Beat the heat tips for expecting moms

How to keep your cool during a summertime pregnancy

Nutrition and clothing

Your body temperature is high, your feet are swollen and youcre exhausted from carrying around the extra load. Summer is not the pregnant woman's best friend. While you don't have to hide out in the basement during what many refer to as the nicest time of the year, you should take precautions. Try these tips to stay cool and comfortable.

When it comes to carrying in warm climes, Rosanne Shpayer should know how it's done. The Montreal mother of two was living in the Middle East when she was pregnant with her first child. "To keep cool in the uncomfortable summer months I drank a lot of water," she says. And it's a good thing she did.

Your blood fluid increases by 50 per cent when you're pregnant so you need to replenish that fluid. If you don't, it can affect circulation to your organs and cause trauma to the baby, explains Linda Knox, a registered midwife and assistant head of the department of midwifery for the Children's & Women's Health Centre of British Columbia. "If you allow yourself to get really overheated and dehydrated you could be compromising placental circulation."

Also, hot sunny days can slow your appetite. "Eat smaller meals and snacks on a regular basis," says Ann Douglas, author of The Mother of all Pregnancy Books (John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd, 2000). "You'll probably find that fresh fruits and vegetables are likely to have the greatest appeal at this time of year."

Looking great is always a pick-me-up and at this special time, it's best to combine style with natural, breathable fibers like silk or cotton, says Nicole Mann, manager of Kick Maternity in Toronto.

This summer's loose styles are perfect for the pregnant woman because they don't trap heat. Try tunics in pale shades of pink and white, airy peasant skirts, and smocked tubes that are fitted at the bust and flow over the stomach. Cropped pants are always a favourite, says Mann. "Women don't like to show their legs because of varicose veins and swelling. Cropped pants offer coolness and style."

Accessorize with funky jewelry -- visit your local maternity shop to find glass bracelets and necklaces that are cool to the touch.

For those tender tootsies, dependent edema, or swelling below the knee, is normal in pregnancy, says Knox; so make sure your shoes are loose and open.

And of course don't forget a maternity swimsuit, adds Douglas. "The best place to be when you're pregnant during the summer months is in the pool!"

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