Stay Hydrated: The number one cause of premature labor is dehydration. If you are thirsty you are already dehydrated, so keep the water flowing in the summer. I’ve had calls from women having sudden contractions on 90 degree days when they’ve forgotten to drink water all day. It’s usually fine and the contractions go away once you start drinking water. But better to avoid this.
Use Sunscreen: For all the obvious reasons, but also because some women develop stronger reactions to the sun or develop “the mask of pregnancy”– sunscreen can keep skin discoloration at a minimum. Rebecca and I have been unofficially product testing chemical-free sunscreens for years now and we have a couple of favorites. Rebecca’s is an SPF 30 moisturizer from a brand called Devita, which is moist but non-greasy and doesn’t seem to clog pores. It’s so good we both use on rainy days. And it’s on the The Environmental Working Group’s list of the best toxic-free sunscreens. I also have developed a fondness for my kid’s California Baby sunscreen. It’s much creamier than the Devita which is good for moisturizing but maybe not as good for a sweltering, sweaty day. It’s not essential to go organic, but since my pregnancy I’ve gotten into the habit of using as many low-chemical body products. Especially since there are some really good ones out there. Self-tanners, btw, are probably fine to use during pregnancy but there hasn’t been a lot of research so do what feels right to you. I’d advice against tanning beds for a whole lotta reasons. The research does not support the practice under any circumstances.
But Get Your Vitamin D: This is sometimes less of an issue in the summer since even with sunscreen we tend to get a little flash of sun on our bodies in the summer and most people only need about 10-15 minutes of un-blocked sun to get their Vit D intake. But still since we’ve turned into a big sunscreen culture for excellent reasons to do with cancer and premature aging, we need to make sure we get Vitamin D and this is especially important for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Prenatal vitamins contain Vitamin D, you can also get plenty with a diet rich in oily fish, fortified foods such as milk, OJ and some cereals. Stick with the vitamin D if you breastfeed.
Stay Cool: There can be an alarming message about overheating in pregnancy but there is some logic to it. I’d just say, make sure not to find yourself out in some drastically hot place without water and you’ll be fine. You certainly don’t have to stay inside next to the A/C though Lord knows you may want to. Women are hot when they are pregnant.
Swim: Whenever you can! So great when pregnant. This is obviously not a must-do. But there’s something about water and pregnancy and birth that goes together. And that floating feeling in the middle of a heavy, hot summer: perfection.