Summer is a long-awaited time of the year...unless you're a pregnant woman! Not only does being pregnant in the summer make you more likely to become swollen, sweaty, and far more uncomfortable, it can pose certain dangers, if not handled with care. That doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy summer walks, bike rides, or prenatal yoga--just make sure you take the proper precautions:
- Hydrate generously. Though many pregnant women focus on what to eat when pregnant, the real question may be what, and how much, to drink. Aim to drink enough healthy fluids (water with a slice of fruit for flavor, or juice), throughout the day to keep your urine clear to pale yellow. If you plan to attend Om for Mom prenatal yoga, or some other form of pregnancy exercise, you might also supplement your hydration with an electrolyte enhanced sports drink in tandem with a light snack like a banana or turkey sandwich on wheat bread, consumed a couple of hours before your activity. Counterintuitive as it may sound, the more water you drink and the more you move, the more you can reduce swelling, especially in the feet and ankles. If you're not sure whether you're drinking enough water to support a healthy pregnancy and compensate for the heat, there's an exact formula that can help you calculate whether you're drinking enough water.
- Keep track of your heart rate. A pregnant woman's heart rate shouldn't exceed about 140 beats per minute, and exercising in the heat can lead to a more intense workout. The result? Your heart rate will spike faster, too. Monitor your heart rate with an iPhone app that monitors your heart rate when you look into smartphone.
- Stay cool. Wear well-ventilated, light clothing during exercise and prenatal yoga to help your body dissipate heat and regulate your core temperature--which is naturally higher during pregnancy. Try to coordinate your outdoor activities with the early morning or later evening hours, preferably when the temperature is less than 90 degrees.
- Take breaks. Yoga is about the journey, not the destination. Oddly enough, the same could be said for pregnancy! Be patient with your ever-changing body during pregnancy, and forget about how many calories you're burning, or how hard you're working. Every day is different in pregnancy, so honor the hard work you're inherently doing already. One day you will feel ready to take on the world, and the next you may want to sleep the day away. As long as you are eating a healthy diet for pregnancy, hydrating, and getting rest, focus on truly listening to your body--especially during your prenatal yoga practice! If you feel exhausted holding a Warrior 2 or Chair Pose, back off a bit. Downward dog, planks and chatarungas will always be there for you when the time comes!
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