Posts Tagged ‘dehydration’

Surviving the heat wave

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

hot sunHazy, hot, humid… and possibly humungous if you’re pregnant. Ugh! Summer heat waves can be exceptionally tough on pregnant women. When pregnant, you can be extra sensitive to the harsh rays of the sun, to heat, to dehydration. Here are some tips on surviving nature’s torments.

– Stay inside in the air conditioning, but if you feel you must go to the beach, take a big umbrella with you and sit in its shade. Spritzing yourself with water from time to time may feel great and help cool you.
– Exercise in the cool of the day if you are doing something outside. Swimming is excellent, but if the air quality is bad or you have asthma, try to stay indoors.
– Slather on the sun block before going out, using an SPF of 30 or higher. Reapply it regularly – goopify!
– Wear a wide brimmed hat to protect not only your face, but ears and neck. Caps don’t protect as well.
– Wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays, even with a hat.
– Wear light-weight, breathable, loose-fitting clothing.
– If you wear sandals to help keep your feet cool, be sure to keep suntan lotion on your feet. And put those piggies up for a rest whenever you can.
– Walk on the side of the street that has shade. (The sun is hottest between 10 AM and 4 PM so try to avoid going out then.)
– Drink water throughout the day. Carry a refillable water bottle with you and leave one in the car. Drinking slightly warm water is better than drinking no water. Sport drinks and OJ can help replace electrolytes that you may be sweating away. Remember, despite the heat, pregnant women just sweat more to begin with.
– Reduce your level of activity when heat and humidity are high. Now might be a good time to practice being a couch potato!
– If you do overheat, apply a cool damp cloth to your forehead and back of the neck. Ice cream is good for helping to lower your temp, but fruity pops are better.
– If you feel weak, dizzy, or lightheaded, or you’re overly thirsty, go indoors immediately. Drink some cool water or a sport drink and lie down. If you don’t feel better soon, call your health care provider.

And if you have children, make sure you read our article about protecting them from heatstroke.

Chat on hyperemesis and morning sickness

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

No doubt you have heard that Kate Middleton, Dutchess of Cambridge, is pregnant. The news came as she was admitted to hospital suffering from a severe form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum, HG. 

As many of you moms well know, 50-90% of women report some nausea and vomiting, especially in early pregnancy. But in rare cases, about 1 in 200, pregnant women develop this severe morning sickness that prevents them and their babies from getting the nutrients and water they need. HG is marked by severe nausea and vomiting accompanied by dehydration and weight loss, and women can report feeling their heart racing or lightheadedness. It’s a serious matter and must be treated and watched carefully.

Join us and Dr. Dolan this Wednesday, Dec. 5th, at 3 PM ET for a #pregnancychat on hyperemesis – who’s at risk and different treatments. Feel free to ask questions. Did you have hyperemesis? Share your experience, how you handled it, what support you got or needed.

Headaches during pregnancy

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

headacheHeadaches are common during pregnancy, especially during the first and third trimesters. They rarely signal a serious problem, but they do deserve attention.

In the first few months of pregnancy, headaches may be caused by normal changes in your hormone levels and an increase in blood volume and circulation. In the second trimester, pregnancy-related headaches may disappear as your body becomes used to the hormonal changes. Towards the end of pregnancy, headaches tend to be related more to posture and tension from carrying extra weight.

During the second and third trimesters, headaches may also be caused by a serious condition called preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy). Preeclampsia requires immediate medical attention.  Contact your health care provider immediately if your headache:
• Does not go away or recurs often
• Is sudden and very severe
• Is accompanied by blurry vision, spots in front of your eyes, sudden weight gain, pain in the upper right abdomen, and swelling in the hands or face
• Is accompanied by nausea and vomiting
• If you’ve been having any problems with high or rising blood pressure, call your health care provider even if you have a mild headache.

Some women often have tension headaches, which cause squeezing pain or a dull ache on both sides of the head or the back of the neck. The headaches may increase during pregnancy, especially if you experiences stress, fatigue, caffeine withdrawal (especially if you suddenly stop or cut down on coffee drinking or other sources of caffeine when you learn you’re pregnant), lack of sleep, dehydration (lack of fluids), or hunger or low blood sugar.

