As someone who teaches two styles of yoga: prenatal and heated vinyasa, I've come to learn this particular fact quite well. A few weeks ago I inadvertently started heating my prenatal yoga class when I turned on the heater instead of the fan.
The class was not amused.
As a I child I remember countless times my mother told me about how she specifically planned my birth for January so that she wouldn't have to be pregnant in July. This never made a lot of sense to me, as I was literally four years old when she started sharing this particular tidbit. Now that I swaddle myself with pregnant women on a biweekly basis, I've started to realize that she shared with me because my mother is a Virgo. This means her mother must have shared with her JUST how fun it was to be pregnant in Cleveland with an August baby. Before air conditioning.
Having no babies of my own, I practiced my prenatal yoga teacher training with the aid of a microwaved bag of corn which I tucked into my shirt/pants. I believe this to be a close estimation of how it feels to be pregnant (temperature wise, at least). Imagine carrying your laptop in your pants after surfing the interwebs for an hour. This is how pregnant women feel all the time.
Keeping mama cool is so important, because in utero, baby cannot regulate his own temperature. He doesn't get to sweat, or say he's thirsty, or ask for a timeout from the 98 degree hot tub he lives in.
The most uncomfortable times to be pregnant include:
1. Being outside in the heat, especially in a car.
2. Anything that involves exertion (which is why swimming is the BEST). Yoga is a close second.
3. Cooking or being around cooking appliances.
5. All times in-between.
Things You Can Do for A Hot Pregnant Woman:
1. Do not tell her she looks hot (unless you are her partner and you are taking a calculated risk even then, my friend).
2. Offer a cool foot bath and foot massage with a cooling lotion, like aloe vera or a pregnancy approved minty foot rub.
3. Get her to a pool. Swimming, as long as the provider is on board, is cooling and relieves stress on the joints.
4. Cool the car before she gets in, if possible, and park in a shaded area.
5. Take care to keep the bedroom as cool as possible and offer her a cool washcloth to place on her forehead or neck. Sleeping in the basement never sounded so good.
6. Make sure she gets plenty of water to drink. Keeping her fluid levels up is crucial as she's sweating for two and trying to maintain an adequate level of amniotic fluid. Ask her provider if you're not sure how much she should be drinking.
When the going really gets tough, think about taking some time to go see a mid-day movie and bathe in the air conditioning, or try a frozen treat. Chocolate dipped frozen bananas are a personal favorite and are easy to make and relatively nutritious.
I'm one of those people who loves making your life easier (and I believe in you). I am an experienced registered prenatal yoga teacher and a lactation educator.
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