As Malaysians, we have been so accustomed to the year-long, hot tropical weather that we tend to rejoice when we travel to cooler climates. We know the dangers of extreme heat stroke but are generally not so worried about colder climates, as long as we get to keep ourselves warm. However, if you are a pregnant mom who happens to live in a cold environment, whether temporarily or permanently, it is important to know that being pregnant and exposed to cold adversely affect your pregnancy.
Why is Being Exposed to a Cold Environment Bad for Your Pregnancy?
For instance, studies have shown that pregnant women who experienced cold weather during their pregnancy, were at a higher risk of giving birth to babies with low birth weight, even though the baby was not born prematurely. According to a study, researchers found that pregnant moms who experienced an extreme cold for the first seven weeks of pregnancies have a 20% higher risk of delivering babies before 34 weeks of pregnancy. Another research found that pregnant moms exposed to cold weather are 2.5 times more likely to have low birth-weight babies, possibly because they contracted an illness, infection or failure to grow in the womb. Although researchers have not found out the exact reason why cold temperatures affect birth weight, one of the theories is that extreme temperatures could reduce blood flow to the uterus, which impacts fetal growth.
Pregnant moms who develop a cold or flu, such as pneumonia, may also be at higher risk of complications. Viral infections like seasonal flu can cause harm to your baby as well during pregnancy. Although rare, there have been cases where getting the flu when you are expecting can lead to increased dangers of premature births, low weight babies, stillbirths and miscarriages.
Some researchers are also researching correlations between pregnancy hypertension and extreme weather, as changes in weather during monsoons in some countries have led to pregnancy complications, like preeclampsia and eclampsia.
What can you do if you live in a cold environment?
Hence, pregnant moms should be careful and try to avoid exposure to cold weather conditions whenever possible. However, if you are living in a cold environment and moving away is not an option, you can still take precautions to ensure that your body is maintained at an optimum temperature, such as by staying indoors more, especially when the weather is extremely cold. Make sure that your house is equipped with proper heating, and keep your body warm with more layers, but do remember to wear comfortable clothes that allow easy breathing and moving around. It is also important to ensure that you do not overdo it, resulting in overheating instead.
Although pregnant moms generally feel hotter during pregnancy, it is important to keep an optimal body temperature during pregnancy, as being too hot or cold is bad for your unborn baby.