With temperatures hovering above the 100-degree mark daily in North Texas, heat exhaustion is a real issue for anyone who stays outdoors for an extended period of time. That includes unborn children.
OBGYN Dr. Darren Tate of Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth said dehydration is the most common problem he sees with expectant moms in this heat wave.
"The water requirements alone for pregnancy are much greater than for the average person," Tate said.
Doctors suggest the average person drinks 6 to 8 glasses a day, while a pregnant woman should have at least 10 to 12. If that doesn't happen, the woman can suffer from heat exhaustion, and the risks can be life threatening for the child.
"Well it depends on what trimester they're in, but there can be complications in all three. In the first trimester we worry about pregnancy loss," Tate said.
In the second trimester, Tate’s concern is fetal malformations."If there's not enough around the baby then the baby can't grow properly and sometimes they can have deformities from that," he said.
In the third trimester, heat exhaustion can cause pre-term labor but Tate said by being proactive, expectant moms can beat the heat.
"A little prevention is worth a pound of cure, so we really tell people keep up with 10 to 12 glasses of water a day every day, especially in the heat wave," Tate said.
The symptoms of heat exhaustion are similar to the issues that go along with pregnancy. If an expectant mom spends time outdoors and becomes nauseous, fatigued, or begins sweating heavily, Tate suggests she calls her doctor, just to be safe.