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Surviving a Summer Pregnancy

It's the summer and it's hot. A record heat wave is baking parts of the country. And this time of year can be especially uncomfortable for pregnant women. Laura Kalehoff, Executive Editor of American Baby Magazine has tips on how expecting moms can stay cool this summer.

Take a dip in the pool. They are a pregnant woman's friend. You're buoyant in the water, which means relief from all the extra weight. Pool time can reduce swelling in your feet and legs too.

Use bug repellent. Slather on the one with DEET. It's considered safe in pregnancy and it's better to use it than risk getting West Nile virus.

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Hydration is key. Pregnant women need more fluids during the hot summer months, so be sure you're sipping at least six to eight glasses a day. You're probably already making a million trips to the bathroom these days, but letting yourself get too parched can worsen pregnancy aches like swelling. You can even trigger contractions and up your risk for preterm labor. If you're not a fan of water you can always flavor it up by adding a slice of orange or a sprig of mint. Caffeine-free, herbal iced tea is another good pick. Or you can add a splash of pomegranate juice or peach nectar to a glass of seltzer. Munching on water-rich fruits and veggies can also help keep you hydrated.

Protect your skin and bump from the sun. Pregnancy alters your immune system, which may put you at a higher risk of developing skin cancer if you don't take precautions. Pick a sunscreen that guards against UVA and UVB rays with an SPF of 30 or higher. Your skin is extra sensitive now, so steer clear of chemical sunscreens and go for physical blockers that sit on top of the skin rather than being absorbed into it. The label will list zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as main ingredients. Reapply every three hours as well as after you swim. Your belly catches rays from every angle when it's exposed, so a one-piece or tankini is a smarter choice. You'll also protect your linea negra-the line some moms-to-be get on their stomach-from getting darker.

Avoid sunshine on your face. No clear research shows sunscreen alone prevents melasma, the skin discoloration known as the mask of pregnancy. So SPF up and stay in the shade. Accessorize wisely. Wear sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection and a hat with a big brim.

For more information on surviving the summer pregnant and other parenting tips, click here.

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