Being pregnant is a really really strange thing. There is a person growing inside another person, and although that’s incredibly beautiful, it’s also pretty nerve-wracking. Everything that the mother does will affect this baby in one way or another. Hopefully none of the bad will be irreversible or extremely detrimental, but it’s hard not knowing. There is alway a chance that the best intentioned mother-to-be of all time just does one thing a little wrong; she drinks a bit too much caffeine, she gets a little bit too much sun, she goes to work a little too late in her pregnancy. Whatever it may be, there are plenty of things a woman can inadvertently do that could affect the baby.
Add all of those maybes together, and you’ve got yourself a pretty rough storm of possibilities. However, the time of year that the pregnancy is occurring is also something to consider. It’s bad enough in the winter time, when it’s cold and dark and it’s hard to find motivation to do anything. However, in the summer months, things get even more interesting.
In the summer months, it’s much easier to overheat, to become dehydrated, people are a little more vain in the summer due to the more exposed skin. It’s a strange time. People are drinking more, eating more grilled food, it’s a whole mess for a woman who is focusing on doing whatever she can for the good of her baby.
The important thing for a woman to remember as she is sitting inside feeling as though she will never have fun again, she won’t be pregnant forever. Just keep repeating that. Yes, this summer may be kind of weird. But next summer, she can eat all the grilled sea food she wants. But this summer is her baby’s summer. Here are some things to avoid if the pregnancy happens to occur in the summer months.
15 Bask In The Sun
Lots of folks like to show off a little brown skin when they are breaking out their new summer wardrobe. This does not exclude pregnant women. Just because they are not feeling they're most attractive due to the person growing in their gut, they still like to feel confident in a cute sleeveless top, or a new maternity bathing suit.
However, there are many dangers associated with prolonged exposure to the sun, for both the mom and the baby. In addition to the risk of developing skin cancer, a pregnant woman’s skin is more sensitive than a non pregnant woman, and the sun could potentially make those red blotchy marks that sometimes come with pregnancy break out worse. It’s also not great for the baby. There have been some studies that link the exposure to UV rays to less folic acid in the system of the mother. Less folic acid could cause neural tube defects.
14 Get Swept Up In Summer Diets
Everybody wants that great beach body when summer rolls around. However, women who are pregnant should at no time diet to lose weight. A pregnant woman will gain weight, that just comes with the territory. It’s not bad, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, and it’s certainly not something she should try to avoid.
If any diet at all is to be taken, a good idea is to just cut out processed foods, and increase the intake of fruits and vegetables. Just be mindful of what is going into the woman’s body. A lot of cravings come along with pregnancies, but it’s not a bad idea to try and fight the urges and stick to what is healthy, both for the mom and for the baby. If not enough weight is gained then that could mean premature birth, growth development issues, or possibly even miscarriage. It’s important to do what the baby needs.
13 Indulge In A Summer Cocktail
It feels like it shouldn’t need to be said about the dangers of drinking while pregnant, but based on some people’s behaviors, it apparently still needs to be said. If pregnant, DON’T DRINK. I know that summer is a fun time to hang out by the pool and have a few adult beverages, but during pregnancy is not the time to do it. The important thing for a pregnant woman to remember is that she won’t be pregnant forever.
Drinking while pregnant causes a whole slew of problems for the baby, including lifelong physical and mental disabilities, known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. If they even make it that far, i.e. if the fetus is exposed to enough alcohol, then it is likely to be stillborn or die as a miscarriage. This is information that was discovered many years ago, but some people still seem to feel the need to drink while pregnant. It’s a shame.
12 Let The Body Overheat
Being pregnant is a pretty tough time on a woman physically. She’s uncomfortable, she’s cramping, she’s nauseous, her joints ache, and she’s putting on a good deal of weight. In addition to all this, she’s hot. Even if she’s pregnant in the winter, she’s hot. However, if she is pregnant during the summer, then she is really hot. It's important for her to not get overheated by spending too much time outside, as overheating and dehydration go hand in hand.
If a pregnant woman begins complaining about feeling weak, being dizzy or light headed, or feeling extra nauseous, then it’s possible she is overheating. Get her inside, get her feet up, and get some fluids in her system. If her temperatures rises too high, it’s possible the baby will suffer from a neural tube defect. It’s also possible for fetal growth retardation to occur, as well as intrauterine death. A high maternal body temperature could also result in cleft lip.
11 Follow The Party
Okay, so it’s admittedly not just fireworks that should be avoided. It’s really all loud noises, but fireworks are popular in the summer, so that’s what I went with. Frequent loud noises could alter the hormone levels in mom's body. Hormones are exactly what is making this baby grow, so any unnatural change isn’t something that is necessarily recommended.
