Coping with hot weather when you are pregnant

Coping with hot weather when you are pegnant can be a very umcomfortable experience...

Caroline is a Midwife and Antenatal Teacher. When her baby sister was born at home when she was eight, Caroline was so entranced by the whole atmosphere and the delicious soft skinned baby that she decided there and then that she wanted to be a Midwife. Caroline has been a Midwife for 36 years, she has had three children of her own and countless foster children. She knows from experience how demanding the first few weeks with your newborn are, and she makes herself available 24/7 because she knows that it is in the middle of the night that so many mothers need support and advice. For individual advice you can contact Caroline direct at:

Speak to me on 0906 207 2675
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Summer is here and hopefully we shall have lots of lovely sunny weather, warm breezes and bright sunshine. However, if you are pregnant when the weather is hot you can feel very uncomfortable – here are Caroline’s tips for coping with the hot weather.

What can I do to keep cool when I am pregnant?

Firstly, be aware that your body is under strain and make allowances. So don’t expect to walk as quickly as you used to, don’t expect to be as nifty as usual, and leave enough time to be able to walk slowly to your destination. Don’t rush for a bus or train – leave plenty of time so that you can amble and catch it.

Discuss with your employer to see if you can do some work from home, or if you can stagger your hours so that you are not travelling in the rush hour. Tube trains are very hot, so always ask someone to give you their seat. Many people feel embarrassed to offer women a seat in case they aren’t pregnant and are just fat, this is why so few people offer their seats. If you just say, “I am pregnant, could someone let me sit down please?” you will find that a whole raft of people will jump up and give you a seat.

In your lunch hour at work do not rush round the shops buying the dinner – make use of internet shopping, takeaways and food you have frozen. If there is somewhere in your firm where you can lie down and put your feet up during the lunch hour, that will make you feel much fresher and livelier in the afternoon. Even a blanket in the corner on the floor will help.

Cotton clothes are cooler than synthetic fabrics, especially for underwear. Use talcum powder after your shower to cool you and help you to feel fresh. Avoid baths and try to shower; they are cooler, especially if you allow yourself to dry off naked – the evaporation of the water has a very cooling effect.

How can I stop tossing and turning in bed when I’m hot and bothered?

When you are pregnant you need to get up several times in the night to empty your bladder and this disturbs your natural sleep rhythm. It often disturbs your partner and then you can’t get back to sleep again – he starts snoring and you lie there hot, sweaty, swollen and resentful.

Firstly, if you have enough room it is worth sleeping apart for some of the night – however much you love each other, sleeping with another person increases disturbance at night. A fan to cool you down is very helpful and gentle music can be a real sleep inducer. If you have earplugs, you won’t disturb your partner and it will drown out the sound of the fan (and the snoring!).

If your feet are very swollen, they will become less swollen while you sleep. Try putting a small wedge under the foot of the bed to raise the bottom of the bed and help them drain more easily.

When they are very swollen they can irritate before the draining starts, to avoid this try to put your feet up during the evening on a stool or pouffe.

Have just a cotton sheet on the bed to be as cool as possible, and no blankets. A cool flannel wiped over your face and neck can help because when the water evaporates from your skin it will cool you.

Why do I find the hot weather so debilitating?

Because you are pregnant, your body is working much harder than usual. Pregnant women have more blood circulating in the blood vessels than non-pregnant people (about 10 pints of blood, as compared to 8 pints which is the norm). Your body is working harder, supplying nutrients to your snuggled-in baby, and you are hotter than usual because your baby acts as central heating for your body. The action of the hormone progesterone, which is produced in large quantities in pregnancy, is to make everything softer and looser in your body. You are therefore likely to be rather constipated, your intestines feel bunged up and hotter, and your venous return and lymphatic drainage is slower than normal, so your whole body feels heavier and slower than usual and not as efficient as it usually feels.

Your body is actually heavier, your heart has to work harder pushing the blood around your body, your lungs work harder because they have to expand outwards rather than downwards because there is a baby in the way, your whole body is toiling – this makes you feel slower, clumsier and hotter. Then the hot weather comes and makes you feel like a blob – swollen, sweaty and tired. Always be aware that bodies have to work harder when you are pregnant, so make allowances for the extra work your body is doing.

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