Sweltering for 2 – How to beat the heat
The dreaded desert summer is almost upon us. While the rest of the world rejoices about the upcoming warm months, those of us in the Middle East console ourselves by planning trips to escape the sweltering heat.
Having a summer getaway is all well and good for those lucky enough not to be sweating for two, but if travelling is not an option for you, keep these tips in mind to make sure you don’t overheat in the summer. (See Flying While Pregnant
to learn more about flying during your pregnancy.)
Overheating is a medical condition called hyperthermia which may lead to pregnancy complications. As it is very easy for pregnant women to overheat without realising it, it is important to take additional precautions to stay cool, especially in the desert summer.
Symptoms of Overheating
Hyperthermia is the medical term for overheating which may lead to pregnancy complications and may cause contractions that could lead to pre-mature delivery birth defects.
As it is very easy for pregnant women to overheat without realising it, it is important to know the symptoms of hyperthermia and dehydration to prevent more serious complications from happening.
• Dizziness or feeling lightheaded.
• Nausea or headaches.
• Muscle cramps and/or an increase of body temperature.
• More than five contractions or cramps per hour.
• Bright red vaginal bleeding.
• Swelling or puffiness of the face or hands, which are signs of preeclampsia.
• Continuous vomiting.
• Low, dull backache.
• Intense pelvic pressure.
If you feel lightheaded or dizzy, lie down and put a cool cloth on your forehead and at the back of your neck and keep your legs raised. Make sure you get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, and keep cool.
See your doctor immediately should you have any of the other symptoms identified above.
• Swimming is not only great exercise, but also a fantastic way to keep cool during the summer months
• However, while taking a cool dip in the pool may sound refreshing, if your pool is not very well-shaded, going swimming may end up resembling a hot bath (like the Arabian Sea at this time of the year) or the perfect recipe for turning into a red lobster instead. If it is simply too hot to be out in the pool, fill your bathtub with cold water which will help reduce your body temperature and give you a lovely sensation of weightlessness. Add some bubbles to make it a fun soapy soak and bring a magazine and tall glass of ice water to complete the cooling, relaxation experience.
• If having a bath is too time consuming, take frequent cool showers. Where showers are not an option, rinse your wrists under a cold tap to cool your pulse points or use a wetnap on your forehead and back of your neck which should help you cool you down.
• Avoid the midday sun by staying inside during the day in the summer. Take a walk in the evenings when it is less humid and warm.
• If you are out during the day, carry along a little spray bottle to spritz yourself with to cool down.
• Wear lightweight and loose clothing. Exercise wear are great for helping you stay cool.
• Take your time and don’t rush around. Leave earlier for appointments to give yourself extra time to get there as it can be unbearable even just walking from the parking lot to a building.
Nourishing yourself and baby
• Drink lots of water throughout the day, at the very least eight tall glasses. Keep a bottle of water with you all the time. Most supermarkets sell metal flasks which are fantastic for keeping your drinks cool for up to 18 hours.
• Tired of water? Drink fruit juices to excite your taste buds. Most restaurants serve up fresh fruit juices which are deliciously refreshing during the summer.
• Even if you are not especially hungry during the hot summer months, remember to eat small meals frequently as you need to maintain sufficient nutrition for the baby. Snack on juicy fruits like watermelon, strawberries, and apples or substitute heavy meals with light salads and cold meals.
• Keep in mind that during Ramadan, most food courts and many restaurants are closed until sunset so be sure to pack snacks and water if you will be out for a few hours. While pregnant women are exempted from fasting, try to be sensitive to people who may be fasting around you and try not to eat or drink too overtly in public.
Reducing the Swelling
As women retain additional fluid to help support the changes happening in the body caused by heat, warmer temperatures can increase the swelling of the feet, hands, and legs.
To help reduce the swelling, keep your legs and feet elevated to a spot higher than your heart level for 20 to 30 minutes and drink plenty of water (yes, it helps even if it sounds contradictory).
What to do during the summer months
• With the many malls around town, walking around shopping centres and large supermarkets can be a good exercise and a cure for cabin fever (although it might lead to unnecessary exercise of the credit cards).
• Since air conditioning tends to be cranked up to the max in the malls and other public places during the summer, be sure to carry a cardigan with you to wrap up while inside.
• Being cooped up indoors gives you the best excuse to catch up on old movies or t.v. shows. Stock up on some boxed DVD sets and settle into your couch.
• Been meaning to read that book all your friends were talking about? Now’s your chance to read those books you always wanted to. Better yet, start a book club so you can discuss those interesting bits of the book with other readers.
• It is so easy to neglect correspondence with our friends and families back home so take advantage of being house-bound to catch up on your e-mails or create a blog or journal of your expat life so your little one can see what Mummy and Daddy have been up to when she is old enough.
• Create a time capsule for the year that your baby was born by clipping out interesting news or magazine articles (or go to online news sites and print them out), downloading hit songs of that year, saving ticket stubs of movies or events you attended that year and put them all into a collage or in a box so that your child can learn about what was happening in the world and your life the year he was born.
• Since your bundle of joy will take up so much more space in your home, take this opportunity to give away your old clothes and other junk cluttering up the drawers and storage areas. You will soon need more room to fit in the baby stroller, cot, must-have latest toys and gadgets, and even extra diapers.