As I was headed into the final months of my pregnancy with a late September due date, seemingly everywhere I was running into the same headlines, all hating on carrying in the summer heat.
“Ways To Survive A Summer Pregnancy” offered one such article. “Top Tricks To Get Through A Summer Pregnancy” read another, followed by a flurry more if you were interested. All these made summer, the ONE season we in the U.S. Northeast long for as soon as Christmas is over, seem like the worst one out there! But there are so many reasons to love your summer pregnancy and indulge in everything the warm season has to offer.
#1. The heat.
This may be a personal preference, but I will take the heat over cold any day. For truly hot days, in-home and work air conditioning negated any ill effects heat may have had on my pregnant body. Moreover, the heat encouraged me to drink more fluids and be more aware of personal hydration. The warmer weather also lends well to pursuing days outside: in the water and enjoying nature.
#2. The outdoors.
Spending more time outdoors is the gift of summer. Guilt-ridden to spend ANY time at home, I enjoyed spending every possible moment organizing outings to enjoy the great outdoors. For us in Northern New Jersey, this meant exploration of our locale – enjoying the plentiful access to Jersey Shore beaches, the national parks, the local farms for vegetable/berry picking, as well as animal farms and outdoor playspaces to entertain our little. My growing belly didn’t stand in the way of the plans – in fact, fresh air, positive emotions, movement all made the season fly by and miss every moment! In the days of coronavirus, many of these activities can be safely enjoyed, while taking appropriate precautions.
#3. The exercise.
“I want to go out in 20F degree weather for a brisk walk through the park!” said no one ever.
OK. Maybe not no one, but certainly not a heavily pregnant woman. How much more pleasant to get moving when the weather is temperate to warm? It’s no wonder more people begin exercising more regularly as spring brings warmer days. This complements the continued need for pregnant women to continue exercising, and as summer commences, there are many ways to stay active. From walking to hiking to swimming, there are far more pleasant, low-key options than during colder months that are both healthful and relaxing.
For me, the winning choice was swimming. I made time to go to the pool once a day for at least 30 minutes to get exercise and relax in the water. On weekends, my daughter and I spent several hours in the pool, which incidentally was also great to entertain her and give me a little down time. As a result, I was avoided the vast majority of the unpleasant side effects women can expect by the third trimester – water retention and swelling, excessive weight gain, lower energy levels, backaches, shortness of breath and poor sleep. Depending on where you are in the U.S. and the varying levels of coronavirus precautions, you may not have access to a local pool, but most of the beaches and lakes are open for the summer, so you might consider planning ahead to take advantage of this summer pastime.
#4. The guilt-free ice cream.
‘Nuff said. But seriously, this is an important, though short mention. Not a second thought about weight management or portion control when it comes to ice cream in the summer. Not a small one, and not a frozen yogurt. A nice multi-scoop dose of cold, sugary, buttery indulgence! Because it’s summer! Because that’s what you do! And because I am pregnant, dammnit! Comes completely free of guilt.
#5. The healthy eating.
On the subject of food, what a great season to enjoy a variety of fresh, farm-to-table dishes! Wide variety of vegetables, fruit and berries, all available in over-abundance to nourish growing baby and mom. Less desire to indulge in heavy meals, more natural gravitation toward lighter, vegetable-rich foods. This is the time to have JUST watermelon for dinner, or put together a lovely salad from locally picked lettuces, herbs, tomatoes and strawberries.
#6. The clothes-optional.
My winter pregnancy was spent looking for clothes to fit my ever-expanding physique. First, I shifted into my bigger clothes, then into my mom’s clothes, then resorted to begging and borrowing, and — gasp – buying a few items to hold me over. But the look was not particularly attractive: jeans, t-shirts, a few large dresses, all washed too often and rotated with annoying frequency. Complete with an oversize, long coat I borrowed from my mom, I was Halloween-ready every day, dressed like a fairy tale witch, short of a broom and painted green. Thank goodness that all those clothes had been given away immediately post-partum. In my view, summer is more forgiving when it comes to clothes. So much time can be spent in just a few roomy dresses, alternating with a bathing suit and flip-flops. Weekend wardrobe might easily accomplished with roomier dresses and slightly bigger clothes.
