social aspects

Heart Complications due to Summer Heat

Deanne Stein Health Guide June 13, 2007
  • Spring is not even over yet, but the heat is already on.  The fact that I’m in my sixth month of pregnancy doesn’t help either.  I feel like I’m in a sauna most of the time, which is odd for me.  I’m the type of person who brings a jacket to restaurants in the summer because the air conditioner is too cold to handle.  Not the case anymore, the colder the better for me right now.

               

    A friend of mine who is also a doula says when you have a child growing inside of your body, your body chemistry is all messed up and you feel hot all the time.  Your baby also feels the heat you feel.  In fact, getting overheated during the summertime can be uncomfortable for you and bad for your baby.  In fact, it’s easy to become dehydrated.  Overheating and dehydration can lead to other dangerous conditions such as fainting, cramps, especially in the legs, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

               

    Doctors say when your blood pressure drops there’s less blood supply to the uterus, the placenta, and the baby.  In fact, the heat of Jacuzzis and saunas during pregnancy has been linked to neural tube defects.

               

    The summer heat can also cause problems with not only heat stroke, but also blood clots.  When the body temperature rises, your body can sometimes become dehydrated.  Dehydration causes blood vessels to narrow and blood to thicken, increasing the risk for DVT.  DVT stands for deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot in a vein deep within the muscles, usually in the calf or thigh.  According to the American Heart Association, you can reduce the risk of developing DVT.  For instance, if you are going to be in the heat, wear light colored clothing, limit outdoor activities to early morning and evenings and drink plenty of water.   Reducing alcohol and coffee consumption, which both contribute to dehydration, is also recommended. These steps aren't scientifically proven to prevent DVT, but they're just plain common sense.