Worried about not being able to work out in the summer while you are expecting a child? The truth is that unless your doctor hasn’t advised you against exercising, there should be no problems with staying active during your summer pregnancy.
But there are some tips which you need to follow, in order to ensure that you and your baby stay safe when you are exercising in the hotter days of the year. Here are the basic rules for summer exercising for expectant mothers which you should follow:
1. Schedule your outdoor physical activities for the cooler and less humid parts of the day. Make sure you go out to run, walk or exercise either in the early or late hours of the day to avoid the excessive heat and humidity which can cause pregnant women to feel fatigue and can lead to heat stress, especially in the first trimester of the pregnancy. Even runners preparing for a race prefer to avoid the scorching hot hours, so be wise and do your workouts in the cooler hours of the day. If you suffer from hay fever or asthma, avoid the morning pollen times, and instead choose the late hours of the day to go outdoors for a walk or exercise. If you are planning on a midday work out, make sure you do it indoors, preferably with an air conditioner on.
2. Hydrate properly before a workout. Do not wait until you get thirsty to drink water or other fluids. Instead, make sure you drink 17-20 ounces a couple of hours before exercising, and then continue drinking 7-10 ounces every 20 minutes while you are working out. You can weigh yourself before and after a workout to check if you are properly hydrated. Drink water, coconut water or low calorie sports drinks which will provide you with the carbs you need for the exercise. Refrain from drinking zero-calorie sports drinks.
3. Wear lightweight, quick drying and moisture-wicking clothes in light colors which reflect the sunlight. These breathable clothes will help you stay comfortable and will ensure that your body temperature is properly regulated during your workout. They will also help prevent heat rash which commonly occurs during pregnancy, especially underneath the breasts. Avoid any constrictive clothing, especially around your waist. Pay attention to your footwear as well – wear comfortable and breathable sports shoes such as these from Runabees for both your workouts and leisure walks.
4. Do not forget to wear sunblock when you are working out outdoors or when you are going out for any kind of activity during the summer. Pregnant women are more susceptible to sunburn than non-pregnant ones, so apply sunscreen generously to any parts of the body which are showing out of your clothing. Protect your eyes with sunglasses, wear a large brim hat for extra shade, and wear long sleeves and pants to protect the skin.
5. Use a heart monitor to control your heart rate. You should make sure that it stays below 140 beats per minute while you are exercising. This goes for lower intensity activities during the summer as well. Keeping your heartrate and blood pressure at the recommended levels especially in the summer is very important for your and for your baby’s safety.
6. Make sure that you stay indoors and work in air-conditioned areas when the temperature outside is scorching hot. According to the Mayo clinic, raising your body temperature to 102 degrees or higher increases the risk of miscarriage or spinal cord and brain abnormalities of the baby. Since a lot of the blood in your body is used for the baby’s nourishment, staying cool becomes more difficult during pregnancy.
7. Get cooled off by enjoying a dip and some swimming or take an aquasize class for expectant moms.
8. Carry a squirt bottle to spray yourself with cool water while you are exercising outdoors.