The Endless Summer - Surviving a Summer Pregnancy
Ah, the dreaded summer pregnancy. Because growing your own personal space heater inside your body isn’t hard enough without having to do it during the summer months. Where your pregnancy glow is actually the sun glinting off your sweat, and you get constant looks of pity from everyone you meet.
I’ve suffered through three summer pregnancies and have lived to tell about it! It seems that no matter how long we tried to get pregnant, we were only able to achieve our goal in the fall. And being a military family meant I got to experience three summer pregnancies in three separate locations. My first pregnancy was spent in the Southern California desert. Yeah. It was 117 degrees on the August day my first baby was born. But it was a dry heat #eyeroll #sarcasm. My second baby was born in July in Washington, which sounded like it’d be cooler – and it was… except for the 2 weeks of summer when it wasn’t. And no one has air conditioning. I spent a lot of time in the frozen foods aisle of my grocery store. Baby three was born in August in Florida. I wasn't the only one who suffered through that one - my two older kids were out of school, but it was too hot most days to even get to the pool.
I can assure you I never felt like I was glowing and gorgeous like all of these stock photo women look. Nope. I was a hot, sweaty, miserable mess. There were a handful of things I learned during my string of summer pregnancies that helped me hate life a little less. Hopefully these can help you hate life a little less too.
The most obvious choice when you feel as large as a whale is to get your body into a body of water. When I was pregnant with my first we had a single friend who had a pool at his house. He offered for me to use it whenever I wanted while he was at work during the day, and it was the single best pregnancy gift anyone could have ever given me. I was safely hidden behind his property walls and didn’t have to fight anyone for a lounge chair. Not only does the pool (or beach, or even your bathtub) help you keep cool, but the water pressure can help reduce swelling.
While hydration is vital, it’s a tricky thing. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated so it’s important to be proactive with your liquid consumption. But it’s also possible to drink *too* much water and throw your electrolytes off. And then there are those of us for whom even regular water triggers heartburn. I lived off a mix of fruit infused water, bottled electrolyte water, and sparkly water (I bought a Soda Stream… best pregnancy investment ever!). And if you’re feeling fancy and miss feeling like an adult human, there are some fantastic mocktail recipes out there.
Eat salt. No, I’m not kidding. While salt can cause water retention and swelling for *regular* people… you’re no longer a regular person while pregnant. You now utilize salt in a different way, primarily because you have such a large increase in blood volume, and blood cells require salt water. Restricting or limiting salt while pregnant puts you at risk for hypertension. While table salt can help with iodine supplementation, it also comes with bleaching and anti-caking chemicals. I prefer natural salts like Himalayan or Celtic which contain beneficial trace minerals.
Exercise is really important during pregnancy, but exercising in the heat can not only be miserable, it can be dangerous. So utilizing mornings & evenings for your activity can be helpful. During my first pregnancy in the desert, my husband and I used to take walks around our neighborhood in the evenings after we’d had dinner. Indoor exercises are a good option as well, and water classes or swimming are fantastic options as well.
Keep Cool & Carry On
Not everything about a summer pregnancy sucks though. While you suffer through the kind of heat that no one should ever have to endure, remind yourself of the underestimated benefits of summer pregnancy: you won't have to shell out money for expensive oversized winter coats that you’ll never wear again, you can get away with wearing a lot of your pre-pregnancy stretchy clothes and bathing suits, and everyone around you will take so much pity on you for your lot in life that they will have way more patience for your grumpy pregnant self. I lived to tell about it, and promise you will too!