Summer is here, but with the extra load you’re carrying around, you might be feeling the heat more than anything else. Your Total Summer Pregnancy Guide brings you some tips and advice for staying healthy, hip, and cool this summer.
Your pregnant body need more fluids during the hot summer months, so keep that water bottle close by. Although you may not want to do anything that increases runs to the bathroom, it’s imporatant to stay hydrated. Dehydration can worsen pregnancy aches like swelling, and can even trigger contractions and the risk of preterm labor. Don’t wait unti you’re feeling parched, as that can be too late. Just keep drinking regularly throught the day! If plain water bores you, try unsweeted fruit juices mixed with seltzer or herbal iced tea. Snacking on fruits and veges like melon and cucumbers will also help you stay hydrated.
Even when you don’t feel so hot, a pair of good-looking shades (and some pretty pink lip gloss) will instantly pull you together! Best of all, the sunglasses will still fit even when your favorite pregnancy jeans have stopped accommodating your ever-growing baby bump.
Summer wear is all about tank tops and sandals, but those flip-flops may be the worst thing you could do for your hot, achy feet. What you really need is arch support! The extra weight, plus pregnancy hormones which cause your ligaments and tendons to stretch in preparation for childbirth (even the ones in your feet), adds extra pressure on the bottoms of your feet and can cause pain, swelling, flat feet, tendinitis, and sometimes permanent damage if you don’t wear the right shoes. You don’t have to ask Grandma where she buys her orthopedic footwear, but do look for sandals with some arch support; they’ll be thicker and slightly raised in the middle.
Sunscreen is especially crucial when you’re expecting. Your Total Summer Pregnancy Guide quotes Elizabeth K. Hale, MD: “The higher levels of estrogen in your body make you more susceptible to melasma, dark patches of skin that can appear on your face. Wearing sunscreen is the best way to avoid it, or prevent it from getting worse if you already have some discoloration.” You need at least SPF 50 to protect yourself. Remember to apply even if it’s rainy or you plan to be behind your desk all day, as UVA rays penetrate through clouds and windows!
You might as well get as much guilt-free lounging around as you can… when the little bundle of joy shows up, you won’t have much time to pamper yourself. So get a good book and get comfy in that hammock! If you can get away with the hubby for a few days, even better! It doesn’t have to be somewhere far-off and exotic, but you’re sure to enjoy a change of scenery and a chance to spend time when it’s just two of you. It’s perfectly safe for expectant women to fly up until 36 weeks (after which point many airlines won’t even let you on board). It’s recommended to get up and walk around the plane every half hour or so to prevent swelling and the risk of developing blood clots in your legs.
… and put your feet up
When it’s hot outside, edema (fluid retention that causes swelling, particularly in your hands, feet, and ankles) can get worse. Although this condition is not usually dangerous, it sure to make you feel uncomfortable and unattractive. To combat it, avoid excess sodium, especially in processed, packaged foods, stay cool, and drink plenty of fluids. Keeping your feet elevated can also lessen swelling.
It’s not only a great way to cool off on a hot summer day, but swimming is also a great way to get your daily exercise while pregnant. Some women find the buoyancy of the water also helps relieve pregnancy-related back strain. There’s less risk of overheating and it’s gentle on your joints. While doing any sort of physical activity, listen to your body. If you start to feel overheated, uncomfortable, or out of breath, that’s your sign to slow down or quit for the day.
If you’ve got a high-maintenance hairstyle, maybe it’s time to try out a out a cool summer hairdo that requires less fuss. You’ll be especially happy about the time-saving factor post-baby. Think casual, tousled, beachy hair. If you’re hair is short, you can sweep it back with a pretty headband or colorful scarf. If your hair is a bit longer, you can do a half-up, half-down style, securing it with a colorful elastic or decorative barrette. If hair is long, try gathering it into a low ponytail. You can loosely braid the tail or coil it into a bun.photo credits: woman with water bottle, with sunglasses, flip flop, applying sunscreen, in hammock, swimming, with scarf