A summer pregnancy is no joke. And with over a month to go, you may still be searching for ways to get by. Luckily, we’re here to help. We’ve rounded up 8 essential summertime safety questions from moms-to-be. Before we dive in, let’s get one pressing matter out of the way: Yes, you can have a hot dog.
In light of Zika, yes. Typically off-limits for pregnant women because of toxicity (although it's only toxic in high usage levels), DEET's been temporarily given the green light from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since it's the most effective mosquito repellant. And the CDC recommends using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with either DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol—even during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Avoid sunscreens with ingredients like oxybenzone, homosalate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor, octocrylene and para-aminobenzoic acid. Instead, use physical or mineral blocks made from either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide—the same tried and true ingredient found in most diaper rash creams. Check out this list approved by the Environmental Working Group.
While the American Pregnancy Association (APA) doesn’t have any hard and fast rules for activities like boating, you’ll want to exercise caution, avoiding the jerky movements of, say, whitewater rafting. Something low-impact like canoeing should still be cleared with your doctor first, and since your center of balance might be off, you should wear a life jacket if you do decide to go. The APA does recommend avoiding water activities like scuba diving or water skiing. Regular swimming is touted as a safe, low-impact pregnancy workout, and chlorinated swimming pools pose little risk to pregnant women. A Danish study found no link between swimming pool water and negative reporoductive outcomes. But because your immune system is down during pregnancy, you’ll want to be strict about only taking a dip in pools that are well-maintained.
Staying hydrated is important. Aim for at least 64 ounces of water per day and as much as 96 ounces if you are exercising or have been vomiting from morning sickness. That fluid helps produce amniotic fluid and extra blood volume that your body needs as you build new tissue for baby. Plus, it helps with indigestion and flushes out wastes and toxins. To help meet this goal, always keep a water bottle on hand. And if this seems like too much of a challenge, keep in mind you can also get your fluid intake through other beverages and foods like milk, juice, soup, sparkling water, tea and fresh fruit.
Thinking about booking a last-minute getaway or planning a babymoon? Most doctors agree that it’s safe to fly up to 36 weeks, but many airlines require a doctor’s note after 28 weeks. If you have any sort of pregnancy complications or are considered high-risk (if you're having Braxton-Hicks contractions, if you’re at risk for pre-term labor, or if you have a history of delivering early) you shouldn’t fly after 24 to 28 weeks depending on what your doctor says. Pregnant with multiples? You may want to stop traveling even earlier, as early as 24 weeks on some airlines.
Since you’re being extra diligent with sunscreen, can you make up for any lost color with a sunless spray tan or lotion? Sorry, we advise against it. Spray tanners and sunless tanners contain dihydroxyacetone, or DHA, a chemical that can be absorbed into your bloodstream either through your skin or by inhaling the spray. The effects of DHA on pregnancy aren't clear, but it hasn't been proven safe to use for pregnancy, so we recommend avoiding it.
Understandably, you may have lingering fears from the Blue Bell Creameries listeria recall last summer. But nearly all popular brands of ice cream are made with pasteurized milk, keeping you in the clear with your next cone.
This one’s a no and is usually indicated by signage on rides. The American Pregnancy Association expresses concern with the quick, jarring motions of rides, plus the pressure this puts on your body. The rigorous and unpredictable activity can pose problems within your uterus and with the placenta.
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