How Seasonal Changes Can Affect Your Pregnant Body

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Temperature and seasonal changes can have different effects on our body and health. The gestational period is no exception.

As sad as I am to say it, summer is past the midpoint. We are on the other side of July fourth and all of our favorite stores are stocking up for the fall season. Plaid shirts are making a comeback and the summer bikinis are almost on sale. The days are stretching out longer and the weather is reminiscent of last summer and the couple of weeks you had left to relax before school, work, or the chillier weather started in earnest.

Temperature and seasonal changes can have different effects on our body and health. The gestational period is no exception. Changing weather and seasonal patterns, as well as fluctuating temperatures, are a perfect environment for a host of viruses and bacteria. Seasonal pollen and microbes pose a risk of sinus infections, and allergies are the last thing a woman in her third trimester wants to deal with. I’m sure those with allergies have dreaded the spring and mid-summer months with the abundance of pollen floating in every possible place. And those of us with those problems know they are far worse during the transition between spring to summer and summer to fall.

Another important aspect is the actual temperature fluctuations and how that manifests itself in your and your baby’s well-being. Rapid temperature fluctuations make it easier to get a fever, catch a cold, and overall get sick. As a rule of thumb, when the seasons are changing make an effort to check the weather forecast for the entire day before heading out to work.

There are several less common side effects of weather change that most are fortunate enough not to experience. Whereas the changes in the weather can be hazardous during pregnancy there are very rare instances in which this span of time can breed a variety of different diseases. While they do not happen often it is imperative you keep a lookout for symptoms such as fever, chills, and/ or any discolorations or rashes that may appear on your body. If you see or feel anything slightly out of the ordinary make sure to consult with your OB/GYN, as per usual.

Rift Valley Fever

As indicated by the World Health Organization (WHO), it’s a virus that mainly affects animals, but can also reach humans. Mosquitoes transmit the virus through their bite, which tends to spread more quickly with rain.

Avian influenza/ Bird Flu

Storms and dry seasons don’t follow a constant rhythm but are ever-changing. Therefore, no one knows when the rainy season will start or drought will appear. The weather directly influences birds’ migration patterns, causing the bird flu to expand.

Cholera

Vibrio cholerae is the bacteria that causes what’s commonly known as “the poor man’s disease.” It’s usually transmitted through contaminated water and food. An increment in water can consequentially lead to the spread of disease.

Yellow Fever

Temperature changes and rainfall increase the arrival of these insects, which infect through their bites.

There is a vaccine to prevent infection, but everything depends on what the doctor recommends. The most advisable thing is to refrain from visiting places where you could be at risk.

Intestinal Parasites

These parasites are transmitted through aquatic environments. Sea level and temperature changes may allow them to survive longer and thus further spread the infection.

Lyme Disease

This bacteria, like others, is transmitted through tick bites. Temperature increases make it possible for them to survive more easily. Rash and flu-like symptoms characterize this disease.

Sleeping Sickness

The tsetse fly, which lives in 35 different countries, transmits the sleeping sickness. Herds and cattle are usually the most likely to become infected, but it can infect wild animals and people also.

This fly is usually found in rivers, lakes, forests and the savannah. Changes in the weather significantly influence the spread of this disease.

In addition to looking out for symptoms, when traveling pregnant it is extremely important to do some medical background research before going to any foreign country. Make sure to check the World Health Organization website for warnings about specific countries or oceans.

The changing of the weather can be beautiful to see. The leaves turning, the weather becoming more bearable, and the sunsets more vibrant. As long as you educate yourself about the risks and preemptively protect yourself you will be more than healthy.

Shoshi W.
Shoshi is an undergraduate student at Stern College for Women in New York City. Her areas of interest include policy, non-profit organizations, and administration. During winter 2018, she was a White House intern. Shoshi has also interned at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles and at Save the Children in New York. As a millennial, Shoshi brings a young and fresh perspective to the worlds of pregnancy and lactation.

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