Quick Tips to Beat Pregnancy Discomfort
Discomforts of pregnancy, especially in the summer, are REAL. Beat the heat with these helpful tips:
Go swimming! The buoyancy your body experiences while swimming is a great way to relieve the pressure on your back and joints, and it’s a great way to get some exercise in too. Unless your health care provider has advised against it, exercising during pregnancy is important and will go a long way in making you feel better overall. While exercising, work longer, not harder. Forty minutes of swimming or walking at a moderate pace is better than 10 minutes of intense exercise, if you’re out of breath.
Watch out for that sun. Staying in the shade will definitely keep you cooler, but also remember to protect your skin. Wide brim hats, sunscreen, and loose clothing that covers your body will help to make sure you stay comfortable and safe in pregnancy. Remember to apply sunscreen around every two hours to your entire body, or even more often if you’re swimming or sweating profusely. The best sunscreens to use during pregnancy are ones that do not contain retinol, a version of vitamin A, as too much of this can cause birth defects.
Vacation with family! Enjoy time with your loved ones this summer. If you are having an uncomplicated pregnancy, you are safe to travel until you’re 36 weeks pregnant. Be sure to get up and stretch every couple of hours, and consider wearing compression stockings to keep your legs from swelling. As leg swelling is a common problem in pregnancy, other tips to decrease the swelling include raising your legs whenever possible, resting on your left side, and avoiding long periods of standing.
Treat yourself! Try a cooling neck wrap or a misting fan on those hot summer days outside. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water (aim for 64 oz plus extra if you’re outside or exercising).
Other common symptoms of pregnancy that can start to feel unbearable during the summer months include abdominal cramping and hand/foot numbness.
Most often abdominal cramping is round ligament pain from your baby and uterus growing. This is especially common around 20 weeks gestation, as your muscles and ligaments are undergoing extra pulling and stretching. Tylenol usually helps, but be sure to relax and stretch to help ease the pain. If the pain is severe, constant, accompanied by nausea or vomiting, or if you’re concerned, call your doctor right away to check in.
The numbness and tingling you may experience in your hands and feet can be exacerbated by the heat of the summer. You may notice this more in the morning right after waking up, and it is from swelling that compresses the nerves. Make sure to mention this to your doctor if it comes on suddenly or is really bothersome. You can try a wrist brace at night so you won’t bend your hand in such a way that compresses blood flow.
Being a summer baby myself, I’m partial to these little ones who make their appearance in these hottest months. Hope you have a fun and, most important, safe summer!
Originally published at Pregnancy Discomfort by Dr. Bevan: