How to Stay Cool While Pregnant and Beat the Heat This Summer
The heat of summer time can be rough during pregnancy. It can be uncomfortable, unbearable, and potentially dangerous to your health. Luckily, there are many fun ways to stay cool while pregnant.
I have had the pleasure of having a few pregnancies while living in Florida in the summer time. I remember the beginning was difficult in the summer because I tend to have very sick first trimesters. There’s nothing like feeling nauseous and fighting off 90+ degree heat. It was hard in a later pregnancy because I was then chasing a toddler around all summer. But I have to say, the worst summer was in my last pregnancy living in New York. We don’t have central air in our home and we had just moved in. Our home is almost 120 years old, and we were replacing some old broken windows. Therefore, we had no breeze inside to speak of and it was a heat trap.
I vividly remember taking a cup of ice cubes to bed with me every night. I used to put a towel across my chest and ice myself so I could sleep.
Why is it so hard to stay cool while pregnant?
Firstly, your blood volume expands during pregnancy and you have extra blood moving through your body. This is a normal process that supports the physiology of pregnancy and birth. The extra blood pumping through your body can make it difficult to stay cool while pregnant.
Secondly, because of the changes in blood volume, hormones, and circulation, your body temperature can increase by about .8 degrees C. This can make you feel more sweaty and uncomfortable in the heat.
Thirdly, your heart and circulatory system are working harder in pregnancy. Vasodilation moves more blood, meaning that more sweat is produced on your skin to cool you off. Your heart works harder to pump more blood and your heart rate is increased. Your body is working hard, even at rest.
5 Tips to Help You Beat the Heat This Summer
- Hydrate smart. Be sure to stay well hydrated in these hot summer days. Drink extra fluids to compensate for fluid lost through sweat. Consider an electrolyte drink during activities or on very hot days. Ask your doula for a recipe for a delicious home made electrolyte drink. Also, foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables also contain a good amount of water to help support hydration. Lastly, it’s best to avoid substances like caffeine, which can cause your body to flush fluids.
- Go swimming. Swimming can be extremely therapeutic in pregnancy. It’s a great form of gentle exercise in pregnancy. Firstly, it cools you off on a hot day. Secondly, it can promote healthy movement that is easy on the joints in pregnancy. Also, it changes the effects of gravity on your body and can relieve hip and back pain. It’s great for supporting optimal fetal positioning in pregnancy.
- Make Smoothie Popsicles. You can take your favorite smoothie recipe and turn it into popsicles for a warm day. If you buy a good popsicle mold, you can make a set and store them in your freezer. Check out this great basic smoothie recipe.
- Dress Cool. Take advantage of the opportunity to show off your beautiful bump. Wear lightweight and breathable clothing. I found that pajama style shorts were very comfortable and breathable in hot and sweaty weather. No one cares if you’re in pajama shorts (and they’ll probably never know).
And the most effective…
- Plan for the Weather. Try to plan your day according to your tolerance for the heat. If possible, try to do any physical work in the early part of the day before it gets too hot. If you really need a break, find a place with AC for the afternoon to help relieve some heat. With other small children, you can take a break at the library or a museum during the hot hours.