There are plenty of body changes that come with pregnancy and heightened body temperature is one of them. In hindsight, a lot of women reckon they should have planned their pregnancy to coincide with the cooler season. For those who don’t have such luck, here are some tips on how to keep cool during the hot season.
It’s normal to feel a bit hotter than usual when you’re pregnant. However getting too hot isn’t good for you or your baby. We’ve got some great ideas to help you beat the heat and stay safe and comfortable in the sun
What should I wear to keep me cool?
Keep covered up. Not only will this help protect against sunburn, but you’ll feel cooler without direct sunlight on your skin. Wear long-sleeved tops in lightweight fabrics and loose, comfortable trousers or long dresses and skirts.
Choose clothes with natural fibres, such as cotton or linen. These will help you to stay cool by allowing good airflow, and will also help prevent rubbing and chafing.
Wear a hat with a wide brim that will protect your face and neck from the sun, as well as helping you to stay cool. Alternatively, a light headscarf will help keep the sun off.
Don’t forget your feet. Strappy sandals may feel cool, but they leave the tops of your feet vulnerable to sunburn. Slap on some sun lotion to protect them from the rays.
How can I keep cool when I’m out and about?
If possible, try to plan your outdoor activities for the cooler part of the day. Save anything strenuous for the morning or evening when the sun is lower and temperatures are cooler.
Carry a fine water spray. It’s a great way to cool down, giving you a little burst of refreshment when you need it. Small plastic bottles with spray nozzles are available from most chemists. At home, store the bottle in the fridge for extra refreshment. You can even add a drop of moisturiser to help keep your skin hydrated.
Buy a fan. Either a folding paper fan or a hand-held battery-operated one will work well. They’re particularly handy if you’re stuck on a crowded bus or train, or in a traffic jam on a hot day.
Stay out of direct sunlight wherever possible. If you’re on a beach, find a shady spot under an umbrella or parasol. This is especially important when the sun’s at its highest, which is between 11am and 3pm for UK summers.
Drink plenty of fluids. You can dehydrate easily when you’re pregnant, which can make you feel faint, tired and dizzy. To help avoid this, carry a bottle of water and take regular sips throughout the day.
Find time to go for a swim at your local pool or take a dip in the sea to help refresh you on a hot day. Swimming is also an excellent form of exercise in pregnancy and may help reduce any swelling in your lower legs and ankles.
Minimise your salt intake. This will help to combat water retention and make you feel more comfortable.
For an instant cool down, put your wrists under a running cold tap or pour a little water from your bottle on to your face or the back of your neck. It really does work and it feels lovely!
What can I do to stay cool indoors?
Fans and air conditioning are fast, effective ways to cool down. Just remember that when you’re pregnant, it can take longer than normal for your body to adjust to any temperature changes. Try to reduce the heat gradually if possible, and give yourself time to adapt when moving from one environment to another.
Consider a lukewarm shower or bath to give you some immediate relief from the heat. Don’t have the water too cold though. A cold shower may sound appealing, but can actually make you hotter as your body generates heat to make up for the sudden chill.
Close the blinds or shutters to give yourself some shade and cool the temperature.
Wrap a cool, wet bandana or scarf loosely around your neck. It will help cool the major arteries in your neck and make you feel more comfortable.
Pace yourself. Ask for help if you’re too tired to cook, clean, or run errands. Put your feet up whenever you can. Growing a baby is hard work and you need plenty of rest during the day. If it doesn’t absolutely need to be done now, or if someone else could handle it, don’t do it!
Published in September 2016