Keeping cool when pregnant
Being pregnant in the summer months can be tough. Many mums-to-be feel much hotter than they usually do at any time of year but when temperatures are soaring outside, it can be challenging to stay cool.
When you are pregnant in hot weather, it is particularly important that you protect yourself from dehydration and heatstroke. So always make sure you are staying safe in the sun and do what you can to cool yourself down.
Here are our top tips for keeping cool when pregnant:
1. Drink plenty of water
When the weather is hot, it is much easier to become dehydrated so you will need to drink more fluids than usual. One way of checking whether you are drinking enough water is to look at the colour of your urine when you go to the toilet.
If you are drinking enough fluids, your wee should be very pale in colour – ideally clear. If it has a strong yellow or orange colour, this is a sign that you are dehydrated and need to drink more water.
Keep a bottle of water handy and take it with you when you go out so you always have something you can drink. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have a glass of water on your bedside table at night.
2. Choose your clothing wisely
Your choice of outfit can have a big impact on how warm you feel. Choosing loose-fitting clothes will mean air circulates around your body, helping to keep you cool.
Dark colours absorb more sunlight than light colours so wearing black or other dark shades can leave you feeling hotter than you need to be. Whites, creams, pastels and other light colours are a cooler choice for a summer outfit as they reflect more sunlight.
You will also find wearing natural materials like cotton, linen or bamboo helps you to feel cooler than synthetic fabrics as they will draw moisture away from your skin.
3. Practice sun safety
You should always do what you can to stay safe in the sun but it is particularly important to protect yourself during pregnancy. When you go outside during the summer months, make sure you are wearing a high factor sunscreen, a sunhat and sunglasses and keep your skin covered. You could also take a handheld fan and a spray bottle filled with water to help stay cool when you are out and about.
Stay in the shade and if you can, avoid leaving the house during the hottest part of the day – between 11am and 3pm.
4.Get plenty of rest
Being active can be challenging when the weather is hot and it can be easy to overdo it. Make sure you listen to your body and rest whenever you need to.
Try to avoid doing too much and put your feet up as much as you can. This can help prevent your feet and ankles swelling up. Spend some time relaxing with your feet in a higher position than your heart.
If you do want to get some exercise while it’s hot, swimming is a good option as you won’t risk overheating and it can actually help reduce any swelling in your lower legs, feet and ankles.
5. Cut down on the salt
Eating too much salt increases your risk of developing high blood pressure but it can also make you more likely to experience swelling in pregnancy. This can make you feel bloated and uncomfortable so avoid adding salt to your meals and stay away from highly processed ready meals which often contain a lot of sodium.
6. Tricks to cool down at home
If you’re at home and still feel too hot, try running your wrists under the cold tap. This can help you to cool down quickly and stop you feeling quite so hot and bothered. Taking a tepid bath or shower can also give you some fast relief from the heat – make sure the water is lukewarm rather than cold though as your body will try to overcompensate and warm you back up if the water is too chilly.
Take a bandana or cloth and run it under some water before wrapping it loosely around your neck. This can help you feel cooler and more comfortable as it targets the major arteries in your neck.
It can be tempting to fling open all the curtains and windows when the weather is warm but keep the blinds and curtains closed during the day to stop the sunlight heating up your home further. In the evening, when the air outside is cooler, you can open up the windows to allow it to circulate around your home.