Will I Ever See My Ankles Again? Or how to Survive Being Pregnant in the Summer in the South….

by Andrea Dixon

Though we had some relief early in the season with some cooler days, the hot and humid days will be here to stay soon! The last few weeks before I gave birth to my summer baby were intense, with swollen feet and legs, lethargy from the heat, and terrible crankiness. 

Generally pregnant women feel warmer than usual during pregnancy, and the heat of the summer tends to exacerbate this feeling. The heat also tends to increase swelling in feet, ankles and legs that is often experienced during pregnancy. This can make for a miserable time of things. There’s the small consolation in it being warm enough to wear flip flops (and not have to figure out how to get on socks and tie shoes), but otherwise it can feel really unfair! 

Here are some ideas for managing – and maybe even enjoying – your summer pregnancy:

Get Wet! Swim or wade in the many local rivers and lakes (the Eno Rover, Falls Lake, Jordan Lake). There are also many local pools (both indoor and outside), that can be joined for season or year round. When I was pregnant, I decided that that any forward motion counts. Walking or swimming laps in the pool can both cool you down and count as exercise.

Cooling Foods – Fresh watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes, berries are in season, delicious and cooling for the body.

Get out exercising early before it the sun is high, humidity increases and shade is scarce. And make sure to...

Hydrate! Pregnancy requires extra fluid intake (the general recommendation is 12-13 8 ounce glasses / day). It can be hard to keep up with this intake (and the accompanying trips to the restroom), but it’s important to prevent dehydration. Ideas to increase fluid intake: seltzer, add sliced lemons, limes, cucumbers or berries to your water, combine water or seltzer with lemonade or juice, make herbal iced tea. Keep a pitcher of something that is yummy and appealing to you in the fridge so it’s fast and easy.

Massage can be a wonderful way to take care of yourself while pregnant – physically and emotionally. In addition to the relaxation benefits, it can help relieve aches and pains and help alleviate swelling. 

Cooling yoga poses – forward bends and restorative yoga poses are traditionally thought of as poses to cool the body and emotions. You can add a restorative element to any forward bend by adding support under your torso and head. One of my favorites for pregnancy is Upavista Konasana (Wide Legged Forward bend). Stack up some sofa cushions to rest on, and settle in.

Put your feet up – to help manage the swelling that many women experience during pregnancy, start and end the day with Viparita Karani (Legs Up the Wall). Throughout the day, take breaks to elevate your feet when you can. Even small breaks can make a big difference!

Have you had a summer pregnancy? What have you found most helpful? We’d love to hear your ideas, please share below!

And hope to see you at the river, farmer’s market or in yoga class soon!Pre-natal Warrior