Planning what time of year you’ll be pregnant isn’t something you can control although you probably have a timeline in mind. When you consider that a full-term pregnancy lasts around 40 weeks, what you can count on is being pregnant for the better part of a year.
Whether you’d rather be in your first trimester or in your third during the dog days of summer may be something you want to consider when planning your family. The summer poses a special set of pros and cons to pregnant women at all stages, but especially for those nearing their due date.
Let’s dig into the pros and cons of a summer pregnancy:
Pros of Being Pregnant in the Summer
Based on the diet guidelines you and your doctor have discussed, easy access to high-quality fresh produce is definitely an upside of a summer pregnancy. With so many fruits and vegetables at their peak this time of year, it’s much easier to maintain a nutrient-dense prenatal diet and have enough variety that you don’t get bored.
If you’re looking for a way to cool down, pop some watermelon or grapes into the freezer for a refreshing snack or blend some leafy greens and fresh fruit into a smoothie . Just be sure to watch out for the sugar content. Avoid any sugar other than the natural sugar in the fruit; for instance, steer clear of flavored yogurt with added sweeteners or juices.
A few minutes of sun each day can help you produce more vitamin D and avoid vitamin D deficiency, a common issue during pregnancy. Vitamin D deficiency has possible links to gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and other conditions.
Keep in mind that too much sun can be harmful to anyone’s health, especially those who are pregnant. This doesn’t mean you should avoid the sun altogether. Just don’t forget to apply sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or greater any time that you are going to be outside. Talk to your doctor about sunscreen recommendations for products that are safe during pregnancy and about sun exposure before setting any kind of routine.
We know the thought of being in a bathing suit while pregnant isn’t the most appealing, but the benefits of swimming far outweigh that. In addition to being a good way to cool down, swimming can also soothe pregnancy-related aches and pains. Swimming and floating reduce weight on your joints and your sciatic nerve as well as potentially reducing swelling. When swimming while pregnant, just follow basic rules of water safety. For example, keep an eye on the tide and waves in the ocean. And again, don’t forget the sunscreen.
This pro is probably the most trivial on the list, but the wardrobe possibilities that come with a summer pregnancy are worth mentioning. For a few months, you can avoid that struggle of trying to button your jeans and opt for flowy and breezy pieces instead like maxi dresses, skirts, and wide-leg palazzo pants.
Additionally, sandals and flip flops can be great for feet that might swell when constrained in other types of shoes. Just make sure you have proper foot support and always monitor your swelling and act if it becomes concerning.
Cons of Summer Pregnancies
While the risk of dehydration increases in the summer for everyone, pregnant women should pay close attention to their water intake as dehydration can have an even more serious effect on them.
When it’s hot, we sweat more and lose both water and electrolytes from our bodies. It’s important not to wait until you are thirsty. Drink plenty of water throughout the day keeping in mind the recommended daily total of 2.3-2.5 liters as dehydration can increase your risk of preterm labor.
In early pregnancy, an abnormally high body temperature, or hyperthermia, can increase the risk of birth defects. Women may develop hyperthermia from a fever, sitting in a hot tub, or excessively hot temperatures outside. If the heat index gets into the 90s, stay inside in air-conditioned spaces as much as possible, particularly during the peak hours of the day.
When you’re pregnant, your body temperature is already a bit higher than normal. So naturally, higher temperatures indoors and out will make you feel even more uncomfortable. Those who are pregnant during the summer can expect to develop a bit of heat intolerance and should pay extra attention to forecasts and heat advisories.
Feet, ankle, and leg swelling are common pregnancy symptoms. In the summer, these symptoms get worse with the heat. To prevent or reduce swelling, avoid caffeine, make sure you get enough water and potassium, avoid standing for long periods of time, and decrease your sodium intake.
Excessive and/or sudden swelling in the face or hands, particularly in the third trimester, may be a sign of a condition known as preeclampsia. It’s best to err on the side of caution and speak to your doctor if you experience any swelling.
Contact Green Valley OB/GYN
If you have questions or concerns about navigating your summer pregnancy, or pregnancy in any season, the physicians and staff at Green Valley OB/GYN are here to help. Call us at (336) 378-1110 to schedule an appointment today.