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Signs you're overheating include:
- Warm skin
- Muscle cramps
- Body temperature above 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit
Since your body is already working overtime to keep both you and your baby healthy, having to also keep you cool during a heat wave can push it over the edge, University of Michigan doctor Elizabeth Suzanne Langen told the AHA. You're also more likely to get dehydrated if you're pregnant, preventing you from sweating to cool yourself off.
If you feel as if you're overheating, Langen advises moving to a cooler place, drinking water, loosening clothing, and putting wet cloths on your skin or sitting in a bathtub of cool water. Seek medical treatment immediately if symptoms get worse or last longer than an hour, she says.
There's plenty of reason to avoid too much heat. Exposure to extreme heat could increase chances of birth defects in your baby, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dehydration can also cause Braxton Hicks contractions and make you dizzy or faint, leading to falls that risk endangering your pregnancy, ob-gyn specialist Alisse Hauspurg told the AHA.
Here are tips from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the CDC for avoiding overheating:
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Wear loose-fitting clothing
- Don't exercise outside when it's very hot or humid
- Exercise in a temperature-controlled room
- Take breaks in the shade or in an air-conditioned area if you work in a hot environment
Hot weather doesn't mean you should completely avoid going outdoors or exercising. But you should be aware of your body – and take basic precautions – Hauspurg says.
Even if you're not pregnant, don't forget that heat can pose a risk to children too. Read up on ways to protect your little ones from dehydration and heat stroke.
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