Originally Posted to Huffington Post; July 15, 2016

By Dr. Kecia Gaither

With the mid-point of the summer season blazing forth, heat waves such as that experienced by the New York area last week are not out of sight yet. While uncomfortable for most, brutally high temperatures and humidity can be especially exhausting – and dangerous – for the expectant mom, whose body temperature is already a little bit higher than normal and who is at higher risk for dehydration due to morning sickness and frequent bathroom pit stops.

Given such, it’s important to stay cool, amply hydrated and safe as a momma-to-be. Here are some important things to keep in mind during these dog days of summer on how to beat the heat.

Here comes the Hotstepper…

Heat stroke is a serious medical matter that should NOT be taken lightly. Although it most commonly strikes those 50 and older, anyone at risk of dehydration and exposure to extreme heat is in danger of heat stroke. Know the signs of dehydration and heat stroke – nausea, dizzy spells, feeling faint and/or fainting, headache, confusion – and take action by seeking immediate medical attention should any be experienced.

Good things come to those who sweat…

High temperatures cause perspiration, perspiration can lead to dehydration, and dehydration can lead to contractions– which is NOT a good thing if it leads to preterm labor. It’s important to maintain adequate hydration for us ALL, but especially for the pregnant ladies out there. When pregnant, women are at a higher risk of becoming dehydrated.

While it is always a good idea to have H20 within reach, sports drinks, juices and lemonade are a great source to assist with replacing your body’s much needed electrolytes that are lost in the heat, while sustaining a healthy level of body water.

If the shoe fits…

Well-documented by Kim Kardashian throughout her pregnancies, oft-times those with child, experience swelling in their extremities. As high-temps also cause the body to retain water more so than usual, the combination of pregnancy and extreme heat equates to a near 100% chance that those cute strappy sandals that fit perfectly when purchased during last summer’s end of season sale may not fit as they once did. Avoid the discomfort entirely by choosing sensible non constricting sandals such as a staple flip flop or a slip on sandal.

Look cool while staying cool…

The emergence of seriously cute styles fashioned from breathable fabrics allows for gym rats AND those expecting to look good and feel great at the same time. While pregnant, opt for clothes that stretch, accompanying your body’s changing curves; the breathable fabric provided by cotton/cotton blends will keep you cool and also ward off uncomfortable rashes caused by a combination of heat sweat underneath your breasts, between your thighs and your bump.

Let’s move, baby…

Exercising during pregnancy has long been known to carry many benefits – boosting your mood and energy, reducing the risk of back pain by keeping your muscles toned and strong, reducing excessive weight gain, etc. – but should always be done with caution – and with the blessing of your health care provider – especially when doing so during the brutal heat of summer months.

Consider altering your fitness routine in the summer season to include aquatic activities and to factor in cooler times of day; not only does jumping in the pool cool you off, it provides a weightless environment to tone your muscles and take pressure off your sciatic nerve.

Red lips are always in style… Red skin? Not so much…

Summertime and sand go hand in hand. Unfortunately, if not diligent with applying sunblock regularly AND liberally to your sensitive pregnant skin, a day at the beach can also lead to overexposure of the sun’s strong rays and sunburn.

Be sure to apply a high SPF sunscreen – no lower than 30 SPF – to all exposed skin before and during your seaside excursion.

So, to my ‘hot mammas’ out there, take heed and like Sly Stone says, have some “hot fun in the summertime,” staying cool, safe, and collected.