Heading Into Summer... In Your Third Trimester

summer heat third tri.pngEven the act of typing this post's title made me shudder. Why? Because I've been there -- three times, to be exact. Well, I guess the first two were technically late spring, but we lived in the South, so yeah, summer. 

If you live in warmer climates, being pregnant and in your third trimester as you get into warm, sticky, hot temperatures and humidity can feel less than exciting. Even though you're also in the tail-end of pregnancy and you're that much closer to meeting your baby, you first have to get through a time that can seem to stretch on for years (sorry, but it's nearly almost always true in the third trimester). 

But! There are some perfectly great things about being pregnant and in your third trimester, too! Like, swimming, and tank tops, and air conditioning everywhere, and watermelon, and yummy BBQ food... It's not all gloom and doom, of course. But since pregnancy raises your internal temperature and increases your body's need for water, it helps to know key tips for keeping you safe and more comfortable this summer. So without further ado...

Hydration

This goes without saying, really, but I'm going to say it. Keep. Drinking. Water. Or soda water. Or flavored soda water. Or water flavored with a bit of juice. However you can stand to take it in, do it. Your needs for water in pregnancy are higher, and if you're spending any time outdoors in the heat, you're losing more water through sweat. Some people track water drinking on an app, and if that helps, great. Otherwise, just be the person who's always carrying around a water bottle. 

Swelling

Heat + third trimester = feet and ankle swelling. Some swelling in the third trimester and in the heat of summer is to be expected. You can reduce swelling in the feet and ankles by getting off your feet and elevating them; exercise; drinking water; cooling down; massage; and epsom salt soak baths. If you experience swelling in your hands and face, contact your OB or midwife right away, as this could be a sign of preeclampsia.  

Staying Cool

If you're spending any time outdoors, even if it's intermittent, it helps to do all that you can to stay cool with tips like, keep clothing light (breathable fabrics like cotton, linen, rayon) and minimal; skip the hat (it's good to keep the sun out of your eyes, but traps heat around your head); using a neck cooling towel; bring a portable fan; eat light meals, or graze; and wear your hair wet. 

Navigating Outdoor Functions

Summer time is a time for lots of outdoor parties, which is typically SO fun. But when you're hugely pregnant, it's often so NOT. So consider your choices: you can skip the get-together altogether; you can go, but for a shorter period of time; you can go, but spend most of your time in the kitchen or inside (I'm sure you won't be the only one); or, you can go and make sure you keep as cool as possible out side (see tips above) and keep a close eye on your hydration. 

Sun Exposure 

Pregnancy hormones cause the skin to be extra sensitive, which can mean that it can also be more sensitive to getting burned and UV damage, which can in turn raise your risk for skin cancer. Good skin safety in the sun during pregnancy is the same as it is outside of pregnancy -- wear sunscreen, minimize your time in the sun, wear a wide-brimmed hat, and seek shade or partial shade from time to time. 

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