Some unlucky women may have migraine headaches for the first time in early pregnancy. These headaches cause severe, throbbing pains on one side of the head. Nausea or vomiting may also be part of the migraine experience. But many women who are prone to migraines may notice that they improve during pregnancy. Some migraine sufferers may notice no change during pregnancy or may find that their headaches become more frequent and intense.

Before taking any medications or herbal remedies, always talk to your health care provider. If you regularly suffer from migraines, ask your health care provider before taking the medications you normally used before becoming pregnant. The following tips may safely help relieve or prevent headaches during pregnancy:
• Use warm or cold compresses
• Reduce stress
• Rest and exercise
• Eat well-balanced meals
• Take care of your body
• Avoid headache triggers

While most headaches during pregnancy are harmless, some can be a sign of a more serious problem. If you have a migraine for the first time during pregnancy, or if you have a headache that feels unlike any you’ve experienced before, call your health care provider to make sure it is not a sign of more serious problems. Call your health care provider right away if your headache:
• Is sudden and explosive or includes a violent pain that awakens you from sleep
• Is accompanied by fever and stiff neck
• Becomes increasingly worse, and you have vision changes, slurred speech, drowsiness, numbness or a change in sensation or alertness
• Occurs after falling or hitting your head
• Is accompanied by nasal congestion, pain and pressure underneath your eyes, or dental pain (these may be signs of sinus infection)

Hyperemesis gravidarum

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Nausea and occasional vomiting, often referred to as morning sickness, are common during pregnancy and aren’t harmful to you or your baby. But if you’re vomiting often and just can’t manage to keep food or even water down, you may have a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum and that can be dangerous.

Hyperemesis occurs in about 1 in 200-300 pregnancies and is more common in young or first-time moms.  With hyperemesis, you and your baby are not getting the nutrients you need, you can easily become dehydrated, your electrolytes might get out of balance. If you’re vomiting a lot, nothing you do improves it, you lose more than two pounds, your urine turns a dark color, or you see blood in your vomit, let your provider know right away and get some help with it.  You may need hospitalization for treatment with IV fluids and antinausea meds to help you feel better and to protect you and your baby.

Temporary suspension: Rotarix vaccine

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

lab-glassYoung children are routinely vaccinated against rotavirus disease to help prevent severe diarrhea and dehydration. Before the vaccine, tens of thousands of children in the United States were hospitalized ever year with rotavirus disease; some of them died.

The trade names for the rotavirus vaccine are Rotarix and RotaTeq. These two forms of the vaccine are made by different companies.

Today the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked health providers to temporarily stop using Rotarix. Pieces of a virus called PCV1 have been found in Rotarix.

The FDA stressed that there is no evidence that these virus fragments pose a safety risk. But the agency wants to be cautious and do additional research to be sure.

If your child has received Rotarix, don’t be alarmed. He or she doesn’t need any special follow-up medical care. But if you have questions, call your child’s health care provider.

Reseachers have not found any traces of virus in  RotaTeq, the second form of vaccine against rotavirus disease. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be vaccinated against rotavirus. So for now, RotaTeq is the vaccine to be used.

Leg cramps – OUCH!!!

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

leg-crampsDuring pregnancy, I used to wake up at night with a stabbing pain in a leg caused by muscle cramps or spasms. They’re fairly common in the 2nd and 3rd trimester.  I was told that things like muscle strain from extra weight, low fluid intake (I never was too good at drinking enough water – bad move), or staying in the same position for a long time contributed to what I called Charley horses.  They hurt like….

Things like changes in your blood circulation during pregnancy and pressure from the baby on the nerves and blood vessels that go to your leg up your odds for leg cramps. Experts once thought that most leg cramps were caused by too little calcium in the diet, but they no longer think that this is so. (Calcium is important to your baby’s development, though, and it helps keep your own bones strong and healthy. Be sure you’re eating enough dairy products and other foods that contain calcium during pregnancy.)

Be proactive.  Get regular exercise during the day and make sure you’re guzzling plenty of water.  Getting dehydrated can trigger these bad boys.  If you’re on your feet a lot during the day, try wearing support hose.  Stretch your legs, especially the calves, before you go to bed.  Avoid pointing your toes when stretching or exercising.

