Summer's heating up and pregnant women everywhere have my sympathies. Having weathered the claustrophobic third trimester of my pregnancy on a tropical island that, for some reason, hasn't embraced residential air conditioning (yes Oahu, I'm talking to you), I know heat and pregnancy don't always play nice. If you're wondering how to keep from overheating while pregnant, there are some things to keep in mind.
First of all, take heat seriously, because it presents some serious risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if your body temperature rises above 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit, you're at risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke — none of which is good for you or your baby. Furthermore, you're more likely to suffer from these heat-related illnesses when you're pregnant because your body has to work that much harder to cool you down.
But don't panic — and don't box up your gym clothes quite yet. Exercise is still really good for you, and being outdoors provides crucial vitamin D that your baby can't get any other way. So what's a health conscious pregnant lady to do?
Basically, take the same precautions you'd take if you weren't pregnant, and double down, especially when it comes to proper hydration. Staying hydrated reduces your risk of preterm labor, so keep your hydro flask (hey again, Hawaii) topped off at all times, especially when exercising. Health Status recommended that pregnant women drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day, which should keep you running to the bathroom pretty much all day long.
Next time you go maternity shopping, be sure to invest in some lightweight, light colored, and loose-fitting clothing. Health Status also recommended staying indoors during the hottest hours of the day — between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. — and cancelling your outdoor plans if forecasted temperatures reach 90 degrees or higher.
Are you grumpy? It's OK to be grumpy. If cooking makes you sweat, turn off the stove, and have someone else make dinner. Or just eat ice cream.
You should also keep in mind that the CDC considers some workplaces riskier than others where overheating is concerned. If you work outdoors, if you're a cook or dishwasher, if you work in manufacturing, or if you're a healthcare worker performing diathermal therapy, talk to your workplace safety officer and your doctor about possible accommodations.
Ultimately, you know your body better than anyone. If you start to feel shaky, or if your heart picks up the pace, trust your instincts. You don’t need to power through Crossfit this summer — a 20 minute swim will do just fine. Take some basic precautions (remember, water, water, water), and I promise you'll make it to autumn breezes — with eternal bragging rights.