A Bun in the Sun!

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Summer is many people’s favorite season of the year as they enjoy the sun in so many ways and it’s their annual break from school or work. Most people plan their vacations around summer as more activities can be done only in the summer like going to the beach, getting a sexy tan, traveling abroad, doing water sports and so on. Other people, however, who are not great fans of the heat and humidity, tend to enjoy the fall and winter more. They enjoy the cool weather and feel more comfortable away from the burning summer sun and feel more energetic during winter. But when a woman starts working on making a new baby, and successfully gets pregnant, that’s when the “bump” becomes the master of the house. It’s the pregnancy that shapes the way you feel about a certain season. So even if you are a summer freak and are used to rocking every summer day, your baby might make your summer feel different. Science says that a woman’s body temperature rises as pregnancy occurs and actually stays high throughout the pregnancy. So can you imagine surviving August at 45 degrees with all the works happing inside you? 
 
It’s hot, humid and you are pregnant. Go figure!
 
Among the complaints I heard from women who go pregnant in the summer is that they feel exhausted no matter what they do. It’s the heat and the load you are carrying that requires more energy to make it through your daily activities. In hot countries like ours, pregnant women become lazier to go out during the day and prefer to enjoy the company of the air conditioner at home. This definitely puts a woman in a bad mood since she feels trapped at home and missing out on all the day-time fun. Try to look for more activities to do during the day like reading, especially about babies and motherhood, playing board games, and remember this might be your last chance to get all the relaxation you can get before the master is in town. Once the baby is here, your number 1 priority is his or her feeding and changing. So don’t feel you are missing out on anything. You will need all the rest in the world sometime soon.  Exercise also makes a pregnant woman much healthier and feels better about herself. Make sure you have a good 20-30 minutes walk everyday or as many days a week as you can. Swimming is always recommended by doctors as it tones up the muscles with less effort under water and it also prepares your muscles for the big game; labor. Swimming is fun and refreshing anyways, so you might as well use it for you own good.
 
To make yourself good also during the hot summer months, you might need to avoid the day heat as much as possible as it makes you dehydrate rapidly and that’s something that any pregnant women should steer free from throughout the pregnancy. Your body and baby need the fluids so you have to give them all they need. Patsy, a mother of a one year old, says that one of her biggest nightmares was the lack of fluids and which, in turn, reduced the fluids around her baby. “Drinking a lot of water”, says Patsy “was the key! It does wonders to the mom and the baby. It flushed my system and I felt way better”. Summer naturally sucks up all on our body moisture, so with a baby growing inside you sucking on all your fluids, you should never be seen without a glass of water in you hand!
 
It’s more than just your belly!
            As more fluids enter your body, during pregnancy, your body retains about 15 pounds of extra fluid in order to support the physical changes happening inside you and your baby.  This increase in blood flow, which is caused by the increased body fluid, is the reason behind the swelling of the feet and hands as the pregnancy progresses, no matter what time of the year it is. Now imagine swelling up during our nasty summer heat. Not so pleasant, isn’t it? Don’t blame your husband or friends if they make fun of your clown feet during pregnancy because the truth is, they are big. You are not only adding weight to your belly, but to many other areas you never thought of. To avoid the increased swelling, make sure to drink more fluids and elevate your legs from the ground for 20-30 minutes whenever you get the chance. It makes the blood flow throughout the body and reduces the puffing. You can also sleep on your sides and turn frequently to make the circulation move smoother into the body.  
            Not only will the summer sun make it to you’re your feet, hands and ankles, but the bad news is that many women reported skin discoloration when exposed to the sun. “I felt like a stained glass”, a friend once told me. Doctors say it’s because Melanin, the natural pigment that produces tans and freckles reacts to the hormonal changes in the pregnant woman’s body leaving color deposits on the skin where not needed. So you might get an unpleasant tan that you never wished for on your arms, around the lower abdomen or even the lip (So much for that pregnancy glow!) To be honest there is not much of good news that this change in color skin can be totally avoided but simply stay away from the early sunrays as much as you can (and here’s one more reason to stay home!). Ask your doctor if you can use certain types of sunscreens that are not harmful to you or your baby.
           
