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How To Cope with a Heatwave During Pregnancy

A pregnant belly makes life a lot more challenging as it is, but throw in a summer heatwave and getting comfortable becomes almost impossible. 

I can remember during my second pregnancy there being a period of around two weeks where the temperature regularly hit 30C.

By the third day of this I was going completely out of my mind.

I was still only around five months pregnant, but my belly had swollen to a gargantuan size already. Seriously, it was huge. I remember being desperate to get that pregnant belly when I was expecting my first baby but it took forever to pop out.

In my second pregnancy I was wearing maternity jeans by six weeks. Towards the end of the pregnancy my bump was so huge I started to worry I was going to be bringing an 11lb tot into the world. 

However, I digress. There I was at five months pregnant, feeling big and running very low on good humour.

The heat was driving me crazy. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I took cold showers that relieved the discomfort for 10 minutes before I then started feeling like I had been transported to the surface of the sun once again. 

The nights were the worst. Not only was I struggling to find a comfy spot in bed, but now I was baking hot as well. I slept totally naked, letting it all hang out (I believe me, there was a LOT hanging out), but could find no relief. 

Of course I also had my 18-month-old toddler to take care of at this time. She was not only cranky from the heat, but believed that sitting on my lap was the best remedy for this. Her cuddles, normally so welcome, became like hugging a hot water bottle while sitting in a sauna. 

By the end of week one I was utterly miserable.

After spending that summer heatwave complaining about how claustrophobic I felt because I couldn’t escape the heat, I’ve now got a few tips for staying cool during pregnancy in hot weather.

There is, according to the NCT, no evidence that pregnant ladies feel hotter during pregnancy.  

However anecdotally, I think we can all agree that pregnancy and hot weather are not particularly comfortable!

But I’ve found several things that can make a huge difference when you’re struggling in the heat and pregnant. 

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1. Get a fan

If you are flitting between rooms, or have an office without air conditioning, then get more than one. This is one investment that you will be thoroughly glad about.

If you have to commute on a train or bus, then buy a handheld fan that you can fit in your handbag. 

At home, choose a tower fan. These are just way more powerful and provide lots more cool air. 

If you are feeling really hot, then grab a flannel with cool water on and dab yourself with it while sitting in front of the fan. 

You can take this another level up by having a cold shower, then standing in front of the fan naked. Honestly, it’s the quickest way to feel cooler!

I would splash myself with water from the sink before getting into bed and have the fan pointed at the bed. It definitely helped. 

2. Drink a lot of water

This is a pregnancy tip that goes without saying, but during heatwaves it is particularly important.

Try to stock up on ice in the freezer so that you can make your drinks extra chilled. 

Make it easier on yourself by getting a water bottle that you carry with you all of the time. Add ice to it so that it stays cold for longer. 

3. Wear light clothes

Go for thin layers and avoid wearing things that are too tight. 

Shorts and vest tops are definitely your friends on hot days! Cotton dresses with plenty of space are also great. 

Choose stretchy sports bras or maternity bras made from cotton, without padding, and wear cotton knickers. 

If you need to strip right down, then do it! In private of course. 

Don’t forget to wear suncream when out on the sun too, because adding sunburn to your discomfort would not be good!

4. Use water

If you have a paddling pool in the garden then dip your toes into it whenever possible. 

This has the double benefit of entertaining your toddler if you have an older child. 

At night you may find it handy to have a wet flannel or bowl of water by the bed.

Dab yourself with water whenever you’re feeling especially uncomfortable. If you’re in the pathway of a fan, this will instantly cool you down. 

You can also try spritzing yourself with a spray bottle with chilled water inside.

5. Rest

Doing too much and running around is a surefire way to get yourself hot and bothered.

Take it easy and skip the housework. 

If you have a list of things to do, you could try getting physical chores done first thing in the morning when your house will be cooler. 

Avoid doing anything too intense after midday. 

6. Air the house in the mornings

Open all of the windows and doors in the mornings to let the cooler, early air into the house. Close the windows after 11am as you want to try to keep the hot air out of the house. 

Once it gets to the evening, get all of the windows open again to get the cooler air circulating through the house. 

7. Get some ice lollies

This is the perfect excuse to enjoy a summer treat. You could even make your own if you fancy giving it a go!

I suggest pouring some mango juice into lolly moulds and popping a few sliced strawberries in there too. Delicious!

8. Stick your bedsheets into the fridge

Yes, really! Put your bedsheets into a plastic bag. Make sure they are sealed up so no food gets on there. 

Refrigerate for at least three hours before bedtime and then pop them on your bed. 

That cold feeling won’t last all night, but it will feel amazing for the first few minutes after you get into bed. 

9. Ditch the salt

Increased salt intake can make you dehydrate and causes the body to swell. 

Avoid salty snacks and meals, swapping them for lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. 

10. Remove your rings

Your hands, and feet, swell during pregnancy in any weather. However when it’s hot you may find they seem even bigger as the heat causes blood vessels to expand. 

Remove any rings as well as bracelets that start to feel uncomfortable. 

11. Try an icy mocktail

You can’t enjoy an alcoholic beverage, and to be honest in the heat it wouldn’t help you cool down anyway!

But sipping on an icy drink can definitely help to make you feel cooler while you’re drinking it. 

Try going really simple, with a carton of juice which you then blend together with a cup of ice. The result is a slushy, cold and sweet treat for pregnant ladies on a hot day. 

12. Choose your timing wisely for walks

Exercise is important in pregnancy. But if you go out when the sun is at its highest in the afternoon then you may feel really uncomfortable. 

Choose to take your walks first thing in the mornings or last thing in the evenings when the temperature will be much cooler. 

13. Get a paddling pool

If you live close to a beach then ideally you’ll spend hot days there dipping your feet in the cool water to get your temperature down. 

But if you’re not lucky enough to have a beach on your doorstep, a paddling pool is the next best thing. 

If you already have kids then this is the perfect way to keep them entertained on a warm day. If you don’t, then get one anyway and sit in the garden (in some shade) with your feet in the pool. 

14. Don’t slave over a hot oven

Cooking in a hot kitchen is not what you want to do right now!

Go for simple meals that do not require oven cooking during a heatwave. You could also try cooking with a slow cooker, where you would get all the ingredients ready and cooking in the morning when it’s cool and then simply serve when it’s dinner time. 

Are you pregnant and struggling in the heat? How are you coping?

My Love of Home has great tips for surviving a summer pregnancy on her blog. 

How to stay cool when pregnant during a heatwave. Top tips for mums to be on coping in hot weather

Vicky Smith is a mother of two daughters and a journalist. She has been writing and vlogging about parenting for over five years.