Operation Safe Summer: Pregnancy safety in the heat

(WSAV) – It’s not officially Summer yet, but already the sweltering Savannah weather is causing health challenges for some.

Many of us know what precautions we need to take as the temperature heats up.

But research over the years suggests the oppressive heat can be especially troublesome for expectant mothers.

It’s 9:30 A.M at Savannah’s Daffin Park and the members of Fit4Mom Stroller Strides are on a mission to stay fit and raise healthy babies:

“Trying to keep them in the shade, and I urge them to bring fans for the kiddos, cold cloths, cold snacks, certainly keep ice in the thermos,” says Owner Ashley Youngblood.

The group exercises six days a week, and sometimes, the workout can be exceptionally grueling, especially when it’s hot outside.

Breanna Wommack explains, “Our heart rates like just shoot up.  I know mine is like constantly at 120 when I’m pregnant.  It’s very high, and when I’m working out it gets like 180 which is pretty dangerous and really dangerous for the baby too.”

All of these moms were either pregnant or delivered their babies during the hot summer months.

“Your inner core temperature really affects the child so you’ve gotta make sure that stays low too.  That’s why it’s so important to stay hydrated.”

Ashley says the group remains mindful of the dangers that mothers can face when being exposed to extremely hot weather conditions.

“We modify the exercises for all stages of pregnancy and motherhood. I’m always looking at what the high is going to be or if it’s going to rain because we do have that option of moving inside.”

Extreme heat can certainly cause an expectant mother to become dehydrated and feel generally sick.

“Pregnant women have a higher core temperature when they’re pregnant usually about a degree. Plus they have a lot more circulating blood volume. They become dehydrated more easily and all that is dangerous for the baby.”

“Pregnant women have a higher core temperature when they’re pregnant usually about a degree. Plus they have a lot more circulating blood volume. They become dehydrated more easily and all that is dangerous for the baby.”

Dr. Smith says even more serious, a mother’s exposure to extreme heat while pregnant, could cause birth defects, similar to Spina Bifida.

“Especially first trimester, and so If someone were to have heat exhaustion or heat stroke their core body temp can go way up well over a hundred  104/105, and that’s dangerous for the fetus. Because the baby when we when our temp goes up like that we breathe through the mouth and we sweat and the baby can’t do either of those things and so the mom is having to release the heat for two people.”

There are precautions an expectant mom can take to avoid these types of complications: stay indoors, drink plenty of fluids, and when you exercise, do it during the cooler part of the day.

All sound advice for these striders who don’t take any chances when it comes to their health and the health of their babies:

“The thing I tell myself every morning is just listening to yourself.  You know listen to your gut.  When you’re done you’re done.  It’s okay if you can’t complete the workout you know I have life inside of me,” explains Brenna.

Dr. Smith reminds us that if you are pregnant, or thinking about becoming pregnant, it’s always a great idea to see your obstetrician for regular pre-natal checkups.

If you are going to exercise in the summer heat you may want to do it under the guidance of a trainer.

To check out Fit4Moms Stroller Strides click here.

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