Pregnancy is such a wonderful time of your life, however, it can have its ups and downs. In particular, pregnancy can be so much more difficult during the summer months with rising temperatures and high humidity, particularly if you have other little ones to look after, as well as yourself.
As a Mum (Founder of BellaMoon) who was heavily pregnant through summer with a 3-year old in tow, here are my tips for looking after yourself, staying cool and keeping those swollen feet under control.
Elevate Your Feet to reduce swelling
The vast majority of summer pregnancies can lead to swollen ankles, legs and feet, mainly due to all the extra weight we have to carry. This is only exacerbated by hot summer days. Take regular time-outs to sit down and elevate your feet to help reduce the swelling.
If you have a toddler, have a special little ‘time-out basket’ of toys they can use independently ready for your rest-time so you can keep them distracted for 10 minutes.
(Always be cautious of more severe swelling and speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.)
Remove your Rings before the peak heatwaves
Many pregnant Mums get tight swollen hands during pregnancy. It may prove difficult if hot summer days have already arrived, however removing your wedding rings temporarily during heat waves will help relieve the pressure. If the swelling gets worse, it will be more difficult and painful to take them off. Depending on your due date, it may be best to keep them off until after baby arrives.
Reduce your Salt Intake
Too much salt in your diet can cause you to swell up beyond the typical pregnancy swelling. Avoid salt where you can at mealtimes to reduce any further swelling.
Drink lots and lots of water
To avoid over-heating in pregnancy, keep a bottle of water nearby and continually sip it during the day to regulate your temperature. Yes, it may mean even more trips to the toilet – but it is always better to keep hydrated with a regular water supply.
I also like to keep a few varieties of drinks in the fridge, as well as some icepops, frozen yoghurt pops or homemade fruit pops such as frozen watermelon in the freezer for some quick cool down tactics. Frozen treats are such also a great treat for toddlers too and let everyone get a simultaneous rest as they are distracted for 10 minutes!
Cool down fast
There are lots of ways to cool down fast if you find yourself uncontrollably warm. Go indoors and sit adjacent to a fan, keep a fan on in your home or carry a small handheld fan are all useful ways to keep you cool. Night-time can be particularly hot and sticky so wear loose clothes and keep a fan on at night.
It’s also useful to keep a flannel nearby and soak it in cold water and put it on your forehead or around the back of your neck.
At night-time, use a C-shaped pregnancy pillow with a cool cotton cover – such as the BellaMoon New Moon 4-in-1 Pregnancy Pillow. Throw off the duvet to keep your upper body cool and wrap your pregnancy pillow behind your back in the position shown in the image below – this will give you a much more comfortable nights sleep.
A nice cold shower before bed can also help keep you more comfortable for the night ahead.
Go for a paddle or a swim
Swimming is a great way to stay cool whilst pregnant. After walking around all day with a large weight in your tummy, there is nothing greater than relaxing in cool water – be it in a pool or some good old vitamin sea.
If you have a toddler, an amazing way to cool down is to fill a small paddling pool with water and dip your feet in whilst your little one plays beside you. It is amazing how long a toddler can keep entertained in a paddling pool. Be sure to place it shade, or partial shade so you don’t overheat.
Style yourself in loose clothes and comfortable shoes
Breathable cotton maternity dresses, loose shorts with light tops are the best way to beat the heat whilst pregnant. Stock up on a few staples so that you have plenty to keep your going on the hot days – you can always throw a cardigan or light jacket over them when it cools down.
Comfortable trainers that match any outfit are an excellent pregnancy investment – they keep you comfortable, help control the feet swelling and are very trendy with dresses right now.
By all means - avoid tight skinny jeans, especially in later pregnancy – as it can lead to strangely shaped swollen ankles when they have to be peeled off in the evening!
Some pregnant women also find that keeping their hair tied up – or even going short for summer helps regulate their temperature and avoids heat building up at the back of your neck. It can make a huge difference to some Mothers comfort levels in helping them keep cool and keeping things manageable.
Rest in the shade
As much as it is lovely to get a sun-tan before baby arrives, if you are struggling with the heat and swollen limbs, it is best to stay in the shade and keep cool. Find a nice shady spot, such as under a tree, where you can still benefit from relaxing outside to enjoy the weather. Remember when you are sitting to keep those feet elevated whenever you can to keep the swelling down. You could also bring a paddling pool into the shade so you can benefit from dipping your feet in every now and again.
It is also important to take frequent naps when pregnant during those hot summer days. If your body is telling you it is tired, then lie down and have a rest. You will feel much better for it afterwards.
If you suffer from restless legs during pregnancy and are using a weighted blanket to control this, make sure you choose one which has a bamboo cover and is lighter in weight. Bamboo has natural thermoregulating properties, so it is designed to naturally keep you cool in summer.
Sleep with your pregnancy pillow behind your back
How you position your pregnancy pillow is important during sweltering hot nights. We recommend using a C-shaped pillow such as our BellaMoon New Moon 4-in-1 Pregnancy Pillow. Use this behind your back and tuck it under your bump so your face and arms are clear for air circulation. Always remember to lie on your left hand side where you can as it is the safest way to sleep for you and baby.
Despite the hot weather, swollen ankles and uncomfortable nature of the final weeks of pregnancy, try to relax - your beautiful baby will be here very very soon!
Irene from BellaMoon x
(a fellow Mother who used these tips to survive a summer heat-wave at 37 weeks pregnant!