That sweltering summer heat is unpleasant for everyone – but, when you're pregnant in summer, it’s all the more uncomfortable. Not only do you have to manage staying cool for yourself, but also ensure your little one is safe as those temperatures rise.
It’s super important to stay adequately hydrated during your pregnancy, and especially when it's hot outside. The suggested water intake for pregnant women is approximately 12-13 cups per day, which is calculated on a 2000-calorie diet (1-1.5ml per calorie). Water is essential in transporting and delivering key vitamins, minerals and hormones to the placenta.
Summer heat can also make the following pregnancy symptoms become more apparent: pregnancy fatigue, headaches and swollen feet or ankles i.e. lower body swelling. Consuming water-rich foods can help you feel more comfortable.
Here are 4 tips on adjusting your pregnancy diet for the summer heat:
1. Foods to avoid when pregnant in the summer:
- Caffeine. Caffeine has a diuretic effect on the body and therefore flush water out rather than allowing your body to absorb it. Beverages such as sodas and coffee or tea should be avoided or consumed in moderation during the heat. In fact, a good guide is for every 8-12oz of a caffeinated beverage, consume at least 8oz of water.
- Salt. Foods higher in sodium could cause water retention and swelling. While the idea of increased fluid in the body seems ideal, it’s not. The retention and swelling becomes uncomfortable and you may also feel parched or dry in the mouth.
- Spicy Foods. The traditional hot sauce (hot peppers) contain capsaicin, and its consumption is correlated with a short-lived increase in body temperature. Therefore, when it's extremely hot out, it’s important to focus on keeping your body temperature low and staying cool.
2. Why you should increase your protein intake:
While this is not a widely suggested advice, it’s important to note that consuming excess protein (and subsequently less carbohydrates) could cause dehydration. You may not feel thirstier but your kidneys are working harder to dispose of the waste products of digesting protein. The key is to consume enough water consistently.
3. Ideas for water-rich foods.
These foods are >90% water, and will keep you feeling refreshed and hydrated.
4. Drink as much water as possible.
During the summer heat, the best way to ensure you’re constantly hydrated is by keeping a reusable water bottle on hand at all times.
A version of this story was originally published on July 27, 2016. It has been updated by Motherly editors.