Pregnant this summer? Here are 10 tips to stay hydrated
St. Joseph’s/Candler OB/GYN Dr. Jessica Mullinix explains the risks associated with pregnancy and dehydration
Savannah in July – the sweltering heat and nearly 100 percent humidity leave most of us feeling like we’re walking on the sun. Now imagine you’re eight months pregnant.
Staying cool and hydrated is important for everyone during summer months and that goes double for expecting moms. Heat and humidity can affect women during all stages of pregnancy. In the first trimester, women may feel warmer due to the physiologic changes that occur in pregnancy, says St. Joseph’s/Candler OB/GYN Dr. Jessica Mullinix, who is part of the My Telfair Doc team of OB/GYNs.
Vasodilation, or the dilatation of blood vessels, is common in pregnancy and can make the skin feel warmer, Dr. Mullinix says. Vasodilation also is what makes pregnant women feel light headed with quick movements or standing up too quickly after sitting or lying down.
“Additionally, there is more blood volume in pregnancy, which can make women feel warmer and causes the heart rate to increase at rest,” Dr. Mullinix adds.
Later in pregnancy, the risk of overheating is more associated with dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Dehydration is common in pregnancy because it’s difficult to drink enough water, Dr. Mullinix says.
“With the increase in the amount of kidney filtration that occurs in early pregnancy and persists throughout pregnancy, women constantly are using the restroom,” Dr. Mullinix says. “They feel like they are always going to the bathroom and therefore probably feel like they are plenty hydrated.”
However, that’s not always the case. Dr. Mullinix says the goal should be to have urine that is clear to light yellow in color, as opposed to dark urine.
In the late second and in third trimesters, dehydration most commonly causes dizziness, cramping and contractions. The good news, Dr. Mullinix says, is that many times these symptoms can be reversed with rehydration, cooling off and rest.
“It is important to pay attention to the signs of dehydration in order to respond while the symptoms are reversible.”
Dr. Mullinix encourages expecting moms to drink closer to 12 glasses of water a day as opposed to the typical recommendation of eight. She also reminds patients that with exercise or heat exposure, the amount of water needed a day increases.
Also during pregnancy, Dr. Mullinix recommends her patients stay as cool as possible and keep their body temperature below 102 degrees. This recommendation comes from concerns of miscarriage or neural tube defects in early pregnancy.
“This is the reason we suggest pregnant women avoid placing heat pads on the abdomen and avoid hot tubs.”
To stay hydrated and cool, Dr. Mullinix offers these 10 tips for expecting moms on hot summer days.
- Increase you daily water intake to 10 to 12 glasses a day.
- Carry a water bottle with you all day, every day.
- Avoid exercise during the midday and focus on exercising indoors or in the early morning or evening.
- Avoid direct sunlight.
- If going to the pool or beach, find shade or bring an umbrella to create your own shade.
- Swimming is safe in most pregnancies, so take a dip to cool off.
- Listen to your body and slow down and rest as needed.
- Choose foods that are cool and have water in them such as fruits and vegetables.
- Wear breathable and light fabrics.
- Don’t forget the SPF.