Summertime means hotter weather and hotter workouts. It’s important, especially if pregnant, to stay safe by drinking enough water and wearing proper clothing. Hyperthermia (abnormally high body temperature) is not uncommon during pregnancy. Hyperthermia is usually caused from fever during an illness. However, it can occur during extremely heavy exercise or prolonged exposure to a heat source such as a hot tub or bath. Studies have shown an increased risk for neural tube defects (NTD) in babies of women with high temperatures. Exercise and heat both raise core body temperature so it is important to take precautions. Besides hyperthermia, there are concerns of heat stroke, dehydration and other heat related illnesses.
1) Hydrate! Drink water before, during and after exercise. Drinking a beverage with carbohydrates and electrolytes such as coconut water may assist with hydration. Weigh yourself before and after exercise. If you have lost weight, you need to drink more water!
2) Adjust exercise times. You may need to exercise earlier in the morning or later at night to avoid extreme heat. The American College of Sports Medicine advises women to avoid high heat and humidity, especially during the first trimester.
3) Dress appropriately. You will want to wear light colored, breathable materials. Many synthetic fitness materials are made to allow evaporation of sweat. Tight clothing restricts your body’s ability to cool down.
4) Adjust your workout based on the heat. You may need to lower the intensity if the conditions are uncomfortable. You may need to take your workouts indoors. This is not a time to keep up with your hot yoga practice for example.
5) Cool yourself. Be prepared to use water or a cold cloth to help cool you down if you are feeling overheated. Splashing it on your face or pouring water over your head will help cool you down quickly.
Be familiar with the signs of heat exhaustion. Stop exercising if you feel light headed, dizzy, nauseas or unsteady. If you don’t feel well, it’s time to stop. Get some fluids, cool off and seek a cool environment. If you don’t feel better in 30 minutes, call your doctor.
The good news is that heat related illness is largely preventable. Stay smart, stay cool and have fun!
Lisa Druxman, M.A., Founder of FIT4MOM, and PAM Advisory Team Member
*Always speak with a medical provider before starting any exercise program.
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed by Lisa Druxman, Fit4Mom, and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Pregnancy Awareness Month (PAM) or any employee thereof. PAM is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by Lisa Druxman, or Fit4Mom. Consult with your own medical provider regarding your individual health questions or concerns.
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