Oh baby, the heat!

Being pregnant through the dog days of summer

It’s August … and I am pregnant. Not just a little pregnant, but at the end of my second trimester and entering my third trimester. And, did I mention it’s August?

My challenge is two-fold: I really hate staying inside on beautiful summer days and I have two very sweet pups who also dislike being inside on beautiful summer days. So what’s a pregnant girl to do to beat the summer heat?

I asked my OB/GYN for her advice on staying cool. Here are the tips that have worked best for me.

Stay hydrated. Being pregnant I already need to be sure I’m getting enough fluids — around 60 ounces of water a day — even when it’s not hot outside. But being out in the heat means I need to increase my fluid intake by 8 ounces of liquid for every hour I’m outside.

That’s a lot of fluid, but with some fun summer concoctions I was able to spruce up my water with different fruits like lemons, limes, oranges and berries. I also included other fluids throughout the day, including orange juice, milk and sports drinks, which can help replace electrolytes that are being sweated away.

One word of caution — too much water can be a problem too, causing water intoxication or overhydration. Try drinking throughout the day rather than all at once or only when you feel thirsty.

Lounge away. Swelling in the feet, ankles and calves can be worse for some pregnant women in general and it can be heightened during the summer months. I found that swelling subsided when I was drinking enough water and could put my feet up under my desk during the day at work and at night when I got home.

Take time to lounge with your feet up throughout the day whether you have swelling or not. Being pregnant is your reason to kick up your heels.

Get wet. Sure, the pool is a great way to stay cool in the summer months, but if you’re like me and don’t have one, how do you cool off in the water? A couple of ways: I bought an inexpensive spray bottle, filled it with cool water and use it when I am outside to spray my legs, arms and chest. It usually does the trick for the limited amount of time I am outside with the dogs or to get my daily fix of vitamin D.

I also bought one of those inexpensive plastic baby pools for the dogs. On occasion when the sprinkler distracts them, I stand in the ankle deep water to cool off.

Cool showers will also do wonders if I have been outside for a longer than normal period of time — think birthday parties, weddings or family reunions.

Wear comfy, lightweight clothes. During the summer months, dresses and flowy shorts have become my go-to outdoor wear. I also already have a love affair with flip-flops and sandals, so increasing my wear of them has helped too. Choosing these options keeps me from feeling constrained by my clothing and allows my body, and baby belly, to breathe.

Head indoors. There are some days when staying indoors is just the best option for Baby B. and me. When the heat index is in the 90s or higher, it’s better to forgo the sunshine and opt for the air conditioning.

But not too worry, it can be time well spent getting loads of “nesting” tasks done while staying cool inside — from baby room prep to cleaning to washing tiny new clothes.

Any time I spend outdoors in the sun I always apply sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher) and, with the Zika virus in the news, insect repellent containing DEET.

The summer heat and humidity were two things I was not looking forward to during pregnancy, but by taking time to find ways to stay cool I’m making the best of the hottest part of the year.

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