It’s no doubt the South Florida heat is uncomfortable for everyone, but to bear it while pregnant can be overwhelming and off-putting. As a mom of three, I have experienced my fair share of the never-ending heat waves and long summer days. Let’s face it… being nine months pregnant and chasing a toddler around in 90 degrees should be its own Olympic sport.
Thanks to Baptist Health South Florida I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Meera Kesavan Nasir, OBGYN with Baptist Health, to discuss extreme heat and pregnancy, and what you should know to keep yourself and your baby safe.
Complications in Pregnancy Due to Extreme Heat
According to Dr. Nasir, complications can arise throughout all three trimesters. But their impact on mom and baby can be different throughout the pregnancy.
During your first trimester, the complications that may arise are known to be more severe on the baby, since it is in its early stages of development. Extreme heat can cause neural tube defects, a category of neurological disorders related to malformations of the spinal cord; as well as other structural abnormalities. Your OB may suggest that you stay out of hot tubs, saunas, and other high-temperature areas during your first trimester to avoid these types of complications.
Moving into your second and even third trimester the complications can impact the mom-to-be in the form of dizziness, Braxton-Hicks contractions, and even preterm labor. The risk of dizziness and the possibility of fainting is falling to the ground, causing significant injuries to mom and baby, especially if no one is around to help.
Key Signs of Overheating
- Warm skin
- Pale & clammy complexion
- Muscle cramping
- Cooling back down takes longer
- At 102 degrees you may have some confusion
Tips for Preventing Overheating During Pregnancy
Staying hydrated is key to keeping cool during extreme heat. Drinking water is important, but adding electrolytes, with drinks like Body Armor or coconut water will help you replenish the electrolytes you have released in sweat. You can also freeze bottles (of water or Body Amor) and place them on your forehead and underarms to help you cool down a little faster. Dr. Nasir also confirmed that drinking 2-3 drinks with electrolytes a day while pregnant is fine, and to remember everything in moderation.
It is best to stay out of the sun during the hours of 10:00 am and 2:00 pm when the sun is at its strongest. If you must go out at these times plan ahead and wear light-colored clothing, a hat, etc. If you plan on being in a crowded area, it is important to remember to take breaks and sit when possible to avoid overheating. It wouldn’t hurt to have a small battery-powered fan or even a mist sprayer handy.
For more helpful tips and information on how to stay safe in this summer heat, check out this blog.
Updated July 2023