When you're pregnant, your body acts as an incubator for your growing baby. In return, your baby offers a source of heating for your body. This can be great in the winter months, but can make things very uncomfortable in summer, especially in your second and third trimesters. Here are some tips for keeping cool and comfortable when you have a little furnace inside you!
You need extra fluids to keep baby, and yourself, healthy, and this is especially important when the weather is hot. Drink plenty of water, and try to avoid caffeine which can be dehydrating.
CHOOSE COOL, LIGHT CLOTHING
Natural fabrics, such as cotton, are cooler as they breathe better than synthetic fabrics. Loose clothing is often cooler than fitted clothing. Lava-lavas or sarongs are great - comfortable and cool.
Don't overheat your body, as this places stress on your baby. Avoid sitting in the sun for long periods of time. Stay in the shade where possible, and try to avoid hot, stuffy rooms and cars. Also, midwives recommend that pregnant women should not sit in hot spa pools for long periods of time because of the risk of overheating.
LOOK OUT FOR SWELLING
Look out for swelling. In hot weather, it is normal for feet and hands to swell a little, particularly when you are pregnant. Swelling may ease by elevating your feet, or soaking hands and feet in cool water. However, excessive swelling may be one of the first signs of pre-eclampsia, a potentially dangerous illness. If you are concerned about swelling in your arms, hands, feet and legs, speak to your LMC immediately.
Some foods may contain bacteria that could harm your unborn baby. Ham, precooked meats and soft cheeses may contain listeria, and undercooked chicken or eggs may contain salmonella, both of which can cause miscarriage or stillbirth. In the summer, it is important to be particularly vigilant, as summer BBQ's often mean food left out of the fridge for long periods, and bacteria love to breed in the warmer weather. Avoid pre-prepared salads; try to eat only freshly prepared food. Also, if you are eating leftover meat, reheat it until it is piping hot to kill any bacteria.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, GET PLENTY OF REST
Pregnancy is tiring, and, when combined with the summer heat, can leave you feeling exhausted. Try to rest as often as possible; an afternoon nap can be very reviving. If you're working, try to take frequent breaks, and sit with your feet up where possible - hopefully your colleagues will understand!