Your baby bump’s growing bigger by the day, and with it, the thermometer seems to rise daily, too. As your discomfort grows, you start pining for cooler days and wondering how to endure the next few months of heat with hot flashes and swelling ankles.
Fortunately, pregnancy doesn’t have to keep you from summer fun.
There are plenty of ways to stay fit, cool and entertained safely as you wait for Baby to arrive. The more you can find to fill your days, the faster your summer pregnancy will fly by.
Looking for tips? Check out these 7 summer activities you can (still) do if you’re (very) pregnant.
Disclaimer: the following is intended for information only and should not be used to diagnose, treat or address any medical concerns. Talk to your doctor if you have specific questions about your health and/or activities while pregnant.
#1) Spend as much time in the water as you can.
The pool is a pregnant woman’s best friend. Don’t feel bad making a daily excursion to the public pool or begging friends for a backyard invitation.
Swimming has multiple physical benefits during pregnancy. It exercises your muscles without causing undue strain. And water helps support your growing belly and is kind to your tired joints, too.
Plus, a cool swimming pool will help you keep your body temperature in check. When you’re immersed in the water, you’re less likely to overheat, even when the sun’s rays are particularly strong.
Just make sure to pack good sunscreen in your poolside bag.
During pregnancy, sun protection is more important than ever because your skin becomes extra sensitive to discoloration. Ask your doctor what kind of sunscreen is best, but don’t be surprised if you’re encouraged to use a mineral sunblock rather than a chemical variety.
#2) Keep moving.
While it might be tempting to spend the whole summer lounging about, exercise is good for your pregnant body. Whether you’d prefer a light jog around your neighborhood or a hike on a local trail, the key is to keep moving.
Gentle exercise will condition your body for childbirth, and it can also serve as a great mood booster.
Remember, though, that pregnancy makes you prone to overheating. Your increased blood volume warms your body more than usual. Letting your body temperature get above 102 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 10 minutes can be unsafe for your baby.
To avoid the concern of overheating, get outdoor exercise during the coolest parts of the day. That might mean doing it first thing in the morning or later in the evening. If you’re anxious for midday physical activity, opt for laps in the pool or an indoor workout routine with available air conditioning or fans.
#3) Dig in the garden.
For a relaxing outdoor activity, take up gardening this summer. Gardening gives you the benefits of fresh air and sunshine without requiring you to cover miles of ground. It’s not a low-effort activity, to be sure, but you can sit as you pull weeds and harvest your produce.
Research shows that digging in dirt is good for your mental health. Pregnancy hormones can take a toll on your mood, but gardening may help restore balance. Scientists have linked garden work to lower rates of depression and anxiety.
Plus, vegetable gardening may fill your plate with an assortment of good-for-you produce. And healthy food is just what you need when eating for two.
#4) Hone your balance on a paddle board.
During the family vacation to the lake, water skis and inner tubes might be out for you. Instead, practice stand up paddle boarding (SUP) this summer — carefully, of course.
As long as you take it easy, SUP is a generally low-impact sport. It won’t put excess wear and tear on joints, and it will help strengthen your core muscles.
For safety’s sake, pregnancy might not be the best time for your first-ever SUP session. If you have experience, though, you may be able to continue with this activity. Talk to your doctor about it first.
Even with experience, this may not be a safe activity for every pregnant woman.
Keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Stick to gentle water.
- Choose water that’s shallow enough to stand in but not so low that you’ll risk hitting your belly on the bottom.
- Sit or kneel on the board if you feel unsteady.
- Use an inflatable board in case you bump your belly on it during a fall.
Just be sure to get the all-clear from your healthcare provider before visiting a lake or another natural body of water. Some women may be advised to avoid the microbes in untreated water during pregnancy.
#5) Take the family to an amusement park.
Being pregnant doesn’t mean you have to cancel all of your usual family traditions, such as visiting a theme park. No, you can’t take a ride on a roller coaster while pregnant, but you can still have family fun.
Some gentle rides may be suitable for pregnant women. If you have young kids, those are probably the rides they’ll do anyway. To help you decide which are appropriate during pregnancy, consult the warning signs posted in front of each attraction. Be sure to check with your doctor ahead of time, too.
If you have older kids who just can’t resist thrill rides, appoint yourself as the group’s official photographer. You can snap photos of your kids as they whiz past you.
Carnival games are, generally, another pregnancy-safe activity. While others wait in line for a coaster, you can try your hand at winning a giant teddy bear.
Keep an eye on how you feel throughout the day.
If you push yourself too hard, amusement parks can be exhausting. On the plus side, though, there are usually plenty of spots to sit down and rest. Indoor eating spaces often have icy-cold air conditioning. Plus, mist machines around the property may spit out clouds of cool water for instant relief. Bring a battery-powered fan, too.
#6) Treat yourself to a summer mocktail.
When everyone around you is indulging in summer cocktails, it can be easy to feel left out. Alcohol consumption isn’t safe during pregnancy at any levels, but that doesn’t mean you have to avoid all the fun of a mixed drink.
There are plenty of recipes for nonalcoholic beverages to satisfy your cravings for summer refreshment. This Vivacious Life offers a list of 20 nonalcoholic cocktail ideas. They include ideas like the Sangria Mocktail and the Cranberry Lime Sparkler.
In addition to fruity drinks, make sure you’re getting plenty of water as well. Pregnancy can be an extremely sweaty season of life — sometimes without much effort on your part. You’ve got to keep up with your water intake to make up for all the water loss.
#7) Turn in early.
Okay, so an early bedtime isn’t exactly an “activity,” but it can be helpful when you’re pregnant. That’s because spending a warm day in the sun can leave you exhausted. And as much as you try to keep up with your water intake, you may end up a bit dehydrated. Plus, regulating your body temperature can wear your body out.
This doesn’t mean that you should avoid outdoor fun. It’s simply a reminder to balance playtime and rest time. There’s no shame in an early evening after a day of summer fun. Your body will thank you for lying down to rest in a cool, cozy bedroom.
Also, pregnancy sleep isn’t only for the overnight hours. During the hottest part of the day, treat yourself to an afternoon nap in the AC. At the very least, let yourself unwind with a good book under a shady tree.
Regularly recharging will provide the energy you need for day after day of warm-weather activities. Summer pregnancies aren’t easy, but they’re manageable with the right mix of rest and play.