Both pregnancy and summer can be hard on the body. Combine the two and it can be a recipe for total misery. But it doesn’t have to be. I’m here to give you a few simple tips to surviving summer while you’re pregnant.
The quick and necessary disclaimer: If your doctor or midwife has given instructions that go against any of these tips, you should follow their instructions. These tips are assuming a healthy, typical pregnancy and are not intended as medical advice.
Drink plenty of water
This seems like a typical pregnancy tip, and it is. But it’s crucial during the hot summer months, and its easy to forget. Particularly if you’re peeing a lot, it can be easy to back off the water on purpose or subconsciously.
Mild dehydration can cause a dry or sticky mouth, headaches and muscle cramps. More severe dehydration can cause dizziness, rapid heartbeat or breathing, sunken eyes, and very dry skin. During pregnancy, dehydration can also cause low amniotic fluid, low breastmilk production, neural tube defects and premature labor.
A clear sign of being well-hydrated is having clear, light yellow urine – almost like lemonade. But don’t rely solely on signs of hydration. Keep drinking. During the summer months, it doesn’t take long to dehydrate.
Body powder is your new best friend
Larger breasts, a larger stomach, thighs that touch – the body changes in miraculous and sometimes annoying ways. One of the more annoying ways is creating new areas where skin comes together. This leads to sweating in the summer, and when the sweat doesn’t dry, you end up with itchy or painful rashes.
One way to avoid this is by putting powder in these areas. Under the breasts, in groin creases, behind the knees, between the thighs, under the arms, and in the elbows are some of the more common places. You may find other places unique to you.
Look for a talc-free powder. While scented ones may make you feel like you smell better, they can also add to any itching or other discomfort. Keep some unscented on hand just in case.
Apply powder after you’ve showered, but make sure to also apply it throughout the day to keep the area clean and dry. For each new application, use a baby or body wipe to wipe away any residual powder from the previous application, then add more.
Take a dip
Swimming may be one of the best ways to survive a summer pregnancy. Swimming keeps you cool when you want to spend some time outdoors and it’s just too hot. It can be low or no effort (you can simply float on your back or on a float), but it can also be a great way to get in a little exercise.
Swimming also takes the weight off of your body. The weight you gain during pregnancy can be uncomfortable, causing back and joint pain. When you swim, your body is weightless. Even if you stand in an above-ground pool, you alleviate a lot of the pressure that comes with the added weight.
Spend as much time as you can floating in a pool, lake or the ocean. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Eat light foods
You might be craving cheeseburgers, nachos or lasagna, but all of those foods are going to sit heavy in your stomach. You’ll feel bloated, uncomfortable, perhaps even sick. There’s nothing wrong with giving in to your cravings occasionally.
But for the most part, stick with lighter foods during a summer pregnancy. Salads, fruits, veggies with dips, and sandwiches are all good options. Mix things up with new and different dressings, dips, and other condiments if you’re worried about boredom.
It’s also a good idea to try eating several smaller meals throughout the day rather the standard three meals. This will make digestion a little easier and leave you feeling less stuffed each time you eat. It can also be helpful as baby takes up more space in your abdomen and even small meals can start to feel like too much.
Stay inside and seated when you can
The heat of summer combined with your increased water intake can easily lead to water retention. Swollen ankles or legs can be painful and uncomfortable to say the least. Staying inside will help you stay cool.
Staying cool is only half the battle, though. While being active is important, it’s also important to make sure you spend time each day sitting down, preferably with your feet up. This will help keep fluids from draining down into your legs and ankles, decreasing the chances of swelling.
It’s important to note that water retention, combined with other symptoms, can be a sign of preeclampsia. This can be a serious health condition if not treated promptly. If you notice water retention or other indications of potential preeclampsia, call your doctor right away.
Let others help you
As you near the end of your pregnancy, you’ll find that you have the urge to “nest.” You’ll want to clean house, set up the nursery just so, buy just the right foods and baby items and books to read. This urge may be strong and it may lead to feelings of frustration when someone doesn’t do something just the way you’d like it to be done.
Doing it all yourself might be the easiest way to make sure everything gets done “right.” But it’s also the fast track to exhaustion, overexertion, and even heat exhaustion or stroke if you’re working outside.
If you’re going to survive the summer pregnant, you need to let others help out. This might include hiring a neighborhood teen to mow the yard or allowing your spouse, a friend, or your favorite co-worker go grocery shopping for you.
You can’t simply sit around and do absolutely nothing, of course. But it is important that you consider how important it is that you do something personally. Organizing the nursery is something you have to handle yourself, but you can probably trust someone else to pick out the right apples for you.
If you have a very limited support system, you may need to evaluate and prioritize what needs to be done. You might let the yard get a little overgrown in favor of getting help with the house cleaning or cooking.
Run errands as early in the day as possible
Grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, the pharmacy or dropping off a payment – there are plenty of things we need to get done each day. Take a few minutes the day before to plan out your errands for the next day. Figure out what you need to do and when the places you need to go open. Then head out as early as you can to get things done.
As the day goes on and the temperature rises, you’ll be more and more miserable as you get in and out of the car over and over. By planning your errands, you can get done what you need to do without staying out any longer than necessary.
What if you’re not an early riser? Well, you have a couple of options. One is to refer back to the previous section on letting others help you. The other is to head out later in the day.
However, summer temperatures don’t always drop right away. You could be looking at waiting until at least 8 or 9 pm, which means many places may be closed. You’ll also be up later which will make you even more tired the next day.
Later may be better when it comes to delivering your little one, but earlier is better when it comes to summer errands.
If you’ve gotten through a summer pregnancy, what are your best tips?