Coping with the summer heat during pregnancy
3 minute read
When you’re pregnant hot, sunny days can feel very uncomfortable. This is because your core body temperature is slightly raised, you have lots of pregnancy-related hormones and your blood volume is increased, which makes your whole body, including organs such as the kidneys and heart work harder than usual. Combined with extra pregnancy weight being carried, it can all contribute to making you feel much warmer than usual during the summer months.
Keeping the irritation of becoming over heated and uncomfortable during summer at bay is an important part of staying physically and mentally healthy during pregnancy.
When the heat is on, here are our top tips to help keep you feeling cool:
- Wear loose fitting, light clothing made of natural fibres, such as cotton or silk. Lighter colours will reflect more heat, helping you to keep cool. Cotton underwear is more absorbent in hot weather, therefore less likely to cause irritation or encourage environments that thrush can multiply in.
- Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water and other fluids. Try to avoid tea, coffee and colas or other caffeinated drinks as these are diuretics, which means they don’t encourage your body to retain a good fluid balance (look for the decaffeinated versions of these beverages). Dehydration impacts on both yours and your baby’s health, so keep your drinking bottle topped up. You could try using frozen chopped fruits to cool and flavour your water.
- Focus on introducing more foods that won’t encourage your body temperature to rise, such as carbohydrates. Try snacking regularly to avoid large portions at mealtimes and eat lighter foods such as salads and fruits. Try replacing foods which are more difficult to digest with alternatives such as sweet potato for a white jacket potato.
- Itching and scratching during pregnancy is much more common than you might think. Combining itchy skin with warmer weather probably won’t improve this irritating situation. Keep cool, wear loose fitting, natural fabrics and stay well hydrated. Dry, flaky skin in hot weather is more likely, therefore keeping your skin well moisturised will improve itchy, tight skin and hopefully, provide soothing, cooling relief.
- Try to stay in the shade as much as possible and use a high protection sun cream. Many women develop the linea nigra, which is a darker line of pigmentation running down the centre of their bump. In some women, hormones in pregnancy can leave patches of darker skin pigmentation, often on their face. Any exposed skin can experience sunburn, even those with darker skin need to be careful to cover up or apply high protection sun cream.
- Invest in a handheld fan and/or a pocket water spray for your face and body for times when the heat becomes a little too much. If your hands and feet become hot and swollen, especially towards the end of your pregnancy make sure you get lots of rest with your feet elevated. Putting your feet in a basin/bucket of cold water - ideally to above the ankles - will also help to soothe, cool and reduce swelling. If you have a willing partner or friend, ask them for a hand or foot massage with your favourite moisturiser. My Expert Midwife’s Fantastic Skin Elastic is ideal for relieving restless legs and soothing itchy, stretching skin.
If you’re looking for further tips on how to stay comfortable during your pregnancy, take a look at our blog on the benefits of pregnancy massage.
Key points to remember in hot weather when you’re pregnant
- Stay well hydrated. Your body has increased fluid requirements during pregnancy. Warm weather will increase your body’s needs even further, so be prepared and don’t leave home without your refillable water bottle.
- Even if you don’t feel hungry because of the heat, try to eat small meals regularly as this will prevent your blood glucose levels from dropping and help with any light headedness or dizziness.
- Your skin is more prone to pigmentation changes that can become patchy, so cover up, use sunscreen and make use of shaded areas when you’re out and about.
- Your skin can be itchier during pregnancy causing dry, flaky skin, the hot weather may exacerbate this. Have a daily moisturising routine to help keep skin irritations at bay.
Hot weather during summer may make being pregnant an irritating and uncomfortable experience. This blog will discuss the reasons why warmer weather can make you hotter and more bothered in pregnancy and the strategies you can employ to help you keep your cool.