Most of us breathe a sigh of relief when summer rolls around. The sun is shining, the neighborhood kids are playing, and it stays light out until eight or nine at night. But when you’re pregnant, summertime doesn’t quite have the same allure. While other women are reading articles about getting their bodies ready for bikini season, you’re glumly picking from a dowdy selection of one-pieces.
But don’t worry! You don’t have to give up on summer fun because you’re expecting. Put that floral muumuu down and break out a bikini of your own; there’s no reason not to show off your new curves. Take a cue from these celebrities and wear that bump with pride! Whether you’re at the local pool or simply taking in some vitamin D in the backyard, your pregnancy shouldn’t limit your summertime activities.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
There are, however, some extra precautions you’ll want to take. Hot weather means sweat, and as you’re radiating heat, you’ve got to replenish these lost liquids by drinking plenty of water. Regardless of how many weeks you are into your pregnancy, pregnant (and breastfeeding) women need much more water than others. Aim to drink at least 100 ounces (three liters) of water per day. That’s about six bottles of water, if you’re drinking half liters.
Hydration isn’t the only important factor you need to keep an eye on during your summer pregnancy. You can be well hydrated and still overheat if you’re sitting out in the hot sun. There’s nothing nicer than enjoying a beautiful day outside, but the sun poses some dangers to pregnant women.
Protect that Skin
Pretty much everything about your body changes during pregnancy, and that includes your skin. Skin tags and new or changing moles are not uncommon, but that can make it difficult to detect potential melanomas. If you develop an asymmetrical mole during pregnancy (or any other time!), make an appointment with a dermatologist to have it checked out.
Even if you’re not worried about moles or skin cancer, changes in your skin can result in melasma, also called “the mask of pregnancy.” This is when patches of skin, usually on the face, become darker. While it’s not harmful, many women find it less than attractive. Sunscreen can help you to avoid melasma. If you can’t stand sunscreen, put on a hat and wear long sleeves to avoid exposure.
Desperate for that sun-kissed glow? Skip indoor or outdoor tanning, and try a bronzing powder instead. Self-tanners haven’t been around for very long, and there aren’t many studies on how dihydroxyacetone (DHA), the primary ingredient in most sunless tanners, can affect an expectant mother or her fetus. Since you typically slather this type of lotion all over your body, it’s possible that it’s absorbed by the skin and could have some type of effect on your unborn child. Skip the sunless tanners. Play it safe and spend your summer sans tan.
What else can you do to stay cool when it’s hot out? Stay inside! There’s no shame in cranking up the air conditioning and holing up indoors when it’s a scorcher. If you’re in your third trimester, you probably aren’t exactly looking forward to a long walk in the bright sun. Get in your exercise by heading to the mall; many malls open early, so you can join the mall-walking crowd without the temptation to make a purchase.
If you are going to spend time outside, be prepared. Bring a small fan or fill a spray bottle with water so you can cool yourself down. Sit in the shade or bring an umbrella. Buy that big, floppy hat you’ve always wanted. If you start feeling ill or faint, get inside and cool off for a bit. Now is not the time to explore long stretches of sandy beaches with no shelter in sight, but you can certainly enjoy a day by the ocean! With your water bottle in tow, you’ll be ready for outdoor family fun despite the heat.