Beware of summer heat!
According to Dr. Amy Murtha, assistant professor in the maternal-foetal medicine division of the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department at Duke University, pregnant women should avoid excessive heat and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
“During the summer, women who are dehydrated can suffer from dizziness, vertigo and headaches.” Said Dr. Murtha. “In general, we suggest drinking six to eight glasses of water or juice every day to avoid problems. If they don’t, the risks of complications increase.”
As the pregnancy progresses, dehydration can increase the risk of having preterm contractions. Pregnant women should also avoid prolonged exposure to the sun during the summer, even if the weather is very inviting, warned Dr. Murtha. An exposure of several hours can cause excess heat, which may harm the foetus. Body temperature should not exceed 101 degrees Fahrenheit under the sun. Pregnant women are also advised to avoid hot tubs because tubs can cause a rapid rise in core body temperature.
However, while recommending these precautions, it is not advised for women to refrain from exercising. During the first trimester, most exercises are safe as long as women are paying attention to their body and rest when they get tired, said the specialist. That being said, Dr. Murtha recommends swimming rather than running or cycling for women who are in advanced stages of pregnancy. In addition to these summer precautions, pregnant women should take other measures to go through pregnancy in good health and minimize the risk of birth defects. Among other things, they should ensure that their vaccinations are up to date in order to avoid infections like influenza and hepatitis B.
Women can also prevent neural tube defects in their babies by taking daily prenatal vitamins. A daily dose of 400 micrograms of folic acid can help prevent spina bifida, congenital heart defects and malformations of the spine as well as miscarriages and stillbirths.
Source: Duke University