No scratching, lukewarm bath: Here are dos and don'ts for pregnant women in summer

The hormone progesterone, during pregnancy, raises the body temperature and rapid mood changes

By Sulogna Mehta  Published on  25 May 2023 4:22 AM GMT
dos and donts for pregnant women in summer

Hyderabad: Apart from a long list of usual discomforts such as nausea, fatigue, breathlessness, anxiety, aches, and pains, pregnant women have to face the intense heat of summer too.

Summer heat is intolerable for everyone but for pregnant women it gets even more uncomfortable because they feel warmer than others regardless of the season and during summers it gets worse. The hormone progesterone, during pregnancy, raises the body temperature and rapid mood changes. This further leads to hormonal fluctuations, increased blood volume, and cardiovascular output, say doctors.

Dr V P Jyotsna, senior consultant obstetrician, gynecologist, and laparoscopic surgeon at 9M by Ankura Hospitals, Hyderabad elaborates on the various issues that pregnant women commonly face in summer and offers tips to combat the conditions and stay happy and healthy.

Common issues, prevention, and treatment

Heat intolerance

When you are pregnant, your body temperature is already a bit higher than normal, so added heat from outside temperature is bound to make you feel uncomfortable.

Prevention and treatment: A cool damp cloth applied on the back of your neck, your forehead, or on the top of your head is a good way to keep your temperature down. Drink plenty of fluids, water, and fresh fruit juices.

Heat rashes

In heat rash, the skin gets red, itchy, and inflamed. Heat rashes mostly develop under the breasts and on the abdomen. This occurs due to sweating and is more if you wear tight synthetic clothes.

Prevention and treatment: Wear loose-fitting natural fabrics like cotton and linen. Avoid synthetic fabrics and tight clothes. Do not scrub the skin hard and especially avoid scratching the site of the rash. Gentle skin cleansers are to be used while bathing. Do not use very hot water for baths, lukewarm water is advisable. Following the bath, calamine lotion has to be applied. If symptoms persist despite these self-care measures, consult doctors.


Pregnant women are more prone to sunburn than others. While redness from sunburn becomes apparent within two to six hours, the full effect of sunburn doesn’t peak till 12-14 hrs post-exposure. In mild sunburn, the skin feels hot due to inflammation but people don’t get a fever. Painless skin peeling is common in mild sunburn. However, in severe sunburns, skin blisters are formed like burns and they involve a larger body surface. They cause fever due to the release of large amounts of inflammatory chemicals into the bloodstream.

Prevention and treatment: Sunscreen lotions with high SPF, hats with wide brims, and umbrellas can effectively prevent sunburns. Limit your time outdoors to early mornings and evenings. For mild sunburn, comfort measures such as the use of cold compresses or cold baths and the application of soothing moisturizers can help. For severe sunburns with fever or skin blisters, consult a doctor.

Heat stroke or sunstroke

Sunstroke is a condition where a person’s body temperature becomes dangerously high and their body can’t cool down. Symptoms of sunstroke include fever (more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit), throbbing headache, dizziness, muscle cramps, intense thirst, rapid heartbeat, confusion, seizures, and unconsciousness. Pregnancy increases the risk of dehydration and sunstroke. Sunstroke can affect the baby too.

Prevention and treatment: It’s always best to prevent heatstroke by being aware of the heatwave. It is advisable to stay indoors between 11 AM to 3 PM. If you have to go out in high temperatures, take precautions like wearing loose-fitting cool clothes and drinking extra fluids, at least one glass of water every hour during your stay outdoors. Treatment involves getting medical help immediately. While waiting for help, try to lower the temperature by getting them to a cool shady, or air-conditioned area. Wet their skin and fan air over them. Get them to drink water or fruit juice provided they are conscious and can swallow.

Pedal edema or leg swelling

If the second half of pregnancy occurs during summer, the degree of leg swelling can increase.

Prevention: Keep your legs elevated during sleep. Don’t wear constrictive clothing, especially around the waist. Don’t stand for too long. Don’t sit while hanging your legs down for long hours.

Tips to combat the summer heat

- Drink plenty of liquids, preferably water, and fresh fruit juices.

- Avoid coffee and fizzy drinks.

- Take a healthy diet and avoid fried and spicy food.

- Try to stay indoors during the day to avoid direct sunlight

- Wear light, loose and comfortable clothing.

- Exercise moderately but not during the mid-day.

- Swimming is the best exercise.

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