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Pregnancy

A Pregnant Woman’s Guide to Surviving Summer

Jessica Shepherd, MD, MBA
January 3, 2019 . 2 min read

Being pregnant can be hard enough — especially near the end — but pregnancy in the sticky heat of summer is a whole different kind of miserable. The common complaints in pregnancy during the summer are dehydration, swelling in the feet, overheating, and constipation. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make summer more bearable.

The first thing pregnant women need to do during the heat is keep hydrated. The current recommendation for water intake is drinking 8–10 glasses of water each day. Swelling in the feet can be alleviated by wearing TED hose (compression stockings) and elevating the legs when possible.

If you\’re traveling, it\’s important to keep moving, whether you\’re in an airplane, train, or on a long car ride. Standing and walking around increases blood flow to the legs and reduces the risk of a dangerous blood clot forming in the veins of your legs.

The good news is that it\’s generally safe to travel, including flying, until 32-34 weeks gestation for most low-risk pregnancies. After that, or if you have a high-risk pregnancy, it\’s best to consult with your OB before booking the flight.

Don\’t neglect your feet! The average woman sees her feet grow by about half a size during the nine months she\’s pregnant. Like so many other pregnancy symptoms, this change is due to hormones. As your joints become looser, the small bones in your feet can spread, leading to longer and wider feet. In addition, pregnancy swelling caused by fluid retention can make your shoes feel even tighter. Look for shoes such as ballet flats, athletic shoes, and sandals that have adjustable bands and low, wide heels for better support.

Finally, many women suffer from annoying summer allergies. You might be surprised to learn that some allergy medications are allowed—but you should always ask your OB about potential risks before starting any regular medication. If you\’re struggling with allergy symptoms, it might help to avoid triggers by limiting your exposure to anything that triggers your allergy symptoms and also trying saline nasal spray.

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