Hot, humid and pregnant: that is a recipe for misery for most women and it can be a recipe for health problems if you are not careful!
It is just a matter of weeks until Candace Young's baby girl makes her way into the world. "I am ready to be done," she said.
This first-time mom is ready to not be pregnant in the summer heat anymore. "Typically when you get up into the 90s," said Candace, "and have the heat with the humidity - that's just miserable because you start swelling."
Candace says she feels every bit of the 25 pounds she has gained on these hot Louisiana days, while her husband is feeling more wintry at home! "He doesn't complain about me freezing him out of the house," she said, "he just walks around with a blanket."
Dr. Brad Forsyth with Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women is Candace's OB/GYN. He says the level of discomfort for pregnant women can rise during the summer, right along with the temperatures. "Most people, at the conclusion of their pregnancy are pretty uncomfortable anyway, regardless of temperature, but when you throw the heat on top of that, it just kind of magnifies all of the complaints," he said.
The increase in blood flow that comes along with pregnancy, and the hormonal shifts can make women feel even hotter. Then, factor in the weight gain and swelling and it can become downright uncomfortable. "My fingers look like little sausages instead of regular fingers," said Candace.
Candace is seeing the most swelling in her hands and ankles. "We look at their lower extremities and especially in the front of their legs and we look for edema," said Dr. Forsyth.
Pitting edema is where you can actually see a dent in the skin from the extra fluid, but that is no reason to cut back on the water - especially in the heat. "60-80 ounces would be a good starting place," said Dr. Forsyth, "one of the problems too is that pregnant women tend to go to the bathroom more frequently and of course, more water means more trips to the bathroom."
Between the excessive bathroom breaks, extra weight, swollen extremities and heat, Dr. Forsyth has this piece of advice for dads-to-be this summer: "The most important thing that we as men and fathers and husbands can do is just be supportive. Know when to be quiet and when to walk away!" he said.
Even if you are miserable during your last trimester, it is incredibly important to try to make it to at least 39 weeks of pregnancy. This ensures the baby has the chance to fully develop in the womb.
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