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Health & Fitness

Chelsea at Crunch Gym

Forty Weeks of Fitness!

Chelsea, our pregnancy fitness expert, is a certified personal trainer at Crunch gym in San Francisco, California. She gave birth to her daughter, Madeira Re, in July 2006. Read more






Dehydration can be especially dangerous when you're pregnant because it can cause your baby's heart to beat too quickly and increase your risk of preterm labor. The likelihood of preterm labor increases because dehydration decreases your blood volume, thereby increasing the concentration of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for uterine contractions.

In addition, your baby is always 1 degree Celsius (nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than you are, and it cannot sweat to lower his or her body temperature. Avoiding fetal heat stress is especially important during the first trimester when your baby's major body systems are developing. Hyperthermia may be associated with some birth defects, including heart problems, abdominal wall defects, and nervous system malformation.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, see your doctor immediately:

  • More than five contractions or cramps per hour

  • Bright red vaginal bleeding

  • Acute or continuous vomiting

  • Low, dull backache

  • Intense pelvic pressure

To stay cool during the summer months and protect you and your baby from dehydration, drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water each day - more if you are active or sweating a lot. Eating lighter meals can also help you stay cool since large meals increase your metabolism, which can make you feel hotter. Try making healthy popsicles by freezing fruit juice, or eat out at an air-conditioned restaurant to avoid using the stove or oven to cook lunch or dinner.

Spend as much time in an air-conditioned environment as possible. If you don't have access to air conditioning, a fan and an air filter or dehumidifier can help. However, if the temperature is in the high 90s or higher, a simple fan will not prevent heat-related illness. Limit the time you spend outdoors during the midday hours; if you must be outside, rest frequently in the shade. Choose lightweight, loose-fitting clothing in light colors, and wear a hat when you are in the sun. Sunburns impair your body's ability to cool itself and cause a loss of body fluids, so always remember to wear a good sunscreen with at least SPF 15 that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

Try taking a cool shower or bath or, if you have access, a refreshing dip in a swimming pool. Even if you don't have access to a full-sized pool, lying in a kiddie pool or just soaking your feet can help cool you off.

By paying attention to your body's warning signs and following these simple tips, you can stay cool and healthy during the dog days of your summer pregnancy.

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