Keeping cool in a heatwave when pregnant.
Being pregnant in hot weather can be uncomfortable or worse. Heatwaves and high temperatures can put you at risk of dangers like dehydration and sunstroke. Here we share some tips for keeping cool during pregnancy.
It’s common for women to feel warmer in pregnancy. Although little evidence shows any rise in core body temperature, skin temperature seems to increase during pregnancy.
For some women being pregnant over summer can be a challenge. Hot weather or a heatwave can lead to dehydration, fatigue, and even heatstroke. So it’s important to find ways of keeping cool when pregnant.
1. Stay hydrated
Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water to help prevent dehydration – your wee should be a pale clear colour. You will need to increase the amount of water that you drink, as you will sweat more in warmer weather.
Keep a bottle of water with you during the day and drink frequently. At night, keep some water nearby and if you wake up, have a sip even if it means a night-time trip to the toilet. Ensure you drink plenty of water when you exercise in warm weather.
2. Keep clothing cool
Try to wear light coloured and loose-fitting clothing, as this allows air to circulate close to your skin to help cool you down. Lightweight, natural fabrics like linen or cotton are better than synthetics, because they can absorb and draw away more dampness from your skin.
When you are out and about, wear a sunhat, sunglasses and sunscreen to help protect you from the sun’s rays. Try taking a water spray bottle with you to cool you down if it’s really hot.
At night, keep bedding to a minimum to avoid overheating.
3. Adjust your exercise
You might need to adjust your exercise plan while pregnant, particularly if there’s a heatwave. If your body temperature rises too high in the early stages of pregnancy, there are risks as we mention below. So make sure you aren’t over-exerting yourself, particularly in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
It’s best to avoid exercising in a very hot and humid climate until you have acclimatised, which will take a few days. Make sure you have a water bottle with you if you are exercising.
4. Beat the heat
Avoid being in the sun for long periods, as this increases the risk of dehydration. If you do go out and it’s really hot, be prepared – wear sunscreen, sunglasses and a sunhat. Otherwise, you could sit in the shade and avoid being in the sun during the warmest part of the day.
If you feel faint or ill, try to find a cool and shady spot to sit or lie down in and drink plenty of water. Seek medical advice if you continue to feel ill in the heat, or you are worried you might be dehydrated or have heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Heatstroke is a medical emergency.
5. Chill out…and put your feet up
Try and avoid doing too much when it’s hot, if you can. Pregnancy can be tiring even when it's cool, so rest often. Ankles, feet and fingers can swell in pregnancy, as your body retains more water than usual. So try to avoid standing for long periods, wear comfy shoes and put your feet up as much as possible.
Try to take it easy for an hour a day with your feet higher than your heart. You could prop yourself up with cushions as you lie on the sofa. Gentle foot exercises during the day may also help reduce swelling in your ankles.
6) Make your own air conditioner
A great way to cool you down at night is to have a fan circulating cold air around your room. You could even consider putting a two-litre bottle of frozen water in front of it for instant air-conditioning.
7) Use a spray water bottle
A spray water bottle can be great for an instant refresh during the day when your face is feeling hot or flushed.
Fill a spray bottle up with water and spray on to the face and body to provide a mist of cooling water.
Daniel says: ‘It takes some of the heat away as the water evaporates. If you want the water to stay cooler for longer put some ice in with the water.’
8) Treat your feet
Keeping your feet nice and cold is essential if you want the rest of your body to cool.
So if you own a footspa, try filling it with cold water instead and place your feet in it while relaxing with a book or watching the TV. Better still, if you already have children and own a paddling pool, fill it up and place it in the shade. Not only will the kids have fun, but you’ll feel better too.