Staying active during pregnancy can be challenging: you may be dealing with fatigue, nausea, balance issues, and discomfort. Staying active can be doubly challenging when you’re pregnant in the summer and already tend to run hot! Here are some ways to be active and keep fit while you’re pregnant in the summer. Remember, ask your midwife before starting any sort of exercise program, and make sure your activity is okay before starting it. If you’re not feeling well during the activity, stop and rest, and call your midwife if you are concerned.

As always, stay hydrated and drink water before, during, and after you exercise. By the time you’re thirsty, you’re already slightly dehydrated. Coconut water and low-calorie sports drinks can help replace minerals and nutrients (just check with your midwife that it’s okay). A great rule of thumb to see if you’re hydrated enough is to check your urine: if it’s pale, pale yellow to clear, you’re sufficiently hydrated.

Stay away from certain times of the day
Since humidity can make you feel fatigued, it’s best to avoid doing any kind of outside activity during mid-day/early afternoon times, when the temperature and humidity tend to be at their highest. Aim for early morning or early evening, if possible. If you’re allergic to pollen, the evening might be better, compared to the morning.

Still want to fit in a lunchtime walk? Why not move it indoors to an air-conditioned gym, or even go to the local mall or shopping center and walk briskly around? You’ll stay active (and cool!).

Choose workout wear wisely
Go for light colors and wicking fabrics like polyester; both of these factors help keep you cool by regulating your body temperature, especially your core temperature, which is crucial in keeping your baby healthy. Try a visor instead of a hat, to keep your head cooler.

Hit the water
Put on your sunscreen (if outdoors) and take a swim! Swimming is a great exercise to do when you’re pregnant – suddenly, you’re lightweight, the water supports and cushions you, and it feels good on a hot day. If you’re swimming laps, it’s a good idea to wear a heart rate monitor or keep track of your heart rate, since though it might not feel like it, you do sweat and get quite the workout from swimming, and it can raise blood pressure.

Listen to your body
If you find yourself especially fatigued or short of breath in the heat, don’t force yourself to work out outside. Do a prenatal yoga class or DVD, try some stretches or light resistance work, go to the gym or indoor pool, or walk around the mall. Don’t feel bad about cutting a workout short or modifying it because of the heat, either. The most important thing is your health and your baby’s health.

What are some things you’ve done to stay active when you’re pregnant in the summer?