Pregnancy health for the summer

Keep your unborn baby safe in the sun with our answers to your summer pregnancy queries

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Summer’s here, but while other women are getting their midriffs out and slapping on suncream, you’re not even sure a trip to the shops without a jab is OK. The hot weather and  throws up all kinds of health questions for mums-to-be but you may be surprised to learn that some things you thought were out of bounds are just fine. Making sure what is and what’s not OK will ensure your pregnant summer’s a happy one.

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At home

“Will my skin react differently in the sun?”

You may want that golden glow, but take care you do need to stay out of the sun more than usual and make sure that you cover up sensitive skin. “During pregnancy, many women develop ‘chloasma’, which causes brown patches on the face,” says Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists. “Being in the sun makes these even darker as they tan more deeply. Many mums-to-be also feel their skin is more sensitive, so to avoid sunburn and patchy pigmentation, protect skin against UVB light with a sunscreen of SPF30 or more. And make sure it has high UVA protection – four or five UVA stars and the UVA circle on the label.”

“Can I take hay fever tablets?”

It depends how desperate you are, but always check with your GP first. “Hay fever tablets are antihistamines. Though not licensed for use in pregnancy, they are occasionally used when benefit outweighs risk,” explains pharmacist Nargis Ara. “Some are safer than others and your doctor can tell you which definitely to avoid, and whether an alternative treatment such as eye drops may be better. Travel sickness pills also contain antihistamines so only take these on your GP’s advice too.”

“Are summer sports out?”

Forget bungee jumping, but not all exercise is a no-no. “If you try a new sport your body isn’t used to – on holiday for instance – injury is a risk because pregnancy hormones make ligaments spongy,” says midwife Pat Gould from the Royal College of Midwives. Games where falls or injury are likely are definitely out, so no cricket or rounders. “But if you do an activity regularly, your body will be used to it although, as your bump grows, you’ll have to moderate your regime. Swimming is a great summer sport many mums do throughout pregnancy,” says Pat.

Read our tips for travelling abroad with a bump

Find out how to stay safe on holiday while you’re pregnant

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See our advice on what’s safe to eat on holidays when you’re a mum-to-be

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