Summer can be brutal, with the temperature and humidity rising. Working outside can be horrendous, and for those without air conditioning, things may be a bit unbearable. For those who are pregnant in these conditions, it may be easy to fall into despair. Pregnancy causes the mother’s body temperature to rise even in cooler temperatures. The added weight of a baby, in addition to heat, can make previously enjoyable times horrible.
There is hope, though! By doing a little bit of research, it is easy to understand the complications that may arise from a summer pregnancy. Once the complications are understood, it is easy to prevent, or if it is too late for that, treat some of the more common summer ailments of pregnant women.
With increased exposure to the sun, it is more important than ever to experiment and find a recipe for an all-natural sunscreen that is best suited to one’s personal tastes. If a natural sunscreen is not applied liberally and often, radiation damaged can ensue and cause serious problems. Olive oil, sesame oil, broccoli extract, and vitamin e are some common ingredients of natural sunblock. Some women like to add bees’ wax or Shea butter as well. With a little bit of research, it is easy to find simple ingredients with a natural SPF to add to a homemade sunscreen. Skin softeners can be added as an extra bit of pampering, as pregnant women definitely deserve. By using a natural sunblock with a high SPF, pregnant woman can prevent radiation damage, which impairs the body’s ability to cool itself, as well as causing a loss of body fluids.
While a topical sunscreen is absolutely necessary to prevent sunburn from UV damage, it is also important to eat and drink the appropriate foods and liquids to keep the internal environment healthy as well. Choosing foods rich in selenium, such as nuts, legumes, and animal products, will ensure that the body is being provided with cancer-fighting free radicals. Foods high in zinc are recommended, because zinc is necessary for the proper development of the growing baby.
Another important consideration during summer for pregnant women is that of dehydration. Even a 2% drop in body hydration can cause side effects such as mental confusion and dizziness. During the summer, it is even more critical to drink plenty of water, as the summer sun causes perspiration and an increased loss of body fluid. More than water is lost through perspiration, though. Vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes, so vital to human health, are also lost through sweating.
Considering the fact that a pregnant woman must provide for her unborn child as well, it is extremely important that she keep hydrated. If not, nourishment to the baby is compromised, there is an increased risk of blood clots, and severe dehydration may even lead to preterm labor. Signs of dehydration include dry mouth, light-headedness, nausea, and abdominal cramping.
A great way to be assured that proper rehydration is taking place is to use a mineral supplement that provides adequate electrolytes. Drinking plain tap water is not enough to be hydrated. Also, eating smaller, cooler meals and staying out of sunlight are recommended.
Edema is another concern for most pregnant women. Though it may seem that the additional fluid built up in the legs and ankles is a sign of hydration, the truth is that because the fluid is concentrated in that one area, it is not in the cells, where it needs to be for use by the body. To treat edema, it is recommended that a pregnant woman lie down with her feet raised above her head. Another great way to treat edema is to submerge the entire body, up to the shoulders, under cool water. It is suggested that the outside pressure of the water is just enough the move the fluid back up and through the body. Cutting salty and starchy foods (breads, pastas) from the diet will also help, as they raise the blood sugar, which results in more puffiness. Under absolutely no circumstances, however, should a diuretic be used, as diuretics decrease blood flow to the uterus and may cause trauma to the unborn infant.
Signs of various heat illnesses include: the skin being cool or pale, nausea, vomiting, a raised pulse, dizziness, weakness, a bad headache, abdominal cramping, a fever higher than 102F, confusion, and disorientation. If at any time these symptoms occur, a health care provider should be contacted immediately.
If measures are taken, however, no symptoms should progress that far. Taking precautions beforehand will result in a more enjoyable summer, and a more healthful pregnancy.
|Pregnancy in the Summer|
By Neil Butterfield
|Neil Butterfield is the owner and founder of Mineralife LLC. Neil has been actively involved in the health and fitness industry for over 10 years and has studied the importance of minerals to human health extensively. He is currently working towards obtaining a masters degree in Nutritional Therapy. He resides in Colorado Springs with his beautiful wife and two dogs where he enjoys an active lifestyle while running his company, Mineralife LLC.|