(MURFREESBORO) Hot temperatures in the summer affect some people more than others, and pregnant women are among those most likely to become overheated. The Obstetrics and Gynecology department at Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford wants to ensure that all moms-to-be stay happy and healthy in this Tennessee heat.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, there is a link between extreme heat exposure in pregnancy and lower birth weights in babies.
As the heat index in Middle Tennessee climbs upward this summer, how can pregnant women stay cool and safe?
Dr. Washington, an OB-GYN with Arizons who delivers at Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford, suggests expectant mothers should listen to their bodies and take a break from the heat as soon as they feel uncomfortable, rather than waiting for the thermostat to reach a specific number.
Here are a fewrecommendations on how expectant mothers can keep cool this summer.
- Throw some shade. If required to be outside for lengthy time periods due to work or social obligations, pregnant woman should bring along a wide-brimmed hat or an umbrella to create shade.
- Put your feet up. To combat the infamous foot-swelling that comes with summertime pregnancies, expectant mothers can rest with their legs and feet propped on a raised surfaced like a coffee table or a pile of pillows.
- Refill your cup. The American Pregnancy Association stresses that drinking sufficient amounts of water works to keep both mom and baby healthy. Water helps form the placenta and the amniotic sac. By drinking up, expectant mothers are also helping their bodies regulate heat. Ten cups of fluid daily – liquids other than water count toward this number – is the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation for pregnant women.
- Bring your own fan. Small, hand-held, battery-operated fans can be purchased online and in many stores for $10 or less. Pregnant women can keep one of these in their purses so that cool air is available in a pinch.
- Splash around. Water isn’t just refreshing when it comes from a glass. Pregnant women who don’t have access to a pool can cool down with cold showers and cold, wet washcloths. Lawn sprinklers and blow-up kiddie pools are low-cost ways of imitating the relaxation a pool provides. For expectant mothers who do have pool access, water workouts are a safe, fun way to stay fit in pregnancy.
- Loosen up. Flowy fabrics in light colors will help expectant mothers avoid overheating. Loose-fitting clothing also promotes sweat evaporation – thus limiting the likelihood of heat rash.
- Choose cool accessories. Many online retailers sell cooling headbands and bandanas that can be doused in cold water before wear. These products are designed to keep body temperatures low without messily dripping water.