MetroHealth OB-GYNs are available throughout the community including Brecksville, Cleveland Heights, Parma and Westlake. For more information, or for a complete list of providers, visit metrohealth.org/obgyn. To schedule an appointment, call 216-778-4444.
If you’re pregnant, you may not be looking forward to the long, hot days of summer. However, “there are variety of things women can do to make themselves more comfortable and to stay healthy,” says Maureen Suster, MD, an OB-GYN at MetroHealth. She offers the following advice to moms-to-be:
Embrace the warm weather:
- Summer pregnancies are a great excuse to stock up on fun, flowing skirts and other loose-fitting clothing you can wear in layers and remove easily.
- Carry a water bottle to help you stay hydrated.
- Spend time in places with air conditioning such as the library, mall or movie theater.
- Stay out of hot tubs, which raise body temperature and can cause problems with your blood pressure.
Protect your skin — it’s more susceptible to sunburn when you’re pregnant:
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and other sun protective clothing.
- Apply broad spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen of at least SPF 20 every couple of hours.
- Relax in a shady spot during peak sun hours of 2 – 4 p.m.
Eat for two at backyard barbecues while keeping food safety in mind:
- Enjoy hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and seafood, but make sure they are fully cooked to avoid exposure to bacteria such as Salmonella. It can be harmful to both you and the baby. Undercooked meat can also expose you to toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that can cause toxoplasmosis, a serious blood infection.
- Help yourself to potato or macaroni salad but ask if they contain homemade mayonnaise, which can contain raw eggs that can expose you to salmonella. Dishes made with store-bought mayonnaise are typically safe if they have been kept cool.
- Skip deli meats, which can contain listeria bacteria that increase the risk of miscarriage; instead, load your plate with an extra serving of healthy fruits and vegetables.
Steer clear of ticks – they can cause Lyme disease and other illnesses that may harm a developing baby:
- Wear bug spray with DEET (diethyltoluamide) — it’s safe during pregnancy. It will also help you avoid mosquito bites while you enjoy the great outdoors.
- Opt for light-weight, long-sleeve shirts and pants.
Stay active but comfortable when it’s hot out:
- Go for a walk in the morning while the weather is relatively cool.
- Take a dip — swimming also relieves back and hip pain.
- Join a gym so you can exercise in air conditioning.
- Avoid bike riding — being pregnant can change your center of gravity making this activity risky.
- See your doctor before heading out of town to make sure the baby is healthy, and you don’t have signs of early labor.
- Restrict air travel — your OB-GYN will likely want you to avoid flying around 36 weeks.
- If you do fly, get up every two hours and walk up and down the aisle of the plane. Flex and extend your feet and lift your legs while seated. This physical activity gets the blood moving and helps prevent blood clots.
- If you drive, get out of the car and go for a five-minute walk every two hours to get your circulation moving.
Tips for Picking a Pediatrician
Keep the following four tips in mind during your search:
- Find someone close to home, with a new baby, you’ll have frequent appointments and it will help keep them convenient and stress-free.
- Ask your OB-GYN and friends with children for recommendations.
- Schedule consultations with potential pediatricians before the baby arrives to give you an idea of what the practice style is like.
- Pick someone you have a good rapport with, and feel free to change doctors if you end up not working well together.
To find a pediatrician near you, call 216-778-2222.
Maureen Suster, MD