With summer well underway, the heat, humidity, and grueling temperatures not only take a toll on a typically healthy pregnant woman, but can be downright dangerous. Knowing your limits with the heart, your current condition, and the side effects of over exposure is crucial to the health of yourself and your baby as well.
If your body core temperature runs too high, it can cause permanent damage to your baby. This can all be avoided by being mindful of how you feel (dizzy, lightheaded, faint) and being sure to stay hydrated. Remember, hydration for tomorrow actually begins today, so drink up! Adding fresh fruits to your water will infuse your beverage with wonderful flavors and make drinking water seem effortless.
While there are plenty of things that you can do for fun or exercise while pregnant, there are some that you should stay away from entirely, especially during the hottest days of summer. Try and find activities that you can tolerate, are easy on the body, and won’t cause harm to you or your baby. Get with some other local pregnant women, join mommy groups, or start one of your own.
Hanging out with people who are in the same boat as you will help you have fun, get out and about, and explore some new things locally. Being in a mommy group can also benefit later on when it comes time to have play dates, babysitters, and when you may need someone to call in a crisis. You’ll always have someone to help you out with ideas, give you advice, and just be your friend when you need it.
While enjoying your summer, remember those activities that can do more harm than good. Here are the 7 worst physical activities a pregnant woman can do during the hottest day of summer:
While not normally recommended anyway, sunbathing can be extremely dangerous while pregnant. During pregnancy, you can be ultra sensitive (more than usual) to UV rays and be prone to burning, overheating, or dehydration. Getting a sunburn normally is painful, exhausting, and can prevent you from completing your daily activities.
But getting a sunburn while pregnant feels like it’s 100 times worse than that. The pain feels worse and you’re already tired as it is. Go ahead and forget getting anything done. Getting a sunburn while pregnant is just pure torture that you don’t need at this time in your life. If you want to enjoy the sun, do so moderately and modestly.
Wear comfortable and light colored clothing that is also light weight. Sitting in the shade, under an umbrella, or on a porch is another alternative to enjoy the sun without risking yours or your baby’s health. Be sure to stay hydrated with plenty of water and retreat to indoors if you feel hot, dizzy, faint, or nauseous.
6 Contact Sports
Contact sports are dangerous enough, but add pregnancy and you have a recipe for a huge disaster. Sports like soccer, football, roller derby, or rugby are just some examples of contact sports to stay away from while pregnant. Another risk you can avoid is spontaneous blunt force trauma.
This can be directly to you in places like the head, face, or belly, which can adversely affect your baby. If you choose to partake in contact sports, make sure you get cleared from your physician first. If they say it’s okay for you, then proceed with extreme caution. The risk of overheating from the grueling activity is extremely high, not to mention the possibility of causing pre-term labor, just isn’t worth it.
Cheering from the sidelines with plenty of rest and hydration can be fun and entertaining and leave the brutality to the other players. You can always play again after you safely deliver your baby.
5 Sauna/Hot Tubs
While a lot of gyms offer saunas and hot tubs, they can have a lot of positive benefits. However, sitting in a sauna or hot tub, even for a few minutes, can have tragic results, including miscarriage. Even in cooler weather, a hot tub carries temperatures well over 100 degrees, which in turn will raise your core body temperature.
Stay completely away from both of these activities while pregnant and enjoy watching others instead. Even though it’s a joyful activity that will be missed, it’s not worth even the slightest risk of harming yourself or your baby. Ask your doctor when it will be safe for you to return to using the hot tub or sauna after you have safely delivered your baby.
If you previously frequented both of these places, it will seem like forever and perhaps torturous, but worth it not to even think about venturing into one while pregnant. Just wait it out until you can safely do so under the direction of your doctor.
Even if you ran previously to being pregnant, running can be extremely dangerous in elevated temperatures. Running while pregnant can cause all kinds of issues that you certainly didn’t bargain for when you found out you were pregnant. All that jumping, jarring, and high impact exercise can cause premature labor, fluid leakage, or bleeding.
It is never a good idea to participate in an activity like running without the permission or supervision of your doctor. Although running is a great exercise, learning to moderate running (walking) is perfectly fine. Walking, speed walking, or leisurely strolling is a much better idea, especially when it’s hot outside. Taking several brisk walks early in the morning and late in the evening when the temperatures are cooler will work out better for you and your baby.
