Take it from me… when you have a summer pregnancy, one thing that you forget to consider until it’s actually here is the HEAT.
Summer heat is notoriously uncomfortable for pregnant women, and it poses some unique risks. (Overheating can lead to a higher chance of miscarriage during the first trimester, and dizziness, fainting and dehydration are possibilities for those of us who are further along.) Source
As fun and exciting as summer can be, many pregnant women find themselves struggling to cope with the high temperatures outside. It’s hard to keep yourself cool when you’re trying to grow a baby and you have so much blood flow!
Plus, when you’re pregnant, you tend to feel hotter than other people — because your body is working so hard to nurture life. (Psst… your baby feels even hotter than you do.)
Your fetus is warmer than you (1° Celsius/2° Fahrenheit). While you can lower your body temperature by sweating, your baby cannot. One study suggests that exposure to excessive heat and humidity during the first 3 months of pregnancy could lead to lower birth weights. Late in pregnancy, high temperatures have been shown to lead to premature labor and an increased rate of miscarriage. Heat and humidity contribute to dehydration, which can cause your baby’s heart rate to beat faster. Dehydration also raises the risk for preterm labor by decreasing your blood volume and increasing the concentration of oxytocin – the hormone responsible for uterine contractions. Source
Whether you’re planning to spend some time outside or bask in the cool air inside, following are some clever ways to beat the heat when you’re expecting.
My Top 3 Summer Pregnancy Tips
Before I get to the really clever ideas, these first 3 are super important for yours and your baby’s health:
#1 – Stay hydrated.
You know that you should be consuming lots of fluids during your pregnancy (especially water) to stay healthy.
But did you know that drinking water can also keep you from becoming dehydrated and hot when you’re out in the sun during your pregnancy? And did you know that dehydration can cause contractions and even preterm labor?
Don’t wait until you feel thirsty before reaching for a drink of water. By the time your body registers thirst, you’re already suffering from the effects of dehydration. So, take a bottle of water with you everywhere you go. Source
Many expecting ladies (including myself when I was pregnant) find it hard to drink water. Here’s why:
- Maybe your taste buds have changed, and you no longer enjoy the taste of water.
- Or perhaps you suffer from morning sickness that makes it hard for you to keep things down.
- There are plenty of reasons why some pregnant women avoid drinking as much water and fluids as they should.
Regardless of what your reasons are, it’s important to drink more water during the hot summer months. This is true even if you’re planning to conceive during the summer.
Drinking cold water can help your body feel less hot — both internally and externally — so you’ll feel more comfortable and less like you’re melting away.
If you’re not a fan of plain water, try these tips:
- Drink sports drinks or orange juice — the electrolytes in them help to replace lost salt and retain fluid.
- Add some fruit or vegetables to plain water in order to improve the taste. Make your own fruit ice cubes and smoothies by mixing & matching these ingredients.
- Try flavored waters and sparkling water beverages that are available.
- Ice cubes and ice chips also work great if you need to get some extra hydration but you’re not thrilled with the idea of drinking water.
- Eat foods with a higher water content — like watermelon, cucumbers, lettuce, and grapes. TIP: Try frozen grapes for a sweet treat, or as an ice cube replacement in drinks!
As a bonus… once I started to drink more fluids regularly, I also started to experience fewer food cravings.
Here are 5 things you can eat instead of drinking water for the same health benefits and to stay hydrated.
#2 – Wear loose, flowy clothes.
No matter how good you think you look in tight-fitting clothing (like leggings, jeggings, and yoga pants), you will stay cooler by wearing clothes that are not so tight and form-fitting.
Wearing loose-fitting clothes makes it easier for air to circulate across your skin to cool it off.
Many pregnant ladies also find that as they get bigger, loose clothes are easier to get into and more comfortable to wear.
Combine summertime heat with pregnancy hormones and a bunch of baby pounds and that’s a recipe for one hot mama. Going naked isn’t an option, except at home where you should feel free to strip down early and often. Instead, dress wisely in clothes that’ll help you look and feel cool. Source
The same is true for shoes — you’ll feel more comfortable wearing shoes that are a half-size larger than your normal size. Open-toed shoes and flip flops are the most comfortable shoes to wear during your pregnancy.
The bottom line for your summer pregnancy: find some flowy summer maternity clothes. Ideally, you should choose lighter colored garments over darker colored ones, wear open-toed shoes, and a wide-brimmed hat outdoors.
When I was pregnant in the summer, I wore maxi dresses, skirts, and loose t-shirts. I loved how free and unrestricted they made me feel. They also didn’t stick to me whenever I became hot and sweaty — so that helped to keep me from becoming too uncomfortable when it was hot.
Here are my best tips for finding cheap maternity clothes.
#3 – Get lots of rest.
With a summer pregnancy, you may feel more tired than usual.
When you think about your circumstances — your pregnancy, your health, and the hot temperatures — you may be wondering what you can do to find a happy balance.
One thing’s for sure: if you’re tired, make time to rest! You are no good to yourself or your baby if you aren’t well rested.
Pregnant women often suffer from night sweats. Hormonal changes in pregnancy intensify your body’s predisposition to heat and can bring on hot flushes — similar to those experienced by women during the menopause. Try to use a pillow made of feather or down rather than synthetic materials, and ensure nightwear is made of breathable cotton or linen. Source
If you can’t sleep, just sit back somewhere and chill. Don’t lift a finger to do anything except think happy thoughts.
Resting and doing nothing makes it easy for your body to stay cool — because you aren’t doing anything that requires it to work harder than it already is.
