Surviving Pregnancy in the Dog Days of Summer

When your belly is growing and the mercury is rising, things can quickly get unbearable. Don't sweat it. Here are five top ways to keep cool on hot days.
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When your belly is growing and the mercury is rising, things can quickly get unbearable. Don't sweat it. Here are five top ways to keep cool on hot days, even if you're in the later stages of your pregnancy.

1. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

Drinking enough fluids is absolutely essential to your health and your baby's. The normal recommendation is two liters of water daily for expecting women, but beware that during very hot and humid weather, you may need even more. "By the time you actually feel thirsty, you're already well past the point of dehydration," says Dr. Jenny M. Jaque, Assistant Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology and Assistant Residency Program Director, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Keck School of Medicine at USC. "That's why it's important to drink water all day long."

Getting enough to drink is serious business, but you have to choose quality along with quantity. While water is the best choice, 100 percent fruit juices like apple and orange not only hydrate you, but also help you get your recommended daily intake of fruit. (Of course, watch your sugar intake for the day, but the fruit is good.) For a change of pace, mix juice and seltzer for a tasty treat!

2. Dress Right

Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing in breathable fabrics like cotton. Sit with your feet up as often as possible to prevent or reduce swelling and to head off nighttime leg cramps. Flip-flops may seem like the perfect, comfy summer shoe, but when you're pregnant, your arches undergo a lot of stress. So, swap your flip-flops for sandals with plenty of cushioning and arch support, like sneakers.

"Exercise during the cooler hours of day and avoid overheating when you exercise and keep your water bottle handy when you exercise to replenish any lost fluids," says Dr. Jaque. Taking a quick dip in your backyard pool or at the beach can be great exercise and help keep you cool.

4. Hitting the Road

If driving, stop every hour or two, stretch your legs and walk around. If flying, stroll up and down the aisles and flex/extend your ankles while seated. Dr. Jaque says it's normal for women to experience swelling. It is usually gradual in onset and worsens throughout the day with prolonged standing. "Avoid tight clothes and remove rings. Swelling can make them difficult to remove and can lead to unnecessary discomfort."

5. Be Cool

Stay chill by staying in an air-conditioned house or office during hottest days. If you can't make it to the beach or the pool, take a cool shower whenever possible. The movies are another great place to stay cool and distract you from any pregnancy aches and pains. Dr. Jaque suggests carrying "a body spray with a refreshing scent like citrus or eucalyptus. Apply a cold, damp cloth to the back of the neck to help keep you cool when you start feeling warm."

It's all about getting relief where you can so you can enjoy the summer and your pregnancy while staying safe.

What's your number one tip for keeping it cool?

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Callie Zanandrie, a veteran broadcast journalist, has held several jobs at GalTime, most recently being named Health Editor. TV host, spokesperson, news anchor, writer and producer, she has been in the television industry for more than a decade, and has extensive experience in-front and behind the camera.