Everybody Loves The Sunshine

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Mamas-to-Be feel the heat more on an average day - your body temperature is naturally higher because of the heat generated by your baby (and their metabolism).  The warmer weather can therefore make you feel especially uncomfortable and can lead to dehydration, fatigue and even heatstroke.

 

With July is set to be another hot month here are some steps you can take to enjoy more ease and joy during these Summer months.

 

1.  Cool Down

If you are feeling the heat, apply a cool, damp cloth or muslin to the back of your neck, your forehead, or the top of your head for instant refreshment and immediate reduction of your body temperature. Pop a couple pre-prepared into the ‘fridge for fast relief as required. 

 

2.  Stay Hydrated

Avoid diuretics like caffeinated drinks, and mix it up with a watermelon mocktail or smoothie.

Make pitchers of cooling mint tea. We love Pukka Teas’s Three Mint or fresh mint from the garden steeped for 5 minutes is even better. Make a jug and leave to cool and drink frequently throughout the day.  

Always carry a bottle of water with you.  If you feel thirsty it means you are already dehydrated.

 

3.  Take time to slow down

Enjoy life outdoors, but avoid activities that are overly exerting between 11am and 3pm.  Stay cool and indoors during the midday sun.  Enjoy a siesta.

 

4.  Wear breathable clothing

Aim to wear loose clothing during the day, as this allows air to circulate closer to your skin and hopefully cool you down. Lightweight, natural fabrics, such as linen or cotton, and lighter colours, are better than synthetic materials.

At night keep bedding to a minimum. A light sheet over you can actually help you feel cooler than no sheet at all.

 

5.  Have a cooling foot soak

Putting your feet into a bowl of cool water with a couple of drops of lemon or grapefruit pure essential oils will instantly soothe puffy and possibly painful feet. The therapeutic properties of both oils include diuretic (the increase of water from the body) and hypotensive (lowering blood pressure) qualities.

 

6.  Snack Smart

Eat plenty of foods with a high water content such as cucumbers, celery, tomatoes, peppers and watermelon as these will help keep you feeling nourished and hydrated.  Partner with a tasty avocado based guacamole for some additional essential fatty acids. 

Minimise your salt intake – try to steer clear of foods that contain high amounts of salt as this will help ease water retention and therefore swollen legs, ankles, feet & fingers.

 

7.  Use Sunscreen

Whenever you are outside, use a high SPF sunscreen. The hormones that are generated during pregnancy can cause chloasma, so make sure to also wear hats and protect your chest area, as your face and chest are most prone to be affected.

 

8.  Keep your cool when travelling

If you’re on public transport, make sure you have your ‘Baby on Board badge so people can clearly see you’re pregnant and (hopefully) offer you a seat. 

Always carry a bottle of water with you and it can be worth investing in a handheld misting fan that can easily fit into your bag ready your daily commute (you can pack this in your hospital bag to help you cool down on your birthing-day).

If you start to feel hot or unwell, get off the train/tube/bus at the next available stop.

 

9.  Elevate your Feet

It is normal to get some swelling in pregnancy, particularly in your legs, ankles, feet and fingers. It is often worse at the end of the day, and further into your pregnancy.  This is because any extra water tends to gather in the lowest parts of the body, especially if the weather is hot or if you've been standing a lot.

As the heat makes the swelling in your feet and legs worse, try to keep them up whenever you’re sitting, even at work. Wear comfortable, roomy shoes. Don’t be afraid to size up if needed. 

To ease the pressure – try to rest for an hour a day with your feet higher than your heart; for example, propped up with cushions as you rest on the sofa.  Try keeping your legs elevated while sleeping by placing a rolled up blanket or pillow under your mattress at the foot of the bed.

Do some foot and ankle exercises either sitting or standing - to improve blood circulation, reduce swelling in the ankles, and prevent cramp in the calf muscles.

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.

 

10.  Always 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.  Dehydration is thought to be a cause of baby moving less, however .... it is best not to assume that your baby is moving less because of the heat, so always speak to your maternity unit who can give you advice and rule out any other potential causes.

 


Lucy Horton