A good rule of thumb is if it’s too hot for your pet, then it’s much too hot for you and your baby. Remember to stay hydrated and take water with you on your walks. As always, stop activity if you feel dizzy, faint, or nauseous.
3 Water Skiing/Surfing
Although water skiing and surfing are wonderful summer activities, they are also extremely dangerous to participate in during pregnancy, no matter how hot the weather is. Not only can these two activities cause serious trauma to you and your baby, a quick fall off of a surfboard or skis can quickly be a blunt force casualty.
Falling face first, belly first, or even on your back, can cause an extraordinary amount of pain and can do internal damage without you initially realizing it. If you are surfing (especially alone) and happen to fall, it can take what seems like forever for help to arrive. Even for the seasoned water sports fan, this can be entirely way too risky.
Even if you had a perfect day on the water, the exposure to the heat, sun, and saltwater can take a huge toll on your hydration levels. You can become dehydrated without even knowing it and it’s possible you could suffer from heat exhaustion or even heat stroke. It’s best to sit this one out, take care of you and baby, and enjoy the festivities from the lawn chair. Enjoy your relaxation while you can, because baby will be here soon enough!
Unless you were an avid cyclist before, a bike is not a good idea at all. While cycling can be some of the best exercise, it can do more harm than good, especially if you just hop on and attempt a joy ride without practice. Cycling requires a good sense of balance and during pregnancy, balance can sometimes be non-existent, causing you to trip, bump into things, or even fall.
Falling off a bike can hurt pretty bad, fall off while pregnant can be even worse. Add the heat to this equation and this scenario could get ugly really fast. Even if your balance is on point , the heat alone can cause dizziness and put your balance in jeopardy. The best thing to do is if you’re going to insist on riding, contact your doctor and get their permission first. Go with someone else, ride leisurely and limit your time on the bike.
Be sure not to overdo yourself, stay hydrated, and take breaks as necessary.
As you can see, these activities can be very dangerous to participate in the hottest days of summer. It’s advisable that you find other things that you can do instead of these. If you still think that you can participate in these activities, please contact your doctor first, get some serious medical advice, and follow that advice to the letter.
You don’t want to harm yourself, your baby, or have a serious accident or casualty while out and about with no one around to assist you. Enjoy your summer, enjoy being pregnant, and most of all, take good care of your health.
Other activities that you can consider doing in the hottest days of summer are swimming, walking, water aerobics, spinning, and light weight lifting. Being in the water while pregnant (and out of the heat) can be good on your aching joints and muscles. You don’t have to do a lot in the water to get some good exercise.
Be sun smart, watch the weather and pay attention to the humidex
Even power walking or doing water aerobics in a pool is a good way to get the blood flowing, the heart rate up, and get some good exercise in without over exerting yourself in the heat. Opt for a covered or indoor pool if possible, bring plenty of water, and be sure to take breaks. If you choose to do spinning, take it easy, go at a comfortable pace, and bring water to the class. Be sure to stay hydrated and not overdo it.
Walking is always a great way to get some great exercise in and it’s low risk. You can meet up with several people and go together or go alone. You can even bring your pet along for a light stroll in the neighborhood and they will surely enjoy that as well. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise, you can see the city or neighborhood up close and personal, and it’s something you can continue to do after your baby arrives.
If you still need ideas of great activities that you can do while pregnant, contact your friends, church, or neighbors and see what they are doing for fun and get some good suggestions from them. Chances are they will be willing to include you in their fun.
As always, get a clearance from your doctor first before participating in any sort of physical activity.
1 Berry Picking
Oh, boy! This activity is back breaking, for those in perfect health. Add the fact that you’re pregnant, and this activity could put you on bed rest for life. All that kneeling, squatting, bending, reaching, and stretching will have you worn out in no time.
Even the most elite athlete and gardener will have a hard time out in the blistering heat gathering berries for their favorite pregnancy recipes. Trust me on this one, it’s best to sit this one out! Opt instead for already picked fresh berries locally either at the farm or market, and leave the berry picking to the summer help. You can still enjoy the wonderful berries of summer without risking your health and you won’t overheat in the process.
Being out in that heat can be dangerous, even if you head out in the early morning. That heat will creep up on you fast, and before you know it, it’s too late. Be good to you and baby and grab a pint of berries, enjoying them in a cooler environment.