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Hot and Heavy: Beating the Heat During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be a magical time; what with a blossoming belly, a scintillating glow and a crown full of thick, luxuriant hair serving as symbols of your little belly bean. And then summer arrives, and sucks every ounce of baby-related joy out of your very soul, giving you heat and humidity in exchange.

During pregnancy, your body temperature is already higher than normal, so external heat influences can take the maternity experience from fun to none. If you’ve been struggling with the rising mercury this summer, seek solace in knowing that there are ways to alleviate the strain of the heat on your belly and your body. In this guide, we tell you how.

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Understanding Heat Intolerance

Heat intolerance is like a pre-programmed setting built into most pregnant women. Simply put, it means that pregnant women have a lower heat threshold. As an expectant momma, it is important that you pay heed to your body’s response to the temperature. Replenishing your body with fluids lost due to perspiration is imperative. Milk and natural fruit juices are vital sources of hydration and electrolytes. That said, overhydration can be just as much of a problem as dehydration. Too much water can lead to water intoxication, a condition where excess water can dilute electrolytes and overwork muscles, causing cramps and in rare cases, unconsciousness.

Beating the Heat This Summer

As the wrath of the sun only threatens to get fiercer, it is essential that you find ways to keep cool. Here’s a list to get you started.

Swim Away the Sunshine

Swimming is a great way to cool off, and is also beneficial because it relieves the sciatic nerve of some of the extra pregnancy weight.

Choose Light Fabrics

Fabrics that let you breathe are ideal for summer, warding off heat rash on the abdomen and under the breasts.

Create a Homemade Water Mist

An empty spray bottle can be repurposed into a fresh water mist to keep you cool throughout the day.

Pick Cooler Exercise Windows

Exercising is important during pregnancy, but not at the cost of overheating. Avoid the midday sun and instead, choose windows during the day when the temperature is mellow. Speak to your doctor before beginning any kind of workout regime.

Breathe Easy

We often forget how to breathe at a natural pace. Breathing can let off trapped heat, so it is important to adopt a paced breathing pattern. If you suffer from breathing conditions like asthma or allergies, seclude yourself to the indoors during the warm weather season.

Apply Sunscreen

As Indians, many of us have a natural aversion to sunscreen, believing that our skin has the capacity to combat the sun’s harsh rays. Not true. Sunlight, especially during the afternoon, can sear the skin and lead to heat stroke and sunburn. Use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 while stepping out of the house.

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Listen to Your Body

Your body sends signals when it is being overburdened by the heat; it is up to you to catch them. Weakness, dizziness, fatigue, excessive thirst and lightheadedness are some. If you do experience any of these, lay your head down and drink some chilled water or glucose. If your symptoms do not lift, call your doctor at the earliest.

Respond to Leg Swelling

Physiologic edema, or leg swelling, is a common occurrence in pregnancies in the summer. The likelihood of leg swelling increases if the second part of your pregnancy tips into the summer months. There are several ways to tackle the condition. Lying down for 30 to 60 minutes each day, keeping the legs elevated while sleeping, wearing comfortable shoes half a size larger than your regular shoe size and walking regularly can relieve the symptoms of leg swelling. As you approach the finale of your pregnancy, cherish these final few months. Beat the heat and savour the sunshine, and gift your belly the very best parts of summer.

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