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Erin van Vuuren

5 Ways to Survive a Summer Pregnancy

Find out how to stay safe and comfortable under the heat.

With your belly getting bigger and bigger just as we head into summer, you may find yourself wondering if you’ll make it out alive. But don’t worry — while it’s true that a summer pregnancy isn’t always easy, here are a few tricks to ease your hot-weather woes.

Summer Bummer #1: Dehydration

Getting enough fluids is especially tough in the hot summer months. Ordinarily, you should try to drink two liters of clear liquids every day, but in the summer, you need to add eight ounces for every hour you spend in the heat, according to NYC nutritionist Lara Englebardt Metz, MS, RD, CDN. That’s basically the amount you’ll be sweating out.

Cool Fix: Icy concoctions
Since you’ll be constantly sipping, make your drink a fun one. Try out Lara’s favorite mocktail: chilled seltzer with a splash of mango juice and lime. The mango is loaded with vitamin C and iron. Pretend you’re relaxing on a tropical beach by sipping from a super-cute cup like this coconut-shaped one from Target ($16.99 for set of 4, target.com). Or, if you get sick of sipping, go for a homemade Popsicle. Lara suggests blending nonfat yogurt, walnuts, and blueberries and pouring into Popsicle molds for a sweet snack loaded with H2O (not to mention omega 3s, calcium, antioxidants, and fiber). Going further than a step or two from the house? Pack your chilly treats in a Veranda cooler basket ($45, picnicfun.com) to stay comfy, cool and cute.

Summer Bummer #2: Swelling

Edema can be worse in summer, causing your calves, ankles, and feet to become one wide, bloated mass. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Cool Fix: Kick up your heels!
“To help reduce swelling, make an effort to keep your legs up whenever you can — even in the office,” says Lara. For an extra-relaxing way to lounge, try a comfy hanging seat like the colorful, handmade, Mayan hammock chair (from $29, hayneedle.com). While you're outside, slather on Burt's Bees DEET-free insect repellent (or their natural bug bite cream, if it's too late for protection) to help avoid future issues ($21, amazon.com). For double relief, grab your partner, hand him a bottle of Mama Mio massage oil ($19, amazon.com), and let him go to work. If your swelling persists, Lara suggests munching on watercress, celery, citrus fruits, or small bits of parsley, which may act as natural diuretics.

Summer Bummer #3: Extreme heat

Obvious but true: It’s steaming. You’re huge. It stinks.

Cool Fix: Get wet
Water is a mama-to-be’s best friend, so don't shy away from the pool! An afternoon dip will not only lower your body temp, the buoyancy will also ease the stress on your squished organs, and splashing around provides a great low-impact workout. Plus, you’ll have the chance to really show off that belly! Go on — be brave and bare your bump in a colorful printed suit like the sungarden bikini from Maternal America ($92, blossommaternity.com). No access to a pool? Try the plastic kiddy version. Baby can use it later. Just make sure you've got sunscreen on while you're outside. For your extra-sensitive face, we like Belli's anti-chloasma combo sunscreen/hydrator ($24, amazon.com) — it's specially formulated to fight those dark brown splotchy areas.

Summer Bummer #4: Sticky sweat

Okay, so the summer may have you chafing a bit. But the best thing about a summer pregnancy: lightweight and comfy maternity clothes!

Cool Fix: Breathable maternity wear
For maximum cuteness and comfort, go for loose, light-colored clothes. This helps keep you from overheating and allows sweat — especially beneath and between your boobs — to evaporate, preventing nasty rashes. Some cool options to try: Juicy Couture’s floral printed maternity dress ($220, juicycouture.com), A Pea in the Pod’s linen/cotton shift dress in tiki print ($225, apeainthepod.com), or Gap’s smocked tube top ($24.50, gap.com). Plop a floppy Cabana Life hat with built-in SPF 50 ($24, cabanalife.com) on your head, and you're ready to go!

Summer Bummer #5: Boredom

The simplest way to keep your body temp on track? “Stay indoors in an air-conditioned home,” says Lara. But how’s a girl to keep her sanity when she’s hanging out on the couch in the living room all day?

Cool Fix: Fun summer rentals
Beat the heat with a few belly laughs courtesy of some baby-focused DVD favorites. Your, er, “condition” might have you looking at a couple of ’80s and ’90s classics in a whole new light. Remember Junior? How about Father of the Bride Part II? Look Who’s Talking and Nine Months are great for a chuckle too. Renting (rather than hitting the theaters) will give you the freedom to pause the flick and walk around to ease your aches (or pee every 10 minutes).