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Yes, you heard it right! Overheating is a phenomenon, and our negligence and carelessness are responsible for it. Many of us forget to drink water at regular intervals until the time we get thirsty. During pregnancy, another precious life is solely dependent upon you for all its nutritional requirements. So, you need to ensure adequate fluid intake along with the right diet for a fit and healthy pregnancy.
What is Overheating in Pregnancy?
If your body temperature (which is normally about 37-degrees Centigrade) rises above 39.5-degrees Centigrade during pregnancy, then it is termed as overheating. The medical term used for overheating during pregnancy is hyperthermia.
Signs of Overheating
As serious implications as it could pose, the worst part about overheating is that you may not feel any kind of discomfort even if your body temperature rises. However, look out for the following symptoms to determine if your body is getting overheated:
- A feeling of lightheadedness
- A feeling of nausea or vomiting sensation
- Feeling dehydrated
- A sudden feeling of cold or chills
- Suddenly you feel dryness in the mouth
- Uncontrolled and excessive sweating
- An unpleasant feeling of clamminess
Pregnancy Overheating Causes
Overheating can be caused due to any of the following reasons:
- Excessive physical exertion in hot weather conditions causes overheating in pregnancy during the first trimester.
- High-intensity physical exercises for prolonged hours.
- Indulging in a sauna bath
- Soaking in a hot water bathtub for a long time.
- High fever due to infection or other medical condition.
Risks of Overheated in Pregnancy
The effects of overheating during pregnancy are as under:
- Overheating in pregnancy during the first trimester can also lead to miscarriage.
- Overheating can cause some serious birth defects like foetal growth retardation, intrauterine death, and neural abnormality.
- A high fever in the mother’s body can also result into cleft lip and palate in the baby which means there are openings in the upper lip and upper portion of the mouth.
- Hyperthermia can also cause neural tube defects in the baby.
Can Doing Exercise Cause Overheating
We all know exercising is always good for health. Even during pregnancy exercising helps strengthen your muscles, keeps your heart healthy and makes you feel active. But overexertion during pregnancy may lead to overheating. High-intensity workouts in extremely hot and humid climatic conditions for a prolonged period can lead to overheating. So it is better to stick to moderate, low-intensity exercises as suggested by the trainer throughout your pregnancy and do not workout for more than 45 minutes at a stretch. Avoid exercising during extremely hot days.
How Can You Stay Cool During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, your body basal temperature remains elevated throughout. This is because the body pumps in 40-50 % extra blood than it usually does to develop the growing foetus in the body. Since the body is working hard, it automatically generates heat in the core, and during summers the external heat adds on to the misery. Hot and humid climate also triggers overheating in pregnancy during the third trimester. So, the mommy-to-be needs to take good care to remain cool and beat the heat! Here are a few tips to prevent you from overheating:
You must adhere to the following precautions in order to avoid overheating during pregnancy:
1. Adequate Intake of Water
You must drink water at regular intervals of time, even if you do not feel thirsty. Adequate intake of water has many health benefits like the removal of toxins from the body, enhances energy levels, brain functioning, avoids dehydration in the body and keeps your body cool.
2. Avoid Sauna
It’s better to avoid a steam bath, hot massages and sauna altogether throughout your pregnancy. Even soaking in hot water bathtubs is not recommended as it will elevate your body temperature. Only a warm water bath is advisable during pregnancy.
3. Avoid Excessive Physical Strain
As mentioned earlier, it is better to avoid high-intensity exercises during pregnancy. Not just exercising, any type of strenuous activity like carrying weights, household work, etc. should be avoided.
4. Avoid Going Out during Extreme Hot Days
Avoid walking around during afternoons and early evenings, as it might cause sunstroke or hyperthermia. It is better to stay indoors or travel safely without being exposed to heat for long.
5. Wear Cool and Light Clothing
Avoid wearing heavy clothes during pregnancy. Comfortable clothing which is loose, light and breathable is perfect during summers.
6. Adequate Intake of Fluids
Try to include as many fluids possible in your diet. You can include fresh fruit juices, soups, etc. in your diet which will be refreshing as well as enhance your fluid intake. It’s advisable not to consume fizzy drinks and cold drinks.
7. Avoid Caffeine
Pregnant or not; caffeine has a lot of ill-effects on our bodies such as restlessness, insomnia, irritability, and even stress at times. So, it is better to cut the intake of caffeine altogether from your diet. Instead, switch to refreshing smoothies which will keep your body cool.
8. Avoid Having Spicy Food
Keep your food as light as possible during pregnancy. Spicy foods can even cause heartburn and indigestion during pregnancy thereby increasing the chances of getting overheated. So, it is better to reduce the spicy ones and instead switch on to refreshing watermelons, grapes, lemon juices, cherries, berries, etc. during the summers.
9. Indulge in Swimming
Swimming is considered to be one of the best and soothing exercises during pregnancy. Swimming is safe to be practised during the entire course of pregnancy and will help you stay cool.
10. Practice Meditation
Meditation will let you breathe deep and relaxes your mind and body from stress. You can try breathing exercises to connect with your inner self and your baby. Meditation and breathing exercises calm your senses and bring down the body temperature thereby reducing the chances of getting overheated.
Do not be worried as overheating occurs only in extreme conditions and the mommies who drink plenty of water will not get overheated.