Dr. Ernest Mak, Ob/Gyn of the Helena Women's Clinic takes care of women throughout all the stages of their life, whether it be during their child bearing years or their golden years.
“Even though this article is to enlighten those Mothers-to-be, this summer, this is just good sound summer healthy advise to all. So read and reap the benefits”, said Sharon Martin, marketing director for Helena Regional Medical Center.

Dr. Ernest Mak, Ob/Gyn of the Helena Women’s Clinic takes care of women throughout all the stages of their life, whether it be during their child bearing years or their golden years. 

“Even though this article is to enlighten those Mothers-to-be, this summer, this is just good sound summer healthy advise to all.  So read and reap the benefits”, said Sharon Martin, marketing director for Helena Regional Medical Center.

Family gatherings, picnics, weddings and parties can all make maintaining good pregnancy nutrition and weight control a struggle during the summer months.  One way to maintain wellness is to choose fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season.  Salads with light dressings, low-fat cheeses and lean meats are the perfect summer-time meal for pregnant women. Fresh fruit and fruit salads are ideal to be taken as a dessert to summer gatherings.

Barbecues can be a source of healthy foods such as lean meats and grilled vegetables, but take care to avoid any meat that has not been properly cooked.  Undercooked poultry and beef can carry salmonella or listeria and be a risk to both mother and fetus.  Steaks should be cooked to internal temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

The heat of summer means that all women should be consuming more water than normal to keep up with increased need for hydration.  Severe dehydration during pregnancy can lead to contractions, fatigue and low blood pressure.  Some women who suffer from dehydration require medical attention in the form of intravenous fluids.  This can be avoided by drinking approximately two liters or about 8 cups of water per day during a summer pregnancy.

Artificial sweeteners are found in many beverages and desserts.  Sucralose (Splenda) is not absorbed in the digestive tract and does not appear to cross the placenta to the fetus.  Likewise Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet, Nutra Taste) does not cross the placenta and the FDA consider it safe when taken in moderation, which is about 2,800 milligrams per day.  However, Saccharine (Sweet’n Low) cross the placenta and should be avoided during pregnancy.

Traveling during late pregnancy requires special attention for those with certain complications including placenta previa, premature labor and respiratory conditions.  Visit to high attitudes above 5,000 ft. above sea levels with lower oxygen may bring on shortness of breath.

Most airlines allow pregnant passengers to fly as long as they are less than 36 week.  Women who have certain complications are generally advised not to fly over long distance because medical assistance in not accessible in the air.  Circulation in the legs can be improved by wearing loose clothing and getting up to stretch on a regular basis.  Again maintaining good hydration during the flight is especially important for pregnant women.

Cruise vacations on boats require some planning as many cruise lines will not accept pregnant passengers who are more than 23 weeks.  Recent news accounts of intestinal ailments in the confined space of a boat again raise questions on this option for vacation during your pregnancy.

Exercise is an important part of a healthy pregnancy and lifestyle.  Swimming is a good low impact aerobic activity that may help reduce dependent edema in the legs.  However scuba diving should be avoided because research suggests the decompression process may adversely affect the fetus and also increase the risk of premature labor.  Jet skiing and water skiing are both potentially risky for high-speed impact injuries.

Walking is a simple way to maintain an active lifestyle during any trimester of pregnancy.  For beginners start with 10 to 15 minutes a day for 3 days a week with a goal of walking 30 minutes 5 days per week.  Do some warm up and incorporate a routine of stretching with the daily stroll.  Try to exercise during the early morning before the heat, wear some protection from UV light and insects. 

The tips above can help you maintain wellness and comfort in the summer months but always check with your doctor before starting on a new exercise program.  Follow these guidelines to endure and enjoy a safe summer.