Here are some fun things you can do while taking it easy and getting rest at home.
25+ Creative Summer Pregnancy Ideas
In addition to the links and tips I’ve mentioned above, here are some other clever ideas to help you stay cool during your pregnancy when it’s hot outside:
- Mist yourself with cool water to keep your skin cool. TIP: A cheap handheld misting fan is worth it! You can also stay hydrated and misted at the same time with a Mist ‘n Sip Hydration Water Bottle. Or stay cool while using your smartphone with a phone fan.
- Sit in front of a fan. Moving air is one of the best ways to feel cool. TIP: Freeze a couple of water bottles and put them in front of a floor fan or desk fan for an even cooler breeze! Here are 9 tricks to make the inside of your house cooler.
- Make an ice cube necklace that won’t drip as the ice melts. Here’s how.
- Try yogic breathing to cool down faster in hot weather. It’s true, the way you breathe can actually cool you down from the inside out. You want to focus on a relaxed, steady breathing pattern.
- Wet the sleeves only of your shirt or the hemline only of a dress or skirt. Use a spray bottle or the hose outside to keep your sleeves wet. Any breeze from the air or a fan will cause you to feel a chill!
- Sleep on silk or satin sheets for the ultimate in coolness, or 100% cotton sheets for the next best thing. That is, unless you want to invest in a set of Sheex bed sheets that are specifically designed to keep you cool when you sleep! TIP: You could also put your sheets in the freezer for a few hours before you make the bed and go to sleep… and use a cool pillow or a chillow.
- Put gel ice packs on top of your mattress just below your sheets to cool specific parts of your body while lying on the bed. TIP: Be sure to use soft gel ice packs, not hard ones! Or a hot water bottle with water, stick it in the freezer, and use that as a bedtime ice pack.
- Don’t go outside if you don’t have to. The temperatures outside are often much hotter than they are inside your home. And if you have to go out, then do so in the morning and evening hours, if possible. Try to spend time in places that typically blast the AC — like movie theaters, libraries, malls, coffee shops, restaurants, and grocery stores. (Most have spaces where you can sit and chill for awhile.)
- Wear a cooling vest. There are several different types — including the ice vest with re-freezable gel packs and the Hyperkewl Cooling Vest.
- Sleep with a fan that sends cool air between the sheets. Yes, there is a bed fan that is made specifically for this purpose! The Bed Jet has several other unique features.
- Swim to take added pressure off your legs & body and cool down your body temperature at the same time.
- Get a baby pool — for yourself to use in the privacy of your backyard. You’ll use it again next year anyway for the new baby! TIP: Don’t want to sit in a baby pool? Then sit under a lawn sprinkler!
- Chill your makeup and moisturizers before you put them on. Either keep them in the refrigerator, or put them in the freezer for a few brief moments before applying.
- Take short, lukewarm showers several times during the day. Or enjoy a soothing oatmeal bath.
- Place a cold, damp washcloth or sponge on the back of your neck, your forehead, the top of your head, or one of your body’s pulse points to cool down right away. Here’s how to make sponge ice packs. Keep them in the refrigerator or freezer, so you’ll always have one ready. Or buy some cooling bandanas or evaporative cooling towels to wrap around your head or neck — they don’t have to be refrigerated and they work rather quickly. TIP: Of course, you could also use bags of frozen vegetables!
- Sit don’t stand. For the ultimate in relaxation, try a hammock chair.
- Increase the ventilation inside your home by opening windows on the hottest (south or west) side of the house just a crack and opening the windows on the opposite (north or east) side of the house fully. This creates a nice cross breeze — bringing large amounts of the cooler air inside while blowing the hot air outside. TIP: The idea is to create a vacuum or wind funnel inside your home.
- Cut down on your salt intake to reduce the amount of water retention you experience. But don’t cut out salt altogether — because your growing baby needs it.
- Make your own personal swamp cooler. Here’s how: Get a cotton t-shirt (a baggy one that’s too big for you). Get it wet (not soaking wet, but very wet). Squeeze the water out (til it’s just super damp). Put it on — the evaporative coolness will keep your skin cool and make you feel so much better!
- Sleep in the ‘spread eagle’ position (with your arms and legs not touching each other) to reduce body heat and let air circulate around your body at night. TIP: During the later stages of pregnancy, it’s best to sleep on your left side — but sleeping ‘spread eagle’ will help you get through a particularly warm night of sleep.
- Avoid caffeine — because it raises your blood pressure.
- Put your wrists under the cold water faucet or pour a little water on your face or the back of your neck — to cool down instantly. TIP: For faster relief, stick your bare feet or hands in a bowl of ice water.
- Get a short haircut or pull your hair away from your face using these methods.
- Raise your feet up to take added pressure off your body, prevent your body temperature from rising, and keep your ankles, feet, legs, and fingers from swelling. (Be sure to remove your rings before you have to cut them off — or use this doctor’s trick if you waited until it was too late.) TIP: To keep your legs elevated while sleeping, place a rolled-up towel or blanket under your mattress at the foot of the bed.
A common problem in summer pregnancies is leg swelling — called physiologic edema. If the second half of pregnancy occurs during the summer months, the degree of leg swelling can increase dramatically. Source
Without a doubt, it’s important for you to stay cool when it’s hot outside — to keep your body from overheating. The higher your internal body temperature gets, the less safe it becomes for your unborn child.
No matter how much energy you may have or how much you feel you have to do, pay attention to your body and do what’s necessary for you to stay cool for your baby!