If you’re anything like us, you’ll have been longing for summer temperatures, and forgotten all about the less desirable side effects – particularly when pregnant – such as sleepless nights and swollen feet. We’ve rounded up some practical tips to help you keep cool and comfortable as we get into the full swing of summer.
Although you might feel that you already spend much of your day rushing to the loo, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids to help prevent dehydration and swelling (aim to get your urine to be light yellow or almost colourless). Plain water is best but you can liven things up by adding ice, mint and fruit slices, and pretend it’s a mojito!
Many women find that their skin is more sensitive to sun during pregnancy, which is why it's important to take extra precautions – sunburn anytime isn't fun, sunburn in your third trimester is the stuff of nightmares. So slather yourself in at least SPF30 and stay in the shade as much as possible – not only will you reduce your chances of developing skin cancer later on, you'll also be reducing the appearance of chloasma – the little brown patches that can appear on the face.
Natural is best
Avoid clingy, man-made fabrics which will only exacerbate the feeling that you're quite literally melting under the sun. Instead, choose natural, loose-fitting fabrics like cotton and linen to help wick away sweat and keep you feeling cool and breezy. Carry the theme through to bedtime to help you get a little more shut-eye, even down to the bedding. Use a cotton sheet (take the duvet out on very hot nights) and invest in a cooling pillow.
Make friends with the freezer
The freezer needn't be just for frozen peas and unidentified leftovers. Grab a cotton dress, spritz it with water and pop it in the freezer for an hour. When you put it on, you will be awash with pure relief. Use this technique for your bed sheets too before you go to bed for a less sweaty night. If you’re commuting to the office, make the journey more bearable by leaving a wet flannel in the freezer overnight. In the morning, wrap it in fabric and put it down your back or across your forehead for an instantly cooling hit.
The early bird
If you've got chores and errands to run (of course you do!), make a start on the never-ending list earlier in the day, before things hot up in the afternoon. Whether it's a gentle workout, returning a parcel at the post office or tackling the ironing basket, aim to get the sweat-inducing tasks out of the way before lunch. Better yet, ask for help - your friends and family will be happy to assist. Then make like the Mediterraneans and indulge in a mid-afternoon siesta to escape the sun.
The right shoes
Anyone who has ever suffered through a day in painful shoes can sympathise, but being pregnant in summer is a whole different ballgame. Consider buying shoes in a size up, especially if they've got a pointed toe. Our advice would be stick to flats, but if you must wear a heel, opt for espadrilles with a wedge - they'll give you the lift without the discomfort. And watch your salt intake; too much will cause water retention, leading to more swelling.
If you see your daily skincare routine more as a chore rather than a pleasure, turn it into a soothing ritual by keeping your moisturiser in the fridge. The cooler your cream, the more exquisite the feeling of it will be as you slather it on your body on a muggy evening. Do the same for facial and eye creams too for a head-to-toe experience.
Air conditioning may not be the norm for most British homes, but you can create a similar experience with your fan. Simply place a 2-litre bottle of frozen water in front of it and angle it towards you for some icy pleasure. Invest in a small hand-held fan too, and keep it on your person at all times!
Another simple way to cool down whether you’re at home or on the go is to keep a small spray bottle filled with water with you, spritzing your face as and when you need it – it’ll take some of the heat away as it evaporates. Add a couple of ice cubes to the bottle to stay cooler for longer.
Don’t overdo it
Last and definitely not least – don’t over-exert yourself. Make a conscious effort to slow down and get as much rest as possible. Do the grocery shop online to save yourself trawling through the supermarket aisles and ask for help if you need it – now’s the time to do it.