For my summer pregnancy, my priorities were to accommodate both a weekend get-up that included taking my three year old daughter to the pool and the beach, as well as professional workweek wardrobe, where after my first pregnancy I wanted to continue to look professional and polished. Buying a whole temporary wardrobe was not something I wanted to do. The goal for my second pregnancy was to not look like a bum. I was conscious about developing my career and feeling body-positive, which over time I’ve grown to believe really makes an impact on my emotional health. I wanted my clothes to grow with me as my child grew and that meant being able to swing some non-pregnancy stretchy clothes in the beginning, slowly evolving into full-on pregnancy garb.
Renting became the solution that addressed all my pregnancy clothes goals. I looked into a few rental services, which at the time were mainly Rent the Runway and Le Tote (now there are quite a few more options, including Armoire, Infinitely LOFT and many more (check here for a nicely curated list).
I adjusted my wardrobe each week, was able to rent pregnancy clothes without actually buying anything that I would then have to give away and was able to rent both casual and professional attire that made me feel attractive and confident.
#7. The summer Fridays.
If you are in a corporate world like me, there is something called Summer Fridays that really comes so handy when you are pregnant and just need the weekend to come earlier. I really made the most of the workweek to work from home on Friday and check out earlier, getting a little rest while my daughter was still in daycare. On those lazy Friday afternoons, I could get a guiltfree mani/pedi or catch some afternoon zzz’s, which for any pregnant woman are beyond welcome.
#8. The less stress.
Summer is known among families as the season when it becomes so much easier to entertain kids as they can spend more time outside. This might mean full-day camp, slow pace of backyard activities like sprinklers, baby splash pool (or swimming in your own pool, if you own one). Hiking, parks, boating, beach, farms, fruit and vegetable picking and SO MUCH MORE – all the options that spell LESS STRESS to occupy the older children and possibly more relaxing time than the hectic winter holiday season or creativity to entertain kids indoors in colder months. If I had to redo, I would certainly make sure at least a part of my pregnancy would fall between May and October. Here are a few memories from a trip we took to Orchard View Lavender Farm in Port Murray, NJ two summers ago.
#9. The less germs.
More relevant than ever before, the summer months also carry a far less significant viral load. Being pregnant in the summer means beating the cold and flu season (now with added worry of new waves of corona that may arise in the colder part of the year). It’s easier to get access to more fresh fruit and vegetables to boost the immune system too. And this is a BIG deal, ladies. Getting a couple of colds during the winter while pregnant and unable to take much to alleviate the symptoms like headaches, stuffiness, stiffness was truly difficult. There was a point in time when I actually googled: “can one suffocate from a stuffy nose?” because it was THAT impossible to breathe. Congestion from pregnancy and aggravated by a cold or the flu are quite terrible to endure, so the beauty of summer and less risk of such an issue is very welcome.
#10. The less “blues”.
A final perk is giving birth at the end of the summer with still a few milder months to come, which might mean enjoyable walks with your little one, giving you a chance to clear you head, breathe in crisp (but not freezing air) and spend more time outside. My son was born in early October. I spent two beautiful months taking us on walks around the neighborhood, driving out to gardens, parks and trails with him securely snuggled in a carrier or cruising in his bassinet. As it was still not freezing, and here in the Northeast US we get beautiful fall and winter sun, I fed my baby somewhere along the way as needed and used the car or his stroller to change him away from home. This precious time together, amidst nature, was therapeutic to help manage the emotions that come with a new baby and provided the type of meditation and solitude a new mom craves.
So there you have it! 10 reasons why you might actually love your summer pregnancy and find even more to enjoy! What made it into your top 10, if you agree?