We've just emerged from a massive heat wave on the East Coast and it's been hard for all of us to stay cool, but for those of us sporting big bellies, it can be even worse.
Pregnant women require additional fluids during pregnancy anyway and during the summer months, it can be easy to become dehydrated without even knowing it. Dehydration can cause contractions, which in turn can cause the premature delivery of the baby.
The reason is that dehydration causes a loss of blood volume, which increases the concentration of oxytocin, the hormone that causes contractions.
This happened to me during my summer pregnancy and was scary, indeed. This also happened to my cousin during her fall pregnancy, so ladies, drink fluids and plenty of them. Sometimes it isn't clear when we're dehydrated, either.
The risks go beyond dehydration. The baby's temperature inside the body is always one degree Celsius higher than the mother's and since the baby cannot sweat like we can, there is added risk to the fetus as the mom's temperature rises. This is why there are so many precautions on overheating during exercise while pregnant.
According to the March of Dimes:
Pregnant women should avoid overheating, especially during the first trimester, because a sustained body temperature of 102.5°F or higher may increase the risk for certain birth defects of the brain and spine.
Pregnancy is a good time to sit in an air-conditioned space, feet up, relaxing and preparing for all of the vigorous work ahead. Stay cool in the heat wave by taking frequent showers, staying inside, wearing light-colored clothing, and finding pools and fountains in which to cool off.
How did you stay cool during pregnancy?