When you’re pregnant, hot, sunny days can feel very uncomfortable.
This is due to a raised core body temperature, pregnancy-related hormones, and increased blood volume, which makes your whole body, including organs such as the kidneys and heart, work harder than usual.
Combined with extra pregnancy weight being carried, this can contribute to making you feel much warmer than usual during the summer months.
To help pregnant women survive the summer heatwave, Lesley Gilchrist, registered midwife and founder of My Expert Midwife, has shared her advice on how to keep cool when the heat is on.
Wear loose clothing
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.
It’s important to 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.
Adapt your diet
When pregnant during the summer months, try to 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.
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.
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, so remember to keep your skin moisturised.
Make sure you’re prepared for the heat by investing in a handheld fan and a refreshing spray for times when the heat becomes a little too much.
Try Spritz to Uplift – an invigorating spray with neroli and grapefruit essential oils which can help to rejuvenate energy levels and give you the little extra that you need, right when you need it.
Wear sun protection
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.
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.