need an extra eight ounces of water for every hour in the sun to stay hydrated,” said Dr. Cole. To prevent dehydration, try carrying a water bottle with you. Also, adding slices of fruit – such as lemons, oranges or cucumbers – can give your water a hint of flavor and a cool, refreshing taste.  “In extreme cases, dehydration can cause contractions and even preterm labor, so it is important to stay hydrated,” said Dr. Cole.

4. Avoid unnecessary changes in body temperature. Your body has to work hard to adjust to continuous spikes and declines in temperature. “When going outside, try wearing light-colored, breathable clothing and a hat to keep your body cool,” advises Dr. Cole. “Also try to schedule your appointments in the morning or at the end of the day when it isn’t as hot outside.”

5. Put your feet up. “When it’s hot outside, pregnant women tend to get swollen legs and feet more quickly,” said Dr. Cole. Putting your feet up when you sit down can relieve the swelling. Wearing flip-flops or sandals gives your feet air and helps with swelling as well.

For more ways to stay safe during your pregnancy and tips for preparing for baby’s arrival, visit piedmont.org. Piedmont Physicians Obstetrics and Gynecology Newnan is accepting new patients and is located at 775 Poplar Road, Suite 120, Newnan, GA 30265 in the Piedmont Medical Plaza next to Piedmont Newnan Hospital. To make an appointment, please call 770-400-4510.