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
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
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
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
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
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.