A person swimming in a pool
By Maria Montoya, MD

5 Tips to Have a Safe, Fun Summer Pregnancy

Summer is about to be in full swing, and it’s going to be a hot one. Here are some helpful tips to help keep you and your baby healthy while having fun doing it.

“You’re going to be pregnant in the summer? Oh, you poor thing!” If you started to show in the spring, you’ve probably had a few well-meaning friends say this to you!

While it’s true that being pregnant in the summer can be uncomfortable, there are steps you can take to mediate this feeling. The heat, combined with pregnancy, can cause your legs and feet to swell, causing your legs to ache and feel heavy. You may also feel hotter and sweatier than in summers past.

During pregnancy, your body temperature naturally runs a little high. So, your body has to work harder than normal to keep your temperature in a safe zone—add to that the intense summer heat and your body will have to work that much harder.

Getting overheated poses risks during pregnancy. If your body temperature reaches over 102 degrees Fahrenheit for longer than 10 minutes, you may get dehydrated and you may but the baby at risk, especially while in the first trimester.

Hot weather alone is unlikely to harm your pregnancy. Pregnant patients must modify their favorite outdoor summer activities to stay safe during the summer.

Even with these changes, being pregnant in the heat of the New Mexico summer doesn’t have to be bummer! There are many ways to stay safe and comfortable while enjoying the summer season. Check out our tips to safely enjoy your summer pregnancy.

1. Use Sunscreen

Sun’s out, bump’s out! Sunscreen is safe and recommended for everyone who spends time outside. It’s especially important during pregnancy because your skin may be more sensitive.

People with any color of skin can get sunburns. The more sunburns you get over time, the higher your chances for wrinkles and spots on the skin, or serious health problems such as skin cancer.

Tips to find the best sunscreen: A pregnant woman should protect her skin by using a mineral based sunscreen, link zinc oxide, with at least an SPF 30. Choose a brand with simple ingredients, like zinc oxide alone, that will protect against UVA and UVB rays but not expose you and baby to chemicals that have not been tested in pregnancy.

2. Stay Hydrated

Water should be your best friend during the summer. Drinking water helps regulate your body temperature. Pregnant women need to drink more water than usual to support the baby’s development and prevent dehydration. 

The American Pregnancy Association recommends pregnant women drink 8-12 glasses of water each day. However, being at elevation and during the summer months, I suggest 2-3 liters of pure water daily.  Remember to drink an extra 8-ounce glass on top of that for every hour of exercise or work outdoors.

Tips to drink more water: Avoid sugary beverages, including juices—extra, empty calories from these drinks can add up quickly. If regular water is boring, add a lemon or lime slice for flavor, or even an electrolyte addition. Use a large water bottle that shows how many ounces or mL of water you’ve had throughout the day.

3. Wear Bug Spray

Many pregnant women are rightly concerned about exposing themselves to unnecessary chemicals during pregnancy. However, it is important to keep in mind that insect bites and stings can come with risk as well. Certain insect bites or stings pose serious health risks, including:

  • Lyme disease from tick bites
  • Allergic reactions to bee stings
  • West Nile virus infection from mosquito bites

There are many safe options in pregnancy for insect repellant.

Tips for finding a safe bug spray: For typical, low insect burden use- think summer backyard barbeque, consider a natural repellant with oil of lemon eucalyptus, is studies, this has been found to be as effective as products with DEET, but is not as long lasting and must be re-applied with frequency. When you expect more insects, like when camping, you may need to use repellants that contain DEET or picaridin. Both ingredients are registered as safe in pregnancy by the Environmental Protection Agency.

4. Exercise Safely

Exercise is healthy, safe and recommended during pregnancy for most women. During the hot summer months, you’ll need to modify your activities. Moving your exercise indoors is a good option to stay cool.

If the outdoors beckons, consider waking up early to work out, or go after the sun goes down. Take water with you, as well as a light snack. Avoid being outdoors, if possible, between 10am and 2pm—the sunniest time of the day.

Tip for staying cool while exercising: Try swimming to work out while staying cool. Swimming offers a gentle, whole-body workout while increasing circulation, providing relief from swelling and minimizing stress.

Below is a quick list of 5 things pregnant women can do during the summer months to take your mind of the stressfulness of being pregnant during the summer and stay cool. 

Related reading: 5 Fun, Pregnancy-Safe Exercises That Can Benefit Mom and Baby

5. Go Shopping

You read that right! Walking the mall or grocery store is a great way to get exercise and get your errands done. You can enjoy the air conditioning and a cool drink while you stroll. Consider downloading a free smartphone app to count your steps. You might be surprised how many steps you can reach without bearing the heat outside.

Tips for walking for exercise: Wear cushioned socks and supportive shoes that fit. It’s common for women’s feet to expand during pregnancy. Taking these steps can help prevent blisters and reduce your risk of falling.

Treat Yourself this Summer!

Make sure to take time for yourself this summer. Here are a couple of ideas to help you relax and prepare for delivery.

Get A Massage

Massage increases blood flow, which helps relax the muscles. Massage is considered safe for most patients during any trimester of pregnancy. However, some massage therapists only take patients from the second trimester and beyond because of worries about miscarriage risk. Talk with your doctor or midwife if you’re concerned about getting a massage.

Get Maternity Photos Taken

Not everyone feels beautiful when they’re pregnant, but women rarely regret having maternity portraits taken. Beautiful, memorable photos don’t have to cost a lot of money. Ask a friend or loved one to snap photos of you and your baby bump—smartphones have excellent cameras these days!

Take a Prenatal Class

UNM Women’s Health offers online learning to help you prepare for childbirth and early parenting. Take a break from the great outdoors, grab a cold drink and watch our videos when the sun is blazing. Watch the videos online.

New Mexico summers are beautiful, and you can still enjoy the season during pregnancy. You just need to take a few extra steps to protect yourself. If you’re concerned about summer safety during pregnancy, call your doctor or midwife. We’re always here to answer your questions!

To find out whether you or a loved one might benefit from Ob/Gyn care
Categories: Women's Health