If you've stepped even one foot outside this summer then you know what I'm about to say is the God's honest truth: It is hotter than hell out there. Honestly, I live in Southern California where it's supposed to be 72 degrees all year long, and even I am sweating in all the places. All joking aside though, the heat waves we are experiencing can be dangerous for many people, and pregnant women are no exception. Knowing how to navigate extreme heat when you're pregnant in the summer is key when it comes to keeping you and your growing belly healthy and safe.
If you feel as if this summer is hotter than ever, you're absolutely right. This year, June and July were the warmest summer months ever recorded as reported by the Copernicus Climate Change Service. This isn't just for the United States, but around the globe.
And with those higher temperatures comes an increased risk in health issues for pregnant women, such as dehydration and heat stroke, according to Dr. Melissa R. Peskin-Stoize, OB-GYN and assistant professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health at Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She said in email to Romper, "Pregnant women are more at risk for heat stroke and dehydration just by virtue of the sheer amount of water they need to drink (in order to stay hydrated)." She also notes for women experiencing nausea and vomiting, they're already being further dehydrated, and are thus even more susceptible to the heat.
Heat stroke and dehydration aren't just dangerous for pregnant women, but can also negatively impact the fetus in extreme situations. Peskin-Stoize explains, "The fluid around the baby can sometimes drop during severe or prolonged dehydration. This could lead to induction of labor or be mistaken for having broken the water bag... Also, dehydration can lead to contractions which can be painful, or in rare cases, cause the cervix to dilate."
In short, if you're expecting during these summer months with temperatures that don't seem to be dropping anytime soon, take note of Peskin-Stoize's advice for how best to protect yourself, and your baby, from the health risks associated with extreme heat.