Pregnancy and the Summer Heat

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Luis Hernandez –

Pregnancy can be an uncomfortable time. From your first bout of morning sickness to the discomfort you have riding to the hospital to delivery your baby, there are plenty of aches, pains, and downright distracting things going on. For many women, it’s hard to regulate your body temperature, and you always feel like you’re either freezing or burning up. The summer heat, in particular, creates some concern for pregnant women.

Drinking for two

You always hear about a pregnant woman needing to “eat for two,” but you don’t often hear about her needing to take in extra fluids. The fact of the matter is that you only need about an extra 300 calories per day during pregnancy in order to have a healthy pregnancy. However, you need more water during the day, too. People who aren’t pregnant should get about 6-8 glasses of water a day. It’s actually recommended that a pregnant woman get 10-12 glasses of water a day.

What are the risks?

There are a number of significant risks you can face if you aren’t getting enough water during pregnancy, or if you are exposed to too much heat. Some of the possible issues that can arise from the summer heat include:

  • During the first trimester, extreme dehydration or heat exhaustion can cause problems for both you and your baby, including the loss of the pregnancy.
  • During the second trimester, risks from dehydration and heat exhaustion include a number of birth defects and malformations of the fetus.
  • For the third trimester, dehydration and heat exhaustion can lead to pre-term labor.

How to beat the heat

The key when dealing with the summer heat during pregnancy is to be proactive. You want to make sure that you’re not going to be stuck out in the heat for hours at a time. Plan your day accordingly. Always have a water bottle with you for those times when you might get stuck outside longer than you planned. Don’t be afraid to crank up the air conditioner when you’re sitting in traffic, and make sure to stop and rest if you’re feeling lightheaded or overheated.

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