By Erin Ollila
It’s hot outside. Really hot. When you’re pregnant in the summer, you might feel like you’ll never survive these warm weather months before the baby arrives, but there’s no reason to despair. Here are seven options for staying cool and comfortable during a summer pregnancy.
Water. Water. Water. It’s one of the most important things you can consume during your pregnancy, and it’s especially helpful to help you stay cool in the summer. While you may know how important water is, has anyone ever explained why?
According to the What To Expect website, water “helps your body absorb essential nutrients into the cells and transports vitamins, minerals and hormones to the blood cells. It's those nutrient-rich blood cells that reach the placenta and ultimately your baby.”
It’s not just the baby that gets the benefits either. Water helps you to flush out your system, and staying hydrated can help avoid constipation and also to ward off urinary tract infections, both of which are common in pregnancy. Drinking water can also help decrease swelling, so if that’s a problem for you, drink more often!
Embrace Your Inner Mermaid
Feeling as if you’re overheating? Take a dip in a pool or visit the beach! The water will help you support the extra weight you’re carrying, and best yet, you can even count it as exercise.
The American Pregnancy Association (APA) says, “ Swimming keeps your body toned without adding weight and stress to your joints. Swimming raises your heart rate and allows you to enjoy a safe cardiovascular exercise that is not likely to cause overheating.”
And real moms love it simply to cool off, too. “I was pregnant in the summer in Texas, and I remember spending a lot of time in the pool and also consuming a lot of ice cream during my other child's naptime,” says Melissa Droegemueller, mom of two girls.
Mom of two, Jamie Coelho agrees, “For the first pregnancy, I drove to the beach down the street and swam often. For the second one, I set up the kiddie pool in the backyard and had no shame sticking my feet in it, or just getting right in with my kid.”
Spend Time Indoors
The heat is generally the toughest part of summer to survive, especially if you live in a very hot and dry or a very humid area. Unless your job requires you to spend time outdoors, take a hint from some of the real moms we interviewed for this article and just stay inside—and close to the air conditioner!
“I don't handle heat well at all, and I felt zero guilt about saying no to outdoor activities that year since I had a good reason to stay in the air conditioning,” says Droegemueller.
Katie Kahvo, mom of soon-to-be two children, agrees and has already made plans for how she’ll handle entertaining her daughter while in her third trimester this summer. She says, “I plan on taking advantage of the indoor play centers on the really hot days.”
Buy Cooling Accessories
There are still a few options for cooling down that don’t require an