Winter “Buns” come with more Flavors!
            Since your life is going to be more limited with pregnancy anyways, why not postpone getting pregnant to when you will be less active anyways? I know many pregnancies happen unplanned but let’s assume we can plan when to do what we need to do to get pregnant. Winter is a slow and lazy season by nature, so why not use that as the time to get slow and lazy ourselves? Your body temperature will rise during pregnancy, so now you have a natural heating source growing inside you. The baby is keeping his mommy warm and happy. So you can now make fun of your freezing husband all winter long! And don’t worry; you might not even need to layer up during winter to make your baby warm. Research showed that a baby in a womb cannot get cold even if the mother is feeling cold. He or she is warm and cushioned in your uterus and is enjoying the natural warmth of your body too.
            Also the sense of dehydration is dramatically reduced during winter. According to Maisoon, a mother of a 4 months old boy, the hot flashes that pregnant women suffer from during pregnancy sort of disappear in winter pregnancies which makes her avoid dehydration.  So you are maintaining your body moisture and keeping your body cool and comfortable for you and your growing baby.
            Not convinced enough? What if I tell you that many women in cold cities like Columbus, Chicago and London prefer to be pregnant during the winter even though it’s nasty and freezing cold over there? They prefer that because they know they will be spending more time indoors during this season, or at least a big part of it so they can enjoy their pregnancy with less worry about the heat, humidity, and all the summer-related discomforts. Brandis, an American mother of 3, and who lives in Chicago says “I would rather spend the whole winter fat and pregnant than have even one month of pregnancy in the summer heat. It’s just too much to put up with.” In such cold cities, the sun comes up only a few months every year so they would rather enjoy that sunshine with their newborn rather than on an exhausting pregnancy. Even if we do not get such cold weather in our countries (although we saw a glimpse of a bad weather last winter), we still aren’t as wild and active during winter ourselves. It’s only more convenient to bake the bun in your oven during winter so that it’s all ready for you to enjoy by summer.
            My mother-in-law told me that she had to wait one whole year to send her son to school because he was “under-age”. He was only a few days younger than the age accepted at schools. I am not really sure how serious this issue is to many parents but I know of people who had to wait a whole year because their child was only one month or less shy of being at the appropriate age of joining school. These are kids who were born September or later, so by the time school starts, they might be younger than required. So this is one more thing you might consider when planning your pregnancy. If you have your child by spring or even summer, your baby’s age will be suitable for starting school whenever you feel it’s the right time for it. This could seem trivial to you now but mothers, by the time their kids are at the right school age, are usually anxious to send them off to school and get a break for themselves. They have been on a minimum of 4 or 5 year-ride on the baby nursing roller coaster. Don’t they deserve a break?
           
No one said a pregnancy is a smooth ride!
            There are definitely downfalls for winter pregnancies, such as getting the flu, the rough skin and putting on more weight from the lack of activities. Many women also mentioned that winter increases their cravings for fatty foods. “You always want to nibble on something”, adds Patsy. “Nothing fills you up!”
            However, a pregnancy is a serious and critical phase in any woman’s life and there will always be the good and bad side to it. But since it’s not going to be a smooth ride all the way through, why not use some maneuvering to make it as comfortable as possible? When we weighed the discomforts of the two pregnancy seasons, many women were in favor of winter pregnancies to avoid the bigger discomforts they might experience in the summer. They all had their ups and downs sometime or many times along the pregnancies but many prefer to open their kitchens during the winter and enjoy the summer heat to themselves.  You are more aware of your body than anyone in the world. So you should be able to decide which season is better for you and when you can function better, putting into consideration that you have something going on inside you now. Listen to your body and let it guide you better…. Have a great 9 months!
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