There are lots of ways to have fun—and stay cool—in the sun, but here are some you’ll want to avoid.
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There are certainly pros to being pregnant in the summer, including flowy sundresses and not having to navigate your changing center of gravity on ice.
You’ll find you’re still able to do many of the activities you love, either as usual or modified—like swimming and exercise—but there are a handful of activities you’ll want to stay clear of.
With some activities—such as cycling, running and tennis—the going advice is that if you did these things before, you can keep doing them at a lighter pace until your second trimester; if you didn’t before, it’s best not to start during pregnancy.
Staying active and having time outdoors is as important as always, but the major factors you’ll want to consider are the possibilities for overheating, dehydration, and impact on your joints. Here are some summer activities to skip until next year.
Hot tubs and saunas
While usually a means of relaxation, hot tubs and saunas are dangerous to developing babies. You can still take warm (not hot) baths at home, but the temperatures that hot tubs and saunas reach are not safe. Overheating has been linked to birth defects, especially in the early stages of pregnancy.
This one should seem obvious, but it’s a summer standby you’ll notice now that it’s gone. You can still go to all the same functions and social events but stick to lemonades and iced teas.
You can also ask your server to make you up a “mocktail” so you’re not empty-handed—many cocktails and blender drinks are tasty without the alcohol.
While the specifics are constantly under debate, drinking alcohol while pregnant has been linked to a higher chance of miscarriage or stillbirth, low birth weights, and developmental problems.
Renovations and major home improvements
You may have work you want to get done on your home before the baby arrives, but be careful about chemicals used in paints, paint removers, varnishes, glues, and other products.
If you can find a non-toxic or organic option, go for it. If not, you’ll want to ask or hire someone to help out. Lead dust from paints in older homes is especially dangerous to your baby-to-be.
Major lifting (Campers, take note)
The two main places this is likely to happen during summer activities are major reorganization projects and camping.
It’s fine to do both, with limitations.
If you’re going to go camping, especially in the latter stages of pregnancy, you may want to stick with car camping or a less rugged option in case of emergency. You definitely don’t want to be carrying heavy camping gear on your own.
Likewise, before the baby comes you might be inclined to reorganize at home, but don’t move furniture or appliances—you’ll need someone else to do that.
Amusement park rides and water slides
Roller coasters and water slides might be part of your typical summer routine, especially if you have older kids. Roller coasters have many abrupt jolts, which could separate the placenta from the uterus prematurely.
With water slides, the concern is a forceful landing, which could harm your baby. You’ll want to skip other amusement park rides also, as the sudden starts and stops are too dangerous to take chances on.
Waterskiing, contact sports, surfing, and horseback riding
The issues with these are mostly the same: you don’t want to risk a high-impact fall. With contact sports, you’re risking injury from impact in other ways (getting pushed, hit by a ball, etc) as well.
With falls during day-to-day life, which do happen during pregnancy, the amniotic sac will protect the fetus—it’s the possibility of more forceful falls that you don’t want to risk.
Whether you’re an experienced scuba diver or looking to take it up on a trip—do not scuba dive while pregnant. Air bubbles can form in your bloodstream when you surface, and a fetus doesn’t have the lungs to filter out these bubbles the way an adult could.
Sun tanning, both outdoors and in tanning salons, can be dangerous and should be avoided. Sun tanning is a risk for both overheating and dehydration. Some suggest avoiding direct afternoon sun, opting for shaded areas during that time, and avoiding dark-colored clothing, which attracts the sun.
Some studies suggest that UV rays break down folic acid, which expectant moms need.
Carly Link, a 33-year old mother of two toddlers. She is a parent and goes through a lot of the usual parenting difficulties herself. Carly shares all her experiences and knowledge about the best baby products through this blog.