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Smart Summer Fun

Being pregnant is no reason to miss out on outdoor activities, but you need to take extra precautions to protect yourself and your baby. That’s because ordinarily minor nuisances can become major medical problems if you’re not careful. These tips from Fung Lam, M.D., and Bonni Massa, M.D., both OB-GYNs in San Francisco, will help keep you safe.

Dehydration, heat exhaustion (increased risk of preterm labor)

Prevention: Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, more if it’s very hot or you’re sweating a lot; sit in shade.

Red flags: Dizziness, weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, headache, nausea, contractions

What to do: Rehydrate with water and juices; rest in the shade. If symptoms continue, call doctor or go to the ER.

Insect bites: (potential exposure to Lyme disease or West Nile virus; both can infect fetus)

Prevention: Use insect repellent with 10 percent DEET (maximum concentration considered safe during pregnancy).

Red flags: Lyme: fatigue, chills/fever, headache, muscle/joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, red circular rash. West Nile: fever, headache, fatigue, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, rash

ON FIT PREGNANCY: Safe Prenatal Exercise

What to do: Benadryl or Caladryl ointment for itching; hydrogen peroxide to prevent local infection; contact doctor if you develop disease symptoms

Falling and trauma to belly

Prevention: Avoid horseback riding, tennis, volleyball, soccer, diving, surfing and rowing.

Red flags: Contractions, vaginal bleeding, leaking of amniotic fluid

What to do: Call doctor or go to the ER.

ON FIT PREGNANCY: Your Pregnancy, Week-by-Week

During pregnancy, women should be especially cautious about sun exposure because it can cause overheating and dehydration, says Millard H. Zisser, M.D., an emeritus assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California, Los Angeles and a dermatologist in private practice. You should always wear sunscreen and stay in the shade when possible. Ultraviolet (UV) rays also can make your skin more prone to chloasma, dark splotches on the face or arms that sometimes occur during pregnancy.

Safe Travels

Vacation season is here, but traveling while pregnant can be exhausting and uncomfortable. To smooth your way, here are tips from Virginia R. Lupo, M.D., chairwoman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Flight Plan: Fly when it’s safest and most comfortable (weeks 14–28), though you’re generally cleared for takeoff until your eighth month. You don’t want to go into labor in mid-air. Book an aisle seat near the front of the plane, where the ride is less bumpy and there’s easy access to the bathroom.

Get up and stretch at least once an hour to reduce the risk of leg swelling and blood clots (chances increase during pregnancy).

Road Trip: Don’t spend more than six hours in the car each day, and take regular breaks to stretch, walk around and go to the bathroom.

Always buckle your seat belt, fastening the lap belt below your belly to avoid putting excess pressure on your abdomen.


Pack healthy snacks and plenty of water; road food is tempting but not the best choice during pregnancy.

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