Pregnancy and the summer: healthy living and taking care of oneself
Pregnancy is a natural and healthy part of a woman’s life and should be accompanied by a regular daily routine and healthy living. During the summer, however, particular attention should be paid to things such as high temperatures, diet and intense sunshine and it’s advisable to follow a few simple steps in order to be able enjoy this time of the year to the full when pregnant.
“The most important things are to remain hydrated, avoid intense sunshine, wear loose, soft clothing and take healthy dips in the sea or swimming pool”, explains the director of the Obstetrics Department at Instituto Bernabeu in Alicante. During the summer, drinking plenty of water and keeping out of the sun during the hottest hours of the day is advisable at any age and irrespective of a person’s health.
Measures such as the aforementioned are even more important during pregnancy since “pregnant women are particularly sensitive to the heat and, as such, it’s important to remain hydrated and avoid high temperatures. Extreme heat should be avoided,” explains Dr Pino Navarro, Endocrinologist at Instituto Bernabeu in Alicante. The specialist goes on to say that it’s essential that pregnant women “ingest large amounts of fresh fruit drinks and fruit shakes since they help to replenish liquids and all kinds of vitamins and minerals.”
Whilst a healthy and balanced diet is advisable for everyone, it’s particularly important in the case of pregnant women and even more so during the summer months. “Iron, protein and calcium requirements increase during pregnancy. Therefore, vitamin, iron and calcium supplements are usually necessary, particularly from the second trimester onwards, since requirements increase during pregnancy and the intake from food isn’t always sufficient,” explains IB.
Experts at Instituto Bernabeu insist that it’s not a matter of eating enough for two but of following a healthy and nutritive diet combining a variety of foods and avoiding fats, fried foods, too many starchy foods, raw meat, cured cold meats, confectionery, spicy foods and fizzy drinks. In short, Dr Francisco Sellers advises “an easily digestible and light diet.”
Physical exercise should continue as usual except when doctors advise against it and taking into account that a new life is taking form within the womb and, as such, the body should not be subjected to sudden movements or high impact exercise. “Intense competitive sports and aggressive or uncomfortable sports should be avoided. Daily walks of around an hour and a half and swimming are, however, advisable,” says Instituto Bernabeu in Alicante’s Pregnancy and Birth Control area.
Dr Pino Navarro adds, “Attention must be paid to posture such as raising feet off the floor in order to avoid retaining liquid in lower limbs.” Pregnant women “should also avoid standing in the same spot without moving around.” As such, the specialist recommends walking since it “has a massaging effect and helps circulation.” She specifically advises “walks along the shore but not when the sun is at its hottest.”
Experts do not advise against bathing, even at the beach. Dr Sellers even assures us that he particularly recommends bathing for pregnant women. Whatever the case, when exposed to the sun, adequate protection is necessary, the hottest hours of the day should be avoided and skin should be kept hydrated through the use of usual hydrating creams. “Women tend to suffer from hyperpigmentation during pregnancy and, as such, it’s very important to use sun protection creams in order to avoid dark spots”, indicates Dr Navarro.
The head of IB’s Obstetrics Department adds that these general healthcare steps are particularly relevant during high risk pregnancies.
Travelling is also a common activity during the summer. Dr Sellers indicates that trips “are allowed” and that “long haul flights should be supervised by a doctor” but that “some airlines request pregnant passengers to provide a letter of consent signed by their gynaecologist” in order to fly. The specialist goes on to add that during flights over two hours long, pregnant women “should take walks down the aisle” of the plane. When going on long drives, “frequent stops should be taken so that passengers can get out and go for a stroll.”
Enjoying summer to the full is, therefore, both possible and easy during pregnancy, especially if the experts’ advice is taken. In order to achieve this, following a varied and healthy diet, going for walks, taking care of and protecting skin and drinking plenty of water and juices are some of the recommendations given by Instituto Bernabeu in Alicante.