Ochsner Offers Tips for Expectant Moms to Beat Summer's Heat
SLIDELL, LA - As the heat continues it is important for everyone to take precautions outdoors, especially pregnant women. Pregnancy naturally elevates the body's temperature, causing these women to suffer heat exhaustion more rapidly in extreme temperatures and potentially harming the unborn child.
"Louisiana's heat and humidity make it easy to lose fluids due to perspiration. Oftentimes we are not aware of how much fluid we are actually losing, thus increasing the risk of dehydration," says Ochsner Medical Center - North Shore Chief of OB/GYN Blake Landry, MD, FACOG. Dehydration in pregnant women is dangerous as it can increase the risk for premature contractions which could cause early labor. In addition, the amniotic fluid levels can drop, posing a risk to the baby's well being.
Dr. Landry recommends the following tips for expectant moms to stay cool this summer:
• Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water everyday
• Exercise indoors as much as possible (with doctor-approved exercises only)
• Run errands in the early morning hours when temperatures are cooler
• Take frequent breaks during the day
• Wear light, loose-fitting clothing
• Carry a small spritz bottle of water to cool off periodically
In addition to drinking plenty of fluids, Dr. Landry recommends using plenty of sunscreen with a good sun block. "Not only will the sunscreen prevent future skin damage, but it will also help protect moms from skin cancers, which we are seeing more frequently in younger women," he says.
Because heat stroke is a very relevant concern for pregnant women in summer months, women should pay attention to their bodies and contact their physician if they suspect any signs of heat stroke or heat-related symptoms. Common signs and symptoms of heat stroke include:
• Difficulty breathing
• Rapid pulse
• Flushed skin
• Absence of sweating
• Confusion and disorientation