Stopping the pain starts with stopping the spasm. If you feel a cramp coming on, stretch your leg from the heel.  I found it easiest to get out of bed and lean into a wall, like doing a wall push-up, while keeping my feet flat on the floor.  (Be careful not to jump out of bed too fast – you might get dizzy!)  Massaging the muscle and putting moist heat on it can be soothing, too.

Most of the time, these nasty cramps will subside on their own without medical treatment.  But if the pain is frequent and severe, you know you have a clotting disorder, or you notice any redness, warmth, swelling or tenderness in your leg, call your doc right away to make sure nothing more serious is going on.

Tips for avoiding summer’s heat

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

beach-umbrellaWhen we have kids, we’re always thinking of protecting them.  We don’t want them to get sunburned or have heat stroke.  But often, we don’t take our own advice when it comes to protecting ourselves.  When pregnant, you can be extra sensitive to the harsh rays of the sun, to heat, to dehydration.  Don’t forget the following:

–  Slather on the sun block before going out, using an SPF of 30 or higher.  Reapply it regularly – goopify!
–  Wear a wide brimmed hat to protect not only your face, but ears and neck. Caps don’t protect as well.
–  Wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays, even with a hat.
–  If you wear sandals to help keep your feet cool, be sure to keep suntan lotion on your feet.  And put those piggies up for a rest whenever you can.
–  Walk on the side of the street that has shade.  (The sun is hottest between 10 AM and 4 PM)
–  Drink plenty of water.  Carry a refillable water bottle with you and leave one in the car.  Drinking slightly warm water is better than drinking no water.
–  Take a big umbrella with you to the beach and sit in its shade.
–  Reduce your level of activity when heat and humidity are high.

Swine flu and pregnancy

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

pregnant1If you’re pregnant, you may have been wondering, “What happens if I get the swine flu? Will it hurt my baby? How dangerous would it be for me?”

If you do get swine flu, the illness may be mild. But for some women, swine flu will progress rapidly, and symptoms will be severe.

Complications of any flu, such as pneumonia and dehydration, can be serious and even fatal. So be on the watch for any symptoms. Treatment can help.

Symptoms of swine flu include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, diarrhea and vomiting.

If you are pregnant and have flu-like symptoms, contact your health care provider. If your symptoms are severe, talk with your provider about the benefits and risks of taking an antiviral drug, such as Tamiflu. Consider the seriousness of your illness as you decide about medication.

High fever may be especially dangerous to the fetus. Acetaminophen appears to be the best way to treat fever during pregnancy.

For more info on swine flu, visit the Web site of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Air travel during pregnancy

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

 Next month I’m attending a conference for work on the west coast. It’s something that was planned well before I knew I was expecting. I’ll be in my 23rd week by the time I head out. I spoke to my health care provider because I was a little nervous about traveling by myself especially because the flight is so long. I’m mostly concerned about being uncomfortable, having to get up a million times to use the bathroom, weird plane food and jet lag.

If you are in good health and more than five or six weeks from your due date, traveling by air should be fine.  If you are experiencing health problems during your pregnancy, air travel can be unwise.  Be sure to speak with your health care provider if you are unsure about whether you should travel.

Pregnant women who travel may have special concerns including:

Seating – Try to get an aisle seat so you will have more legroom as well as the ability to get up and stretch periodically.  This is important, especially during long flights.  Blood can pool in your legs if you sit idle for extended periods.  This pooling can lead to blood clots.

Changes in air pressure -This should not pose any unusual problems.  During flight, the air pressure in the plane cabin is adjusted to approximate the pressure you would experience around 5,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level.  At this height, you and your baby will each have less oxygen in your blood than you would at sea level.  Your bodies will adjust however and you should get along fine.

Seat belts -The seat belt should be adjusted snugly beneath your abdomen, across the tops of your thighs.

Fluids – Drink plenty of nonalcoholic and decaffeinated fluids before and during the flight.  The humidity level in the cabin is generally low and the extra fluids can help prevent dehydration.

For more information about traveling during pregnancy click here.

Image: John Wardell, Flickr