When you're pregnant, it can be difficult to keep cool in hot weather. You may be adjusting to the changes in your size and your body, finding it hard to sleep at night, and very hot weather can be the last straw. Try our tips for preventing meltdown in the heatwave.
Keep out of the sun to avoid overheating and sunburn, and wear loose fitting, cotton clothing. When you're applying suncream, you may find that your skin is more prone to irritation during pregnancy. Try a brand formulated for sensitive skin instead.
Heat rash (also called prickly heat) - which develops when you become overheated and sweaty - is made up of lots of small pink spots, which may be itchy. Stay out of the sun for a day or so until it settles down, and follow our advice for keeping cool. If it doesn't clear up within a couple of days, see your doctor to check that the rash doesn't indicate anything more serious.
Buy a fan to use indoors. Small hand-held fans can also be very useful. Invest in a cooling leg gel for moms-to-be, and take regular breaks to sit with your feet up in front of the fan.
Keep bedroom curtains/blinds closed during the day to try to keep the room a little cooler.
Drink plenty of fluids to prevent
dehydration. This is important, as your body needs more fluid than usual when you're pregnant, and even more so in hot weather.
One of the signs of
dehydration is a headache. However, if you are suffering from a persistent headache that continues despite drinking plenty of fluids, and you also have other symptoms such as:
- sudden swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or face
- blurred vision
- vomiting or
See your doctor for an urgent
blood pressure and urine check. These symptoms could indicate pre-eclampsia (a potentially serious condition usually occurring after 20 weeks of pregnancy). If you are experiencing sudden breathing difficulties along with sudden swelling, visit your nearest emergency room urgently.
Avoid soft whipped ice creams (e.g. from ice cream vans and fast food restaurants) as they can contain bugs such as salmonella if the equipment is not kept clean. Have a refreshing fruit juice lolly instead. Homemade ice cream made with raw eggs should also be avoided, but standard packaged ice cream is fine and will even help to keep your calcium levels up!
Fill a washing-up bowl or small paddling pool with water, and sit in the shade with your feet in the water. At the end of the day, a cool shower or bath can be soothing and may help you to get a more restful night's sleep.