Heat wave: Dangerous to baby-to-be?

I am 11-weeks-pregnant. Because of the recent heat wave, I have spent some time in very warm conditions. Is this harmful to my baby-to-be?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

If you have kept hydrated and have not suffered heat exhaustion (increased core temperature, lightheadedness and dry mucus membranes), you can be reassured that your baby is doing well. Babies are well protected from the hottest climates as long as the mother is hydrated.

Pregnant women suffer in the heat because of the extra weight they are carrying and the tendency to retain water. Edema, or water retention, is much more common in the hot weather. It may seem contradictory, but assuring an adequate intake of water and fluids will actually alleviate edema: The kidneys are able to filter better with adequate fluid intake.

Dehydration is a critical concern for women who are pregnant during a hot spell because it has been shown to cause preterm contractions. Make sure you get about eight ounces of fluid every one to two hours.

If possible, exercise during the early morning hours or in an air conditioned space. Several shorter periods of exercise should be substituted for longer ones when the weather is hot.

A final tip for the expecting mom: Be sure to wear light colored clothing and use sunscreen if you must be out in the sun!

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