Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Effects of heat in pregnancy

How are you doing in the heat of a Utah July?

There are concerns in pregnancy relating to high temperatures. The primary complaint being that you have this little heater inside which already results in you sweating buckets and when the temperatures soar you're also at risk for dehydration, heat exhaustion, cramps, fainting and even heat stroke. Read WebMD's feature, Sweating for Two. Pregnancy Today also shares good information on why it is important to stay cool. I quote here:
"Expectant mothers should do all they can to stay cool, as heat can lead to various medical problems, both for her and her unborn baby. This is especially true when taking part in outdoor activities or when exercising. When a pregnant woman is exposed to summer weather conditions, her chances of becoming dehydrated are increased. The body requires additional fluids during pregnancy, and when the body is deprived of the fluids it needs, medical issues surface. Dehydration can cause contractions, which in turn can cause the premature delivery of the baby. This occurs because when an expectant mom – or anyone for that matter – is dehydrated, she loses part of her blood volume, which increases the concentration of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for contractions....If a pregnant woman experiences dizziness or lightheadedness, nausea, headache, muscle cramps and/or an increase of body temp, while outdoors in the summer, she is exhibiting signs of dehydration and/or hyperthermia. If any of these symptoms exist, get into a cool environment, sit down and drink cool fluids. If you feel lightheaded or dizzy, lie down on your left side with a cool cloth on your forehead and the back of your neck.

Seek medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • Any of the above mentioned symptoms continue after additional rest and fluids.
  • Contractions or cramps are greater than five per hour.
  • You have bright red vaginal bleeding.
  • Swelling or puffiness of the face or hands, a sign of preeclampsia.
  • Acute or continuous vomiting.
  • Low, dull backache.
  • Intense pelvic pressure.
Some ideas to help you stay cool...
  • Dress appropriately - choose light colors, lightweight fabrics that "breathe" (avoid polyesters, layering, spandex, nylon - yes, even pantyhose) and wear some good, low-heeled sandals.
  • Carry your water bottle with you and sip, sip, sip. Keep a few bottles in the freezer so you can grab and go - they'll thaw out soon enough in this heat! You might like this by your bed too.
  • Plan your day to make the most of the early morning and evening hours - running errands that require you to get in and out of a hot car will be a little easier when temperatures are down a few degrees.
  • Fans can help a room's cooling efforts. It can feel 8 degrees cooler with the air movement of a ceiling fan so it's a good compliment to your A/C. Desktop and floor fans are great too, just be careful of little fingers.
  • Carry a hand fan. Sometimes the heat will just take you by surprise. If you have a folding fan in your bag, it can save the day. I noticed when I was in Japan last summer that nobody leaves home in that humid heat without a fan and a handkerchief or light hand towel for mopping the sweat. This is especially important when walking or hiking. Those baby wipes might also come in handy for you.
  • Take the kids to the pool and just sit down in the shallow wading area with them. Of course if you're up to swimming a few laps, that's great exercise too.
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1 comment:

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