Now that you’re pregnant, you watch what you eat and drink and make sure everything that goes in you is safe for your baby, too. But as summer rolls around, and the weather heats up, you may not think twice about what you’re slathering on your skin.
At Center for Women’s Health here in Wichita, Dr. Sharon Breit and our team of experienced specialists not only make sure all our patients get the benefit of their essential prenatal tests and check-ups, we also guide you through the everyday questions and concerns that pop up throughout your pregnancy.
Two of the pregnancy-related questions we get most often in the summer are: How do I stay cool, and what’s safe to use on my skin? Here are 10 tips: 5 for handling the heat and 5 for skin care.
How to beat the heat during pregnancy
Wichita summers can be downright grueling, but your baby needs you to stay cool. Many mothers-to-be experience cramps, headaches, dehydration, and heat exhaustion. If you get dizzy and fall, it could harm your unborn baby.
1. Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of cool, fresh water not only keeps your body temperature in check, it’s also essential for your baby’s development. Water helps form the placenta and the amniotic sac, so if you’re dehydrated, so is your baby. Drink more water than you normally do, and when it’s hot out, drink even more.
2. Watch the clock
The sun is typically hottest between 10am and 4pm, so if you plan outdoor activities like gardening, walking the dog, or hosting a barbecue, do yourself and your baby a favor, and step out in the mornings and evenings. And if the temp tips past 90 degrees, stay inside, crank on the air conditioner or fan, and put your feet up.
3. Dress the part
When faced with a sticky Kansas summer, we recommend you opt for flowy, breathable fabrics. Cotton is a great choice, as it’s absorbent and lightweight. Skip the tight skirts and form-fitting bodices when the temperature is up.
4. Eat your water
Many foods have a high water content and can help you meet your H2O quota. Try:
- Skim milk
These are just a few of the many water-rich foods you can choose from, and they’re all healthy for you and your baby.
5. Carry your own coolness
When you absolutely must go out in the heat, protect yourself with a portable supply of heat relief. Wide-brimmed hats and umbrellas are a great way to make your own shade, and handy spray bottles can cool you down in an instant with a spritz of cool water.
How to maintain a healthy — not overheated — pregnancy glow
The proverbial glow of pregnancy sounds romantic, but there’s actually a physiological explanation — hormones. For many women, this appears as a radiance that communicates health and vitality. For others, it simply means extra oil, acne, and blotchiness. Add the complications of a hot summer trimester, and your skin care regimen may need a few tweaks.
1. Use sunscreen
You know that sunscreen is the best way to prevent damage from harmful UV rays. But during pregnancy, it’s best to steer clear of chemical-laden products. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are safe and effective mineral-based sunscreens.
2. Avoid the mask of pregnancy
During pregnancy, your hormones trigger higher melanin production. That means you may develop clumps of highly concentrated pigmentation (brown patches) on your face, often called the “mask of pregnancy.” You may be able to prevent this by avoiding too much sunlight and regularly applying sunscreen.
3. Stay dry
Prickly heat rash happens when your skin is both wet and hot, like it always seems to be in the summertime. After showering or swimming, make sure you dry off completely, especially where your skin touches itself, like between and under your breasts.
Summer sun can zap moisture from your skin, which is already stretched to its max thanks to your growing baby and inevitable weight gain. It’s more important than ever to slather on plenty of hydrating creams and lotions to keep your skin soft and supple.
5. Treat acne with care
Because your hormones are fluctuating, you may get acne during your pregnancy, or if you already had it, it may get worse. Don’t take any oral medications for acne before talking with Dr. Breit, as any drug that gets into your bloodstream has the potential to affect your baby.
Although most topical treatments don’t get absorbed into your blood, topical retinoids are known to cause birth defects.
If you still have questions about staying safe and cool this summer, call us today at 316-252-1170 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Breit and our team, or request one online.