Can Summer Cause Pregnancy Complications?
July 11, 2017
A recent study suggests there is some correlation between warmer temperatures and the development of gestational diabetes in pregnant women. Toronto researchers studied 500,000 births in a 12-year period, along with the average temperature in the month preceding a test for diabetes. Women exposed to extreme cold had a rate of gestational diabetes 3 percent lower than women exposed to 75-degree weather.
The study does not establish a cause-and-effect relationship, so it’s too soon to say whether summer raises the risk of gestational diabetes. However, there are some pregnancy complications known to be more prevalent in the summer.
Warm weather brings mosquitoes, and mosquitoes are carriers of Zika virus, which in most people, produces only minor illness. But in pregnant women, Zika virus can cause severe brain abnormalities in fetuses, along with miscarriage or stillbirth.
So far, the only incidences of Zika virus originating in the United States were in southern Florida and Texas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a map showing regions of the world where Zika virus is present, and that includes many popular vacation destinations, such as the Caribbean Islands and Mexico.
A pregnant woman who has traveled to areas included in the CDC travel notice should be tested for Zika virus, regardless of whether they have symptoms. This virus can also be transmitted sexually, so the CDC urges couples to postpone efforts to conceive for at least six months after a male has visited an area included in the CDC’s travel notice.
Lyme disease is an illness that causes fever, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue in its early stages. The deer tick, which lives in wooded areas, or in areas of heavy overgrowth, spreads this disease, and people who have been bitten by an infected tick may first notice a bull’s eye-pattern rash around the bite.
Advanced stages of Lyme disease can cause facial paralysis, spinal cord damage, and irregular heartbeat. Pregnant mothers afflicted with Lyme disease may pass the disease on to their baby, which could result in stillbirth and heart defects.
Pregnant women may wish to avoid areas where ticks are prevalent, to reduce the risk of Lyme disease, and to use insect repellant deemed not harmful to developing fetuses.
When it’s hot, the body cools itself with sweat, and one must drink fluids to replenish that lost moisture. Pregnancy requires even more fluid intake, because the body needs it to create a stable environment for a growing fetus. When pregnancy is combined with summer heat, women may easily become dehydrated without realizing it.
Common signs of dehydration during pregnancy include:
- Feeling overly hot
- Dark yellow urine
- Dry mouth.
Left untreated, dehydration can cause premature labor, birth defects, and poor production of breast milk. Dehydration may also trigger Braxton-Hicks contractions, which occur intermittently and are unrelated to labor contractions.
Heat stroke is a dangerous condition in which the body’s core temperature rises above 102 degrees. It’s usually brought on by hot weather and overexertion, and in pregnant women, it can result in miscarriage, birth defects, and maternal death.
Maintaining proper hydration and staying out of the sun are two ways to minimize the risk of heat stroke. Reducing sodium and caffeine intake also help with hydration.
If you have suffered a pregnancy complication due to the behaviors or actions of another party, the attorneys at Wapner Newman can help. For almost 40 years, we have been the trusted advocates for countless personal injury victims and their families throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We offer risk-free consultations and work on a contingency basis, which means that we do not require you to pay any fees until we have secured a recovery on your behalf. We encourage you to contact us today by calling 1-800-LAW-6600 or filling out a free case evaluation form.