Pregnancy can be both a wonderful and stressful experience at any time of the year, but women should take extra care during the summer months.
Beware the heat
According to Dr. Amy Murtha, assistant professor in the division of maternal-fetal medicine in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University, pregnant women should avoid excess heat and drink enough fluids to avoid dehydration. "During the summer, women who don't get enough hydration can experience dizziness, vertigo and headaches," said Dr. Murtha. “Generally, we recommend that women drink six to eight eight-ounce glasses of water or juice every day to avoid problems. If they don't, the risk of complications increases. »
As pregnancy progresses, dehydration can increase the risk of having preterm labor. Pregnant women should also avoid prolonged exposure to the sun during the summer, even if the good weather is very inviting, warned Dr Murtha. An exhibition ofseveral hours in the sun can cause excess heat that can harm the fetus. Body temperature should not exceed 101 degrees Fahrenheit when the woman is in the sun. Pregnant women should also avoid hot tubs because hot tubs can cause a rapid rise in core body temperature.
However, recommending these precautions does not mean that women should abstain from exercise. During the first trimester, most exercises are safe as long as women pay attention to their bodies and rest when they get tired, she said. That said, Dr. Murtha recommends swimming over running or cycling for women who are in the later stages of pregnancy. In addition to these summertime precautions, pregnant women should take other steps to live a he althy pregnancy 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, including vaccines against influenza and hepatitis B.
Women can also prevent neural tube defects in their babies by taking prenatal vitamins daily. A daily dose of folic acid of 400 micrograms can help prevent spina bifida, congenital heart disease, spinal defectsspinal cord, miscarriages and late fetal death.