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Hot weather and high body temperature during pregnancy

 Staying hydrated during pregnancy Being pregnant in the summer can be challenging. We discuss the risks of hot weather and high body temperature during pregnancy, and how to beat the heat.

Some moms-to-be find being pregnant in the summer months a challenge due to the hot weather. If a pregnant women’s core body temperature rises too high, her baby has a slightly higher risk of complications that could affect their development or lead to birth defects.

So it’s important to take it easy and stay cool when pregnant. This is especially true during a heatwave when there is a greater risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

High body temperature in pregnancy

Many women say they feel hotter during pregnancy. This is despite the limited evidence to suggest pregnant women’s core body temperature is actually any higher than usual because of pregnancy.

Yet warmer weather can certainly make pregnant women feel more hot and uncomfortable. Hot weather can also lead to dehydration, fatigue, heat exhaustion, fainting or even heatstroke, which can be fatal. So it’s really important to keep cool when pregnant.

Risks of overheating

If a pregnant woman’s body temperature rises above 102.5°F in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, the baby has a slightly increased risk of having a birth defect. A woman’s body temperature would not typically be so high without a fever or exercising in a very hot and humid climate before acclimatizing.

It’s best to avoid overexerting yourself, particularly in the first trimester of pregnancy. If there is a sudden heatwave and it’s very hot and humid, you will need to take it easy and avoid exercising. That is, until you’ve acclimated, which will take a few days.

Water temperature

Swimming or having a cool bath during a heatwave can help you to feel less hot and bothered. If you are having a bath, exercising in water or swimming in a pool, the water temperature shouldn’t be above 89.6°F. If you are using a hydrotherapy pool, the water temperature should not exceed 95°F.

If you’re going out or are exercising in warm weather, you’ll want to be prepared. You could carry a water spray in your bag so you can spray yourself with some cold water to cool off quickly. You could also try putting your wrists under cold running water or pouring a little water from your bottle over them.

Melasma  Melasma

Avoiding the sun can help prevent melasma also called pregnancy mask. Melasma is a common skin condition in which brown or grayish patches of pigmentation develop. It usually develops on the face.

This condition is more common in women, especially during pregnancy. Up to 50% of women may be affected.

One of the most important things to prevent melasma worsening is protecting yourself from UV radiation. You can do this by avoiding the sun, wearing a wide-brimmed hat when you are outside and by wearing suntan lotion factor 30 or above, with a high UVA rating.

Swollen ankles

Ankles, feet and fingers can swell in pregnancy, as your body retains more water than usual. It is often worse during hot weather, at the end of the day and further into your pregnancy.

Throughout the day, the extra water tends to gather in the lowest parts of the body, especially if the weather is hot or you’ve been standing a lot. The pressure of your growing womb can also affect the blood flow in your legs, which can cause fluid to build up in your legs, ankles, and feet.

If you are pregnant and experience a sudden swelling of your face, hand or feet, and a severe headache, contact your midwife, GP or OB straight away, as these could be signs of pre-eclampsia.

Heat exhaustion

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • dizziness and confusion
  • loss of appetite and feeling sick
  • excessive sweating and pale
  • clammy skin
  • cramps in arms, legs, and stomach
  • fast breathing and pulse
  • temperature of 100.4 degrees F or above
  • intense thirst.

 If someone shows signs of heat exhaustion, they need to be cooled down. Move them into a cool place in the shade or indoors and get them to lie down with their feet up. They should drink water to rehydrate. Cool them with a fan or cool water spray. They should start to feel better or cool down within 30 minutes.

Heatstroke is a medical emergency and can be fatal if not treated quickly.

Call 911 if the person:

  • is no better after 30 minutes
  • feels hot and dry
  • is not sweating even though they are too hot
  • has a temperature that's risen to 40°C or above
  • is breathing rapidly or has shortness of breath
  • is confused
  • has a fit (seizure)
  • loses consciousness
  • is unresponsive.


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