Having a newborn during the bright summer months is quite simply a joy – but getting there can be tough going. To say the least!

Put simply, summer heat and your third trimester don’t go well together. Experts explain that when you’re pregnant, your body temperature is a little higher than normal, so add in a heatwave, and you’re bound to be uncomfortable.

Sweaty and tired

Plus the sheer fact that you’re carrying around an extra load of weight – no wonder you’re sweaty and tired.

“I am SO excited for the birth of my first baby,” says Marie Ronan, who is expecting a little girl in June, “but I am really feeling the heat at the moment! I’ve noticed that I’m moving a lot slower and getting puffed if I walk up a hill.

“I’m also having difficulties staying asleep at night as I’m just so hot! I’ve noticed that my ankles are far more prone to swelling as the weather heats up.”

Keep your cool

While much of the issues with heat and pregnancy in the summer is discomfort, it’s worth mentioning that dehydration is a serious concern for pregnant women, and could cause issues like dizziness, fainting, lightheadedness and swelling – which should always be checked out with your doctor or midwife.

So how do you keep your cool when the weather is heating up? Try these tips:

  • Wear breathable, loose clothing, preferably in cotton. A wide-brimmed hat is also a good idea.
  • Carry a water mist spray or portable electric fan for on-the-go cooling down.
  • Remember that pregnant that you’re more sensitive to sunburn and sunspots, so wear a high SPF at all times.
  • Stick to exercising or doing anything strenuous in the early morning or the evening when it is cooler. (remember to check with your doctor if exercising is okay – and never take up a new exercise when pregnant).
  • Stay indoors during the hotter part of the day between 11 am and 2 pm. Even better, have a nap!
  • Take up swimming or aqua aerobics. Not only will this cool you down, but the water will also help take the weight and pressure of the bump off your body.
  • Drink lots of water! If you are thirsty, you are dehydrated, so drink up. If you sweating a lot, consider a sports drink, juice or electrolyte-replacement drink to rebalance the mineral content in your body.
  • On particularly hot days, use a facecloth dipped in cold water on the back of your neck to cool down quickly.
  • If you are feeling weak, dizzy or tired, go inside for a lie-down and drink some cool water or juice. If you don’t feel better, see your doctor.

Contact your doctor

As mentioned before, another issue with the heat is that it can cause swelling. If the swelling is gradual and no other symptoms occur, although it’s uncomfortable, the swelling generally isn’t dangerous. However, the HSE recommends you contact your doctor if you experience swelling suddenly or swelling along with any of the following symptoms, as it could be a sign of pre-eclampsia:

  • Sudden swelling of your face, hands or feet
  • Blurred vision or flashing lights before your eyes
  • A severe headache
  • Severe pain just below your ribs
  • Vomiting after 24 weeks of pregnancy

You should also contact your doctor if you have one leg that is swollen or one calf that is red, hot or tender, as these could be signs of deep vein thrombosis or blood clot.

Minimise the discomfort

If your swelling is due simply to the heat, the HSE recommends a number of ways to help minimise the discomfort at home:

  • Avoid standing for long periods of time
  • Put your feet up when you can
  • Avoid crossing your legs
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Stay as active as possible

And remember – although you might be uncomfortable now, soon you’ll hopefully be cradling your newborn in your arms and able to enjoy the brighter, longer days with your gorgeous bundle of joy!

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