What pregnant women need to know about the air quality

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Women should always take good care of themselves, but it’s even more important while pregnant. The winter season bring with in a new set of safety concerns for pregnant women such as dehydration, falls, flu season and air quality.

We already know that a woman needs more water than the average person while pregnant. It can be easier to remember to drink plenty of fluids in the summer, because of the temperature. The heat can trigger your thirst reminding you to drink. In the winter, however, you have to make more of an effort to get enough fluid into your body.

Hydration Tips:

  1. Drink 8-12 glasses (2-3 liters) of fluid a day
  2. Avoid caffeine intake
  3. Increase fruits and vegetables intake
  4. Drink enough that your urine is almost clear.

Winter Falls
Winter in Utah brings with it snow and ice. Pregnancy changes your center of gravity, balance and weight distribution. Together, the fall risk to pregnant women increases. In general, the baby is well protected in the uterus, should you fall. If you are far enough along that you already feel baby kicking, continuing to feel kicks after a fall should be enough reassurance. Also, we instinctively use our arms to break our fall.

Falling Tips:

  1. Invest is a good, stable pair of shoes; avoid heels and boots without traction.
  2. Work from home or avoid travel (if possible) on those snowy or icy days
  3. Look for danger signs such as leaking of fluid, bleeding or decreased fetal movement
    Reasons to be seen right away:
    If you fall in your first trimester
    If you fall and hit your belly
    If you don’t feel baby move after a fall (3rd trimester)
    If you see leaking of fluid or vaginal bleeding
    If you are in severe pain anywhere.

Cold & Flu Season
Winter also brings with it many viruses. Your immune system is already suppressed, so you are more susceptible to these viruses. It can also take longer to get over a cold while pregnant.

Flu Tips:

  1. Get a flu shot. It is recommended that pregnant women get a flu shot in the 2nd or 3rd trimester.
  2. Rest, hydration, nutrition and vitamins. Self-care is very important during this time of year as well. Get plenty of rest, keep yourself hydrated, eat well balanced, nutritional meals and snacks and take your prenatal vitamin.
  3. Wash your hands: Good hand washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting or passing viral illnesses. The use of hand sanitizer is helpful as well, especially if you have school aged children in the home.
  4. Avoid people who are sick. It’s ok to avoid social gatherings where others may be ill. It is also ok to ask others not to come to your home if they are sick. This is an important time to protect yourself from avoidable exposure.

Air Quality:
The air quality in Salt Lake City, Utah can be very dangerous during an inversion. Breathing the air can have the same effects we worry about with someone who smokes cigarettes. When the air is listed as having a particulate matter of <2.5 microns, it means that the particulates in the air are small enough to be absorbed in the lungs and enter the blood stream. Some studies have shown that breathing this air can have dangerous side effects to your unborn baby. These side effects include preterm birth, mental and physical developmental problems, autism and even fetal death.>

Air Quality Tips:

  1. Pay attention to your local news. They will tell you what the air quality it like on a daily basis. There are also apps available to help you keep track of Utah air.
  2. Stay indoors when the air quality is bad, especially when exercising.
  3. Masks: a regular surgical mask will not protect you from the Utah air. These types of masks help with spreading germs like the flu or a cold. The particulate matter is too small to be hindered by a regular surgical mask. If you want to get a mask, you need an N95 mask (which can cost about $15) and can usually be purchased online.

If you have any questions or concerns, it is best to contact your provider, be seen in clinic or in the hospital if it is after hours. Visit www.LDSHospital.org/healthyliving for more details.

This story includes sponsored content.

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