Ripples of heat shimmer above the pavement. Ice cubes melt before they've hit the bottom of the glass. The family cat refuses to budge from the cool tiles of the bathroom floor. It's 90 degrees in the shade. The dog days of summer have arrived and everyone is feeling wilted. And you are carrying around 25 to 35 extra pounds, protruding from your abdomen like a leaden beach ball. But not to worry—using a little common sense can help you keep cool even on the hottest days.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Despite the fact that hormones and your rapidly expanding uterus will have you running to the loo twice an hour for much of your pregnancy, drinking enough fluids is absolutely essential to your health and your baby's. Drinking enough water actually helps prevent water retention and swollen extremities, and also safeguards against bladder infections. Know that by the time you feel thirsty, your body is already on the way to dehydrating. Severe dehydration can trigger uterine contractions, which can lead to preterm labor.
Getting enough to drink is serious business, but you have to choose quality along with quantity. While water is the best choice, 100-percent fruit juices like apple, orange, and white grape not only hydrate you but help you get your RDA of fruit servings as well (dilute them with 50 percent water for easier digestion and less sugar content). For a change of pace, mix juice, seltzer, and fruit sorbet in the blender for a delicious smoothie, or freeze lemonade in a paper cup for a homemade Italian ice.
You're most likely already abstaining from alcohol and caffeinated beverages, but even if you indulge in the occasional glass of wine or soda, hot weather is not the time to do so. Both alcohol and caffeine have a diuretic effect and will dehydrate you further. Be wary of decaffeinated iced teas and health drinks, which sometimes contain herbal compounds not proven to be safe during pregnancy.
The normal recommendation is eight to 10 glasses of water daily for expectant women, but be aware that during very hot and humid weather, you may need even more. If getting enough fluids is difficult for you, get a water bottle that holds at least 64 ounces, fill it with ice and your favorite caffeine-free beverage in the morning, and carry it with you all day, taking small sips every so often.