10 Top Tips for keeping cool during pregnancy this summer
Good to know.
Even the mild Irish summer can be a challenge during pregnancy and no one knows that better than myself. Even on overcast days, the humidity can be unbearable when you're expecting.
My daughter is a September baby which meant my third trimester was all during the hottest part of the summer. I was constantly overheating and even fainted one-day queuing in a shop.
There are some ways to help avoid dehydration or fainting spells during a muggy summer when you're pregnant, so here are ten top tips on staying cool this summer.
1 - Swap synthetics for natural fibres such as cotton, bamboo or silk and favour light, loose fitting clothing. Synthetic materials retain moisture and don’t allow your skin to breathe properly, increasing irritation and encouraging environments in which thrush can thrive. Wear light coloured clothing which will reflect heat during warmer days and help you to keep cool. You can save your darker coloured outfits for cooler days or evenings.
2 - Keep your home cool by only opening the windows in the evening or early morning and you can prevent sunny rooms from getting too hot by only drawing your curtains enough to let some light in.
3 - Although water is essential and should be drunk throughout the day, optimal hydration requires other elements that are found in foods. You can ensure an adequate intake of these by eating fruits and vegetables such as pineapple, mango, grapes, melon, pears, berries, cucumber, courgette, asparagus and dark leafy greens. Juices, smoothies and salads are some easy ways to include these into your daily diet.
Avoid caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee and colas, which may have a mildly diuretic effect, disrupting your fluid balance. Therefore, it’s best to avoid these or look for their decaffeinated version. Dehydration impacts your and your baby’s health, so it is important to keep your drinking bottle topped up. You could try using frozen chopped fruits to cool and flavour your water.
Replacing heavy meals for lighter foods will help prevent big rises to your body temperature whilst foods with a low glycaemic index (GI) will keep your blood sugars steady. Favour cooling spices such as fennel, mint or coriander and try to minimize heat-inducing foods such as radishes, ginger and hot peppers.
Dry, itchy skin can also be common during pregnancy. As well as choosing natural fabrics, keeping your skin well moisturised will hopefully provide you with some soothing, cooling relief. My Expert Midwife’s Fantastic Skin Elastic is ideal for soothing and hydrating tight, itchy, and stretching skin during pregnancy.
When outdoors in the heat, staying in the shade will reduce your risk of overheating as well as help prevent the appearance of darker patches of pigmentation that pregnancy hormones can leave on your skin, often on your face. Because of this and the fact that many skins become more sensitive to the sun during pregnancy, a high protection sunscreen is recommended.
An effective way to cool down is to aim for your pulse points. You can place ice cubes wrapped in a towel or cool, wet flannels over the back of your neck and forehead, run your wrists under a cold tap and/or place your feet ankle-deep into a basin of cool water. If you are out and about, invest in a handheld fan and/or a cooling spray for your face and body.
Swelling of feet and ankles can be helped by soaking them in cold water, elevating your feet above the level of your heart, stimulating drainage by repeatedly pointing your toes to and away from you (dorsiflexion exercises), and by gentle massage.
And finally, keep refreshed by using a thermal water spray or My Expert Midwife's Keep Your Cool spray, aimed at reviving skin and cooling and soothing swollen ankles and legs.