How Heat Affects Summer Pregnancies

20 November, 2020
The symptoms of pregnancy are enhanced when we have a summer pregnancy. Acting preventively can reduce the appearance of harmful effects associated with intense heat.

Summer pregnancies can cause certain fears and uncertainties for many women. They ask themselves what consequences the hot summer temperatures could bring about.

During the summer season, there are more known cases of people suffering from dehydration and the well-known heat strokes. This makes the fears from thinking that it may happen to you all the more powerful.

During any season of the year, it’s important to apply specific care so that your body adapts better to the changes. But this is even more so during the hottest times of the year. For this reason, we’ll explain how to take care of yourself if you’re pregnant during the summer.

The effects of heat on the body

The human body has an internal temperature between 96.8 and 99.5 ºF. At this temperature, our organs have function adequately. However, our internal body temperature can increase if we subject ourselves to intense external heat.

To eliminate this excess internal heat, the body generates sweat. What’s more, an increase in the respiratory rate and heart rate also favors the expulsion of excess internal heat.

One of the effects when the body temperature reaches 102.-104 ºF is weakness or fatigue. These appear because a signal is sent to the muscles not to work in order not to generate more heat. It’s at the moment when we near 106 ºC that the body may stop being active.

A woman holding her pregnant belly.

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Summer pregnancies: Symptoms

Some symptoms occur during pregnancy that can increase significantly during hot weather. For that reason, it’s important to be aware of them if you have a pregnancy in the summer.

  • Fatigue and tiredness: Pregnant women experience greater exhaustion due to the effects that hormones generate in the body. The main hormone that generates this effect is progesterone. When there’s excessive external heat, this symptom worsens.
  • The circulatory system with the appearance or aggravation of varicose veins: One of the main changes that the organism suffers during pregnancy is an increase in the volume of blood. On top of this, you have the dilation of the veins and the pressure on the vena cava due to the size of the uterus. All of these changes begin to make venous return difficult and produce a greater accumulation of blood in the legs.
  • Dizziness or fainting sensations: The changes in the circulatory system also affect how the blood flow reaches the different organs. Because of this, there are usually drops in blood pressure associated with increased blood volume and dilated blood vessels.
  • Dehydration: Pregnant women need more fluids than an unborn child of the same age. When there’s external heat, you need to increase your water intake to avoid overheating.
A pregnant woman standing by a window looking at her belly.

You can also read: Diet for Dehydration: What You Should Consider

Summer Pregnancies: Care

All pregnant women know that they must change certain behaviors in their daily lives during pregnancy. You must be well aware of the health recommendations for this stage.

When a pregnancy occurs in summer, we must pay more attention to the increase in symptoms. For this reason, we must be more careful and pay more attention to carrying out health recommendations correctly, and with the help of professionals in the field of obstetrics.

  • Hydration: Experts recommend increasing your intake of liquids during pregnancy. A pregnant woman needs to drink more than 2 liters a day. What’s more, you should hydrate your skin daily with natural oils.
  • Control blood pressure: To avoid hypotension, it’s advisable to take your blood pressure at different times of the day. In the case of low blood pressure, you can drink beverages with caffeine or theine that can raise the values.
  • Physical activity: During pregnancy, it’s advisable to maintain physical activity that favors blood flow and adequate muscular mobility. To avoid the harmful effects of the heat in summer, you should carry out these activities between 8 and 9 in the morning. Beforehand, make sure you’re properly hydrated.
  • Refresh yourself in swimming pools, the ocean, or showers: During pregnancy, it’s advisable to avoid continuous exposure to heat. To do so, it’s good to be in air-conditioned premises or to take frequent showers or sips in the pool or some other body of water.

Avoid sun exposure during hours of high temperature. It’s better to stay somewhere with air conditioning or fans that help you avoid exposure to high external temperatures.

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  • Valadez, I., Alfaro, N., & Pozos, E. (2003). Cuidados alternativos en la atención del embarazo en Jalisco, México. Cadernos de Saúde Pública19, 1313-1321.