Extreme late-summer temperatures can put many people in danger of overheating. Though heat-related illnesses can happen to anyone, some people are at a higher risk, particularly expectant mothers. While pregnant, the extra stress of fighting extreme temperatures can lead to heatstroke. To keep cool and out of the emergency room, here is what pregnant mothers should keep in mind:
Know The Signs of Overheating
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warm skin, headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps and nausea are all symptoms of overheating. Also, having a body temperature of 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit increases a pregnant woman’s risk for dehydration, heat exhaustion and stroke.
Stay on Top of Your Water Intake
During pregnancy, your body will require more water than usual. According to The American Heart Association, dehydration can lead to Braxton Hicks contractions (tightening in the abdomen that comes and goes) and an increase in dizziness. The appropriate amount of Amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds your baby in your uterus, also known as your womb) is vital to your baby’s development. According to the American Pregnancy Association, dehydration can lead to decreased amniotic fluid, making good hydration key. To gauge if your hydration is adequate, your urine should be clear, and a basic rule of thumb is to drink before thirst kicks in.
Listen to Your Body
Fear of the late-summer heat doesn’t have to keep you indoors during pregnancy. You can continue to be active as long as you do so with precaution. The CDC suggests drinking water often, wearing breathable clothing and avoiding strenuous activities on high-heat days. If you do feel like you might be overheating, find a relaxing spot where you can drink water and apply cold compresses. If symptoms worsen, seek medical attention immediately.
Schedule Pool Days
When you are pregnant, a day at the pool not only will help you enjoy some outdoor time without risking heat exhaustion but also will help to reduce swelling and provide some relief from discomfort. Though some swelling can be normal, if you experience sudden swelling in your hands or face, it could be a sign of preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure, and you should contact your health care provider immediately.
During pregnancy, your health and the health of your baby are our top priorities. Southwest General Medical Group, Inc. includes primary and specialty care physicians who can work closely with you to help you stay healthy before, during and after pregnancy. To learn more about our services or schedule an appointment, visit our website.