Monday, July 26, 2010

Safe Sipping for Expectant Moms

It's the "dog days" of summer and where I live, near Charlotte, NC, we have been experiencing record heat. As a mom of a pregnant daughter, a doula and childbirth educator I am concerned that expectant mothers get the extra fluids they need to have a safe and healthy pregnancy.Why is hydration so important ? 

Consider your expanding blood volume. In one of the amazing feats of physiology, your body will increase the amount of blood you carry around to accomodate the extra needs of your cells and your developing baby.
Straying well hyrdated affects many important body systems, such as digestion and muscle function. In fact, when you are dehydrated, you are more likely to have uterine contractions before your baby is ready to be born.
In addition, pregnancy nearly doubles the risk of heat stroke which is a life threatening condition that must be treated quickly.The symptoms of heat exhaustion include shortness of breath, dizziness and a feeling of being lightheaded coupled with a body temperature of 105 degrees. Heat stroke refers to an abnormally heightened body temperature, exacerbated by hot weather or heavy physical exertion. For pregnant women, heat stroke is a very relevant concern in summer months. Signs and symptoms of heat stroke include:
• Difficulty breathing
• Rapid pulse
• Flushed skin
• Absence of sweating
• Confusion and disorientation
With any of these symptoms, seek emergency medical help immediately !
So, what's a momma to do ?

Wear light clothing, preferably in natural, breathable fibers and drink plenty of fluids. Stay out of the heat as much as possible, and if you exercise outdoors, do so in the early day or late evening when you are less likely to feel the full effects of the heat. 
Choose beverages that replenish your body, such as fresh clean water with fruit essences, such as HINT Water. Or, make your own refreshing fruit water by cutting up lemons, limes, oranges, berries to a pitcher and adding cold water and chill for several hours. 

Herbal fruit teas are a great choice too, as long as you are careful about how to sweeten them, if you must. Stick to honey, and natural sweeteners and avoid artificial sweeteners. 

What about coffee and caffeinated beverages ? They can be dehydrating, but if you must indulge a teeny bit, here is some information for you to consider.

There is no link between moderate caffeine consumption and miscarriage or
preterm birth, according to a recently-released opinion from
the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The opinion, intended to put an end to mixed messages that
pregnant women have typically received regarding caffeine intake during
pregnancy, is published in the August 2010 edition of the ACOG
Journal Obstetrics & Gynecology. Moderate caffeine consumption is
defined as less than 200 mg per day, the amount contained in
about 12 ounces of coffee. Daily consumption of over 200 mg of caffeine
would be considered a high level of caffeine intake.
ACOG’s Committee on Obstetric Practice also reviewed scientific evidence
regarding the effect of caffeine on fetal growth. No clear evidence was
found to show that caffeine increases the risk of restricting fetal
growth. To review the ACOG Committee Opinion online, go to

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