New York Obstetrician Shares Advice for Surviving the Heat While Pregnant

Posted on: June 28, 2012

Expectant Moms: Summer Survival Guide

An Interview with Dr. Navid Mootabar

www.NWHmaternalchild.orgBy the time summer rolls around, everyone’s so tired of being cold that they can’t wait to get outside and garden, barbecue, head to the beach. But basking in the heat and sun can be hazardous for pregnant women, according to Navid Mootabar, MD, Associate Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of Gynecologic Surgery at Northern Westchester Hospital.

“A pregnant woman’s body temperature is already a bit higher than normal,” says Dr. Mootabar, who is also the hospital’s Director of Gynecologic Surgery. But by taking a few precautions, even expecting mothers can embrace the joys of summer.

Keep Cool

Lightweight cotton or linen fabrics are best. They breathe and allow air to circulate.
Try the personal fans and misters that you can find at convenience stores.
Take a dip in the pool or place a damp washcloth or an icepack on your forehead for relief.

Fluids are Crucial

Drink a glass of water for every hour of the day to keep well-hydrated. 
Mix in some juice or sports drinks to help replace the salts and sugars your muscles need, but just be aware of the calorie content. 
Don’t count coffee, soda, or tea among your eight to 10 glasses, and drink them sparingly.

Sun Sensitivity

Due to hormonal changes in the body, “a pregnant woman’s skin will be more sensitive to the sun,” says Dr. Mootabar. Cover  up with clothing as much as possible, and be sure to slather SPF 15 or higher sunscreen on any exposed skin.

Exercise Advice

If you have a regular exercise program, there’s no need to stop. Schedule your workouts for early in the morning or late in the evening (or in the air-conditioned indoors, if possible). Dr. Mootabar generally tells mothers “if they’re used to working out, they should be fine.”

How do you know when you’re overdoing it or getting too dehydrated? The signs of low fluids include lightheadedness, heart palpitations or racing, muscle cramps, and contractions, says Dr. Mootabar. The baby may not be moving as much if amniotic fluid levels fall. If you reach this stage, contact your doctor. But you can easily avoid these problems by listening to your body. “If you’re feeling tired, weak, or thirsty, that’s your body telling you to rest and drink water.”

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