It’s also possible, although not likely, that very very loud noises will damage the baby’s hearing. The womb muffles most of the sound, but it’s still possible for extremely loud noises to get through. If it’s so loud that they can hear it, chances are good it is raising the mother’s stress levels anyways, which isn’t good for the baby. However, playing some soft music for the baby would probably help soothe both the baby and the mom; music has a wonderful effect on the brain, and even if the baby doesn’t really know what’s happening, it’ll still be good for mom to chill out a bit and listen to some soft tunes.
10 Overdo The Strenuous Workouts
This one has quite a bit of controversy associated with it, as there is a lot of back and forth about the risks and the benefits of exercising hard while pregnant. But since we are talking about summer pregnancies here, let’s focus on the dangers of exercising too hard in the summer. Mainly the concern comes back to the woman not letting herself get overheated. Any sort of outdoor running, or playing (two activities that probably should be avoided, by the by; the running induces some up and down bouncing and the playing competitive sports always introduces a risk of unwanted physical contact) will raise the body temperature, and fast.
It’s also important to consider the joints while pregnant. Any woman is going to put on some weight, and therefore add some stress to the joints. The physical activities that are certainly safe to perform during the summer months are brief walks, preferably in the morning, when it’s cooler, or maybe some pool aerobics. Those will keep the heart rate at a safe level but also help with muscle definition and strength.
9 Live It Up In The Wild
Camping is something that probably should be avoided by a pregnant lady. It contains bugs, sleeping on the uneven ground, bugs, exposure to the sun, bugs, lack of clean water...did I mention bugs? Bugs, like mosquitoes and others in that category, often carry certain viruses that are very dangerous for the mother, for her baby, or for both.
Zika is one that has been in the news quite a bit this past year, as it has made its way to Florida. That is a disease carried by mosquitoes. Another big thing to worry about is Lyme disease, which we discussed earlier. It’s also very difficult just to stay comfortable when camping while pregnant. It’s impossible to maintain body temperature, and again, there’s a lot of sleeping on the uneven ground involved. When compared to the nest of pillows that most pregnant women create for themselves at their home, the thin sleeping pad on rocks and sticks and disease carrying bugs is something of a step-down.
8 Too Much Outdoor Work
This one should be something of a no-brainer as well, especially if you’ve made it this far in the article. Being overheated is bad for both the mom and the baby, so it should be avoided at all costs. Any sort of outdoor work in the summer time raises the body temperature very quickly. It’s also a good deal of exposure to the sun, which as we discussed isn’t the best thing for a developing fetus.
Another issue with working outside as a pregnant mother is that most outdoor work, especially in the summer, requires a good deal of effort. Whether it’s cutting the grass, de-weeding the garden, trimming the hedges, whatever it is that needs to be done, most of it will cause a non pregnant person to break a sweat. Add thirty or forty pounds onto the normal body weight, plus with a lot of energy going towards developing a human being inside, that will up the intensity of the workout, which is essentially what outdoor summer work is. A workout that is just not super marketable.
7 Chow Down On BBQ
I know this one is very difficult. It’s difficult even for non child bearing people. Barbecues are not only fun, but they are oh so delicious. Burgers, hot dogs, chicken, sometimes some pulled pork, maybe some buttered up corn on the cob thrown on the grill...I’m sitting in a library getting hungry just thinking about it. However, a good deal of those foods should be avoided by someone who is growing another someone.
Hot dogs in particular have been cited in many studies as something that a pregnant woman should avoid at all costs. In fact, even as children, they should be avoided, as many children under five who eat hot dogs with some regularity become more at risk for cancer. Hot dogs carry a bacteria known as listeria, which is really bad news for a developing baby. That bacteria is also found in undercooked meats, so if you really need to have that burger, make sure it is thoroughly cooked, even if you do like when a good vet could bring it back to life.
6 Get Too Close To Ticks
Ticks are tiny, nasty little buggers. If you’re unfamiliar with what they look like, you’re lucky; they’re pretty nasty, even when they aren’t filled with blood. They latch onto the skin and then just start sucking. If not caught in time, they will get to be the size of an m&m, and they are just gross. In addition to sucking blood, they also carry a whole host of serious illnesses, the most known being Lyme Disease.
Lyme Disease is a rough diagnosis for anybody. The symptoms aren’t fun at all: severe joint pain, severe fatigue, muscle aches, and often a telltale rash that resembles a bullseye. If left untreated, Lyme can do some serious damage to the brain, nerves, and spinal cord. Lyme can also cause many issues for the baby, including congenital heart disease and possibly stillbirth. Ticks live in wooded areas, or areas of tall grass. If it’s absolutely necessary that a pregnant woman goes into these places, then she better cover up her skin, put all of her clothes in the wash when she gets home, and does a thorough check of herself when she gets home.
5 Overlook The Most Obvious Consequence
This, of course, falls in with the overheating, and the being outside for too long. The biggest concern with those things is the chance of becoming dehydrated. Dehydration in a pregnant woman means dehydration for the baby. One of the best symptoms of dehydration for a pregnant woman is something called maternal overheating (exactly why overheating is something to avoid.) Also, check the color of urine to determine how much fluid is in the system. A clear urine is a healthy urine, and if it’s dark, drink some water.
Lack of proper fluids can mean serious issues for the baby. It can mean neural tube defects, not enough amniotic fluid, and may be insufficient production of breastmilk. In severe cases, it can cause premature labor, or even stillbirth. To limit chances of becoming dehydrated, it is important to drink plenty of water, and avoid products with caffeine in them, as caffeine is a diuretic.
4 Fall For The Lure Of White Sandy Beaches
This one has a fair amount of controversy attached to it. I don’t want to outright say that a pregnant woman shouldn’t go to the beach. However, it might not be the best idea. It’s hot, there’s no shade cover, it’s not recommended that she goes into the ocean as the waves could knock her down. There’s a lot of sun, it’s hard to keep any drink cool...It’s kind of a perfect storm of bad stuff for a woman growing a baby.
With that said, I do understand why someone wouldn’t want to give up the beach. Looking at the ocean is an incredibly calming, humbling activity. The oceans are the lungs of the earth, and that is something I would never want to tell somebody to avoid. So, let’s just make a compromise. When pregnant, maybe just limit beach time to the morning, before it gets too hot, crowded, and kind of a bad idea. Deal? Deal.
3 Get Bikini Waxes
Everybody loves a good wax! Getting all that hair removed, having the smooth skin of a baby’s bottom. It’s a great way to kick off the summer season, clean up the areas that are usually hidden away, but are now going to be exposed to the entire world! It’s a good confidence booster as well. Unfortunately, it may not be the best idea for a woman who is going to be giving birth pretty soon.
Waxing, if done properly, isn’t necessarily going to be harmful to the mother or the baby. However, it is important to know who exactly is doing the waxing. If done improperly, ingrown hairs can occur, which could possibly lead to infection. Infection of any kind is one of the very last things that an expecting mother wants, as it could cause a whole multitude of problems for the baby. So get that maternity swimsuit and embrace the hairy legs and, ahem, other parts.
2 Partake In Deliciously Decadent Iced Coffee
So it’s not just iced coffee to look out for. It’s all caffeine. But this is a summer article! And what is better than a nice iced coffee on a hot July afternoon? Well, maybe the birth of a healthy baby. Oh ya, that’s right. There’s a person in that stomach. Caffeine definitely should be avoided, or at the very very least, limited.
Caffeine is a diuretic, which makes it more difficult to maintain a proper level of hydration. Caffeine itself is also addicting, and a baby’s system is very susceptible to those sorts of things. It would take a good amount of caffeine to get a fetus hooked while in the womb, but it’s not completely unheard of. There is also the concern that since caffeine is a stimulant, and it increases both blood pressure and heart rate, that might not be the safest thing for a baby either. There have also been some studies to try and show that caffeine exposure in the womb increases the risk of diabetes, but those claims are fairly unsubstantiated.
1 Go For Hikes Through The Wetlands
A woman just heard she’s pregnant. Congratulations! Now she is reading a million different sites and articles about doing this, and not doing that, and blah, blah, blah. It can be very overwhelming for a woman who is newly pregnant. But one thing she knows is, she’ll be damned if she’s just going to sit on the couch all day researching. She’s going to get out there and exercise, because that, at least, she knows is a good idea. So as to not take it too far, she decides a nice little stroll through her woods is a good idea. However, what she didn’t know is that that little swamp near the beginning of the trail is a home for some of the most baby hating viruses known to man.
The problem with going near wetlands is, of course, the mosquitoes and other bugs that swarm those areas. Like with camping, these little blood suckers seemingly only have one goal, and that is to make life pretty difficult for us humans, and make life pretty short for any soon-to-be babies. With Zika, Lyme Disease (ticks like these spots too) maybe even some malaria, it is certainly best to avoid these pest-houses as best as possible.
Sources: Popsugar.com, Ovuline.com, BygPub.com, American Pregnancy Association, BabyMed.com