Dr Prathima Reddy, director, senior obstetrician and gynaecologist at Fortis La Femme Hospital, Richmond Road, Bengaluru says that when a woman is pregnant, her body goes through unique changes to accommodate the baby, and “some of these changes can cause discomfort to the pregnant mother. Increasing temperatures can only worsen the situation.”
Physiological changes that take place during pregnancy
* Nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy
* Indigestion, ‘gas’, bloating sensation and reduced appetite
* Increase in weight by 10-12 kg throughout pregnancy
* Oedema — fluid collection in the feet and legs after the first three months of pregnancy
* Shortness of breath due to the growing womb
* ‘Feeling hot’
The doctor says that in summers, particularly, pregnant women go through some challenges, adding that there are some tips with which they can feel better.
1. Hydration: Drink at least 3 litres of water per day. Top it up with tender coconut and fresh fruit juices (avoid if you have gestational diabetes) with minimal or no sugar. Inadequate hydration may lead to a heat stroke.
2. Diet: Remember to include plenty of vegetables, greens, sprouted salads, fruits (especially watermelon) to your diet. Curd (live yogurt) and buttermilk are especially cooling. Avoid excessive oil, ghee and masalas in food preparation and cut down on the salt intake.
3. Swimming/exercising: This is a great way of cooling off and if you have access to a pool you must make use of it. Routine exercise must be performed either in the early mornings or evenings when the temperatures are lower.
4. Elevated feet: Remember to elevate your feet by placing them on pillows or cushions as this reduces the water retention in your feet and legs.
5. Clothes and footwear: Wear loose cotton clothes in white or pastel shades. Also, wear comfortable footwear to accommodate the swelling.
6. Sunglasses/sunscreen/umbrella: Invest in a good pair of sunglasses and use sunscreen whenever you are out for longer periods. Carry an umbrella or wear a broad hat to protect yourself.
7. Sleep: Try to get a nap for at least 30 minutes in the afternoon, since it is the hottest part of the day.
“See your doctor regularly, and remember to mention any unusual symptoms that you may have noticed. Visit the emergency department of your hospital if you experience excessive fatigue, a fast heartbeat, dizziness, vomiting or if you have stopped sweating — these may be symptoms of a heat stroke,” Dr Reddy cautions.