Physical activity, skin care and nutrition: how to fight the summer heat during pregnancy

Heat and baby bump: a combination that just doesn’t seem to get along, especially this summer with cities often facing heat waves. So what to do? Is it possible to live this season peacefully even if you are pregnant, your legs are swollen, and you particularly suffer from fatigue? No worries: with a few little tricks and the right advice, summer is not so scary and you can live your pregnancy in a relaxed way even at this time of year.

Let’s start with swelling. There are two remedies that help legs feel lighter: the first is physical activity in the water. A panacea is, for example, walking in the sea early in the morning: water helps to tone the blood vessels and fights water retention, the cause of swelling. The other is the classic grandmother’s remedy: a foot bath at the end of the day that not only refreshes but also relieves the legs and ankles. Once finished, it is a good idea to keep the legs raised: this will encourage the blood to rise and avoid circulatory stasis.

To protect yourself from the heat, the usual advice applies: prefer clothes with natural fibres and soft fit to tight-fitting, synthetic fabrics to avoid excessive sweating. Sweating that in pregnancy is physiologically increased due to progesterone, which is produced in greater quantities and causes an increase in body temperature. It becomes essential, therefore, to provide the body with the right amount of fluids so as not to risk dehydration. Therefore, at least two litres of water a day should be drunk and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables should be eaten. In order to reduce body temperature, take sea baths, showers and cool, moist compresses on temples, wrists and ankles.

And finally, let’s talk about the sun: sun lovers with the necessary precautions can also expose themselves to the sun with a baby bump. A couple of things must be said, however: during pregnancy, the skin tends to be more dehydrated and reactive to heat and sun. There is also a hormone, the melanocyte-stimulating hormone, which stimulates the production of melanin, which in turn can favour the onset of skin spots, especially if one is undergoing special therapies or taking photosensitising drugs. This is why, especially in summer, it is important to pay special attention to skin-care. Skin care therefore involves the use of photoprotective and lightening products: the former prevent damage caused by sun exposure, the latter the onset of skin spots. Gentle face and body cleansers and moisturising creams should be used.

For the real tan, a cream with a high protection factor is preferred, with SPF +50, to be applied every 2 to 3 hours or even more frequently depending on the time of exposure to the sun and where you are. In pregnancy, the usual rule applies: expose yourself to the sun gradually and avoid the hottest hours, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is good to take care of your skin even after sunbathing, using products that re-establish hydration, including oils.

(By Monica Di Lecce)

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