Express News Service
BENGALURU: Taking care of oneself during pregnancy is crucial. However, when one is pregnant during the summertime, the heat can be quite discomforting. So, mothers must take special care.
Here are some of the challenges faced by pregnant women in summer:
Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy
About 60-70 per cent of pregnant women face this. Excessive vomiting can lead to dehydration and weakness, leading to hospital visits.
Indigestion, bloating sensation, reduced appetite
The changes that take place during pregnancy contribute to the slow movement of the food through the food pipe, stomach and gut. There is also relaxation of the gut muscles and sphincters which cause regurgitation of acid and food, worsening heartburn. The growing pregnancy presses upwards on the stomach and worsens the discomfort.
Fluid collection in the feet and legs occurs after the first three months of pregnancy. However, remember that excessive swelling or sudden swelling of the feet, legs, fingers and face may be a sign of high blood pressure. So, it is advisable to see your doctor if the swelling is disproportionate or does not go down with rest.
Shortness of breath
The growing uterus compresses the lungs and causes shortness of breath. During hot temperatures, this can increase the sense of suffocation felt by the woman, making them breathless, especially when lying down.
Some pregnant women complain of feeling hot and sweaty most of the time. This could be because pregnant women have 1 to 1.5 litres of extra blood in their body, compared to their non-pregnant counterparts.
Now, here are some tips for a ‘cooler’ pregnancy: Stay hydrated
To fight the heat, the number one tip is good internal hydration. This can be done through ample consumption of liquids, mainly water but also fruit juice or intake of fresh vegetables with high water content. Some excessively sweet drinks can cause a sensation of thirst shortly after ingestion, therefore avoid them much as possible.
To withstand high temperatures in summer, bathe or shower at room temperature water. Although cold water showers are tempting, they tend to increase body temperature because our body has to work to adapt to the ambient temperature. A cold shower at dawn or just before bed will refresh you for several hours. If one is not used to it, do it gradually — starting with the shower head on your feet, legs and then your arms. Get to the belly last, while massaging it in circular motions.
The right clothing
Clothes should not be tight and should facilitate breathing and movement. Opt for natural fabrics that release perspiration and not store sweat. Wear light clothes that allows the skin to breathe too.
Moderate sporting activity
Do not put physical exercises aside unless the same has been advised by your doctor. Working on the elasticity of the muscles and tendons will allow you to better withstand the sluggishness and exhaustion associated with progressive weight gain. Practice exercises that improve blood circulation that tends to be disrupted during pregnancy. Walking and swimming are the most recommended activities.
Light and frequent meals
Do not dine too late, and eat light. Breakfast must be complete and nutritious. Avoid nibbling during the next three hours. It is best to have five meals a day. Of these, at least one or two must contain fruit and vegetables. Do not forget to consume light proteins.
(The writer is a senior consultant, obstetrics & gynaecology at Fortis Hospital, Richmond Road)
Take a nap one or two times a day, in the shade and open the windows so that the fresh air enters the room. Floating in the water is also a good way to relax. Relaxation through a total disconnection from everything that disturbs you is beneficial . Finally, see your doctor regularly as scheduled and remember to mention any unusual symptoms that you may have noticed.