Being pregnant is hard work for your body no matter what time of year you’re due to deliver, but being heavily pregnant in the heat of the summer can make things even more uncomfortable. Most of us assume pregnant women feel hotter in the summer months because they are carrying around the extra baby weight, but their body temperature is actually also slightly higher which makes it worse for them.
This puts expectant mums at risk of heat exhaustion because it takes twice the energy for the body to cool off. Heat exhaustion with symptoms of muscle cramps, excessive sweating, dizziness and headaches can lead to heat stroke, which can be detrimental to both mum and baby.
So it’s important to take proper precautions to ensure that you don’t overheat during the summer months. We asked our in-house Midwife Katie Hilton for her top tips on how pregnant women can stay cool and comfortable during the summer months:
- Drink plenty of water – This is obvious of course, drinking water is instilled in us from the time we fall pregnant. But it’s even more important during the summer months, when we’re sweating more and losing electrolytes. Be sure to drink water at a steady pace during the day.
- Stay indoors – Having to stay inside with the air conditioning and fans turned up high on warm days may be depressing, but it really is the best way to protect both you and your baby. If you have to go outside try to avoid the hottest hours of the day between 10am and 2pm.
- Take a dip – If you have access to a pool it will help you to cool off. Just be sure to wear sunscreen, as pregnant women are more susceptible to sunburn.
- Wear cool fabrics – don’t make the mistake of wearing clothes that don’t allow your skin to breathe. Try to stick to cotton and skip on the polyester.
- Shower often – Taking lots of showers during the day might feel like a pain but it will help keep your temperature cooler.
- Mist yourself – Carrying a spray bottle and misting yourself with cool water when outdoors will help, even better invest in a mister with a fan on the spout!
- Small, light meals – Eating smaller, more frequent meals will keep your metabolism steady. If you eat larger meals your metabolism has to work harder which generates more heat.
- Cold compresses – Wet a few washcloths and stick them in the freezer, pull them out when needed, lay down and place them where needed!
- Rest – Sometimes there is no better way to beat the heat than taking a nap in a cool, dark room.
- Take it easy – Don’t over exert yourself, sure it’s important to stay in shape, but exercising in the middle of a heat wave isn’t worth the risk.