UAE: 4 tips for pregnant women to stay healthy this summer

Body temperatures rise during pregnancy, so it is important to take precautions: Doctors



by

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Sat 13 Aug 2022, 12:57 PM

As temperatures across the UAE continue to soar, community members are feeling the heat, and pregnant women even more so, said a medical expert at Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA).

As part of SEHA's summer awareness campaign, doctors have been spreading the word on how individuals can protect themselves from extreme heat. Dr Saleema Wani, senior consultant obstetrician, deputy chief medical officer and chief academic officer, Corniche Hospital in Abu Dhabi, underlined that pregnant women need to keep in mind a few extra things to stay safe in summer.

"During pregnancy, the human body undergoes several physiological changes to ensure the holistic development of the foetus. As your body transforms to provide a haven for your baby, it is imperative to acknowledge that your body will need more than the usual summer tips to stay healthy and hydrated," Dr Wani told Khaleej Times.

"One primary reason is that during pregnancy, a woman's body temperature is already higher than usual, and the additional external heat can make it even more uncomfortable."

As the temperature in the country stays over 45 degrees Celsius on Saturday, Dr Wani has shared her top summer tips on how pregnant women can care for themselves and their growing baby.

1. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun

While this holds true for everyone, this is particularly of importance during pregnancy as it poses harm not only to you but also to your unborn child.

Studies have shown that increased ultraviolet exposure during pregnancy is associated with increased chances of multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia in adult children.

In addition to this, the resulting dehydration, dizzy spells and fainting can lead to complications. It is advised that you avoid stepping out in the mid-day hours and early afternoon and seek shade when you walk outdoors.

2. Hydration is critical

Water is needed to create the fluid surrounding your baby and to increase your blood volume. During pregnancy, it is recommended to drink eight to 12 glasses of water every day. In case of excess sweating due to summer heat, you need to increase your water intake by 2 cups each day to compensate for the water loss.

3. Do not over-hydrate

Stick to the optimal water intake outlined above. Overhydration can dilute your electrolytes further and can cause fatigued muscles, cramps, and in severe cases, even unconsciousness.

4. Exercise, but with care

Contrary to popular belief, physical activity is quite crucial for pregnant women and their unborn children. However, avoid strenuous physical activity between mid-morning to late afternoon.

It is best to indulge in outdoor activity early in the morning or around sunset. If the weather outside is consistently hot, move indoors where there is air conditioning.

Swimming is a low-resistance-high-impact workout that lets you cool off from the summer heat, making it an ideal form of physical exercise for pregnant women in the summer.

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"Pregnancy is a beautiful time in your life, and with all the physical changes, it is normal to have questions regarding the dos and don'ts during the summer months. Seeking a consultation with your obstetrician is a great way to understand the right course of action to maintain your baby's health with evidence-based practices throughout the heat of the summer months," Dr Wani added.


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