Being pregnant is like having your own little hot water bottle 24/7!  Lovely in the winter, but when summer arrives the extra heat can be extremely uncomfortable.  Not only that but symptoms such as swollen ankles and high blood pressure can worsen as well as a risk of dehydration, fatigue and even heatstroke.  Being heavily pregnant in the summer isn’t necessarily fun, but we’re looking at some ways to make it more bearable and to up the comfort factor.

Water works!

A bottle of water to hand at all times, will ensure that you can drink frequently, both day and night.  We know you’re probably making regular trips to the toilet and don’t want to increase the number of visits, but drinking plenty will help keep you cool and hydrated.

If you feel like you’re overheating, try running your wrists under cold running water and keep a water spray/spritzer bottle too to spray on your face day or night.

Keep Shady

Try to avoid going out at the hottest times of the day – between 11am and 3pm, and when you are out and about, where possible stay in the shade.  It’s a good idea to carry a sun hat or sunshade with you so that if there isn’t any shade, you’ll always have some protection to hand.

If you feel faint or ill while out and about, find a cool and shady spot to sit or lie down in.

Keep it loose!

Loose clothing allows air to circulate around the body and will keep you cooler, so stick to loose, cool clothing rather than figure hugging maternity wear.  Cotton and linen are a better option than synthetic fabrics as they’re able to absorb more dampness and keep it away from your skin.

At night, ditch the duvet and just use the duvet cover or a light sheet instead.

Out and about

Try and travel outside of peak times to avoid the hustle and bustle, and to maximise your chances of getting a seat if you’re on public transport. If you start to feel hot or unwell, get off the train/tube/bus at the next available stop.

Rest up

Wherever possible (and we appreciate this is a tricky one if you work and/or have other children) try to avoid doing too much when it’s hot – or at least do as little as possible! Pregnancy is tiring even on a cool or chilly day, and the heat is tiring without being pregnant, so the two together make for an exhausting combination!  Anything that isn’t essential can wait, or can be done by willing friends and family!

Watch out for more swelling in your ankles, feet and fingers than you’re used to.  This tends to be worse by the end of the day, but is also exacerbated by heat.  If you experience sudden swelling of ankles, face or wrists, and a severe headache, contact your GP or hospital straight away as these could be signs of pre-eclampsia.

Call your midwife if you continue to feel poorly in the heat or you are worried that you might be dehydrated or suffering from heatstroke.

Ten tips to a great night’s sleep despite the heat!

  1. Keep a plant mister containing water by your bed to spray on your face during the night
  2. Stop your bedroom over-heating during the day by keeping curtains and blinds closed
  3. Wash your feet with cold water before getting into bed, and/or run your wrists under cold water
  4. Place a wet flannel in the fridge for an hour or so before getting into bed and lay it on your forehead to help you drift off to sleep
  5. Sleep in cool wet socks or even a damp T-shirt
  6. Use a fan and place it so that it is blowing the air over a tray of ice – this will cool the room down as the ice melts
  7. Use light bed sheets and a summer duvet.
  8. Try a specialised mattress with an open cell structure that ensures the mattress remains breathable, keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter
  9. Chill your pillow case in the freezer before getting into bed.
  10. Finally, and most importantly stay well hydrated during the day and don’t fret too much if you can’t sleep. Use the time to rest and think positive thoughts, then you will be extra productive the day after!