The rising number of women of child-bearing age experiencing heat-related health problems has led many doctors to recommend that women avoid strenuous exercise outside during the hottest parts of the day. Further complicating matters is the fact that pregnant women often aren’t cognizant of the dangers of heat. Many women claim they don’t receive proper heat warnings from doctors.
Heat stress during pregnancy can pose a unique threat to both you and your baby. It’s not uncommon for pregnant women to suffer from dehydration and muscle cramps, but heatstroke, heat exhaustion, and even death are a risk in extreme cases.
Heat exhaustion is mild and reversible. Its symptoms include exhaustion, heavy sweating, weakness, headache, and nausea. Heat exhaustion can occur in the late spring or early summer or on hot, humid days. Heatstroke is more severe and life-threatening.
Scientists say climate change is likely to cause more heatwaves, which puts pregnant women at risk. It’s been an extraordinarily hot summer, and climate scientists say it’s very likely that the extreme heat we’re seeing now will become the norm. What’s even more concerning, they say, is that global warming also means the world’s weather patterns are shifting, making extreme heatwaves more common.
As temperatures rise, so do the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and stillbirths.
Temperatures are an important environmental factor affecting pregnancy health. Additionally, pregnant women are susceptible to heat-related illnesses. Previous studies have shown that higher temperatures are associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. However, the association between high temperatures and these adverse pregnancy outcomes varies by environment, season, or country.
This doesn’t mean that you should plan your pregnancies around the weather. But you should give yourself some extra leeway when it comes to high temperatures. Take extra precautions. Heat is uncomfortable, but it’s even more dangerous when you’re pregnant.
Dress in loose-fitting clothes to protect yourself from the sun’s rays. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and lightweight, loose-fitting clothes. Sunglasses can help block UV rays, and wide-brim hats can protect your face, neck, and ears. Avoid excessive exposure to the sun and try to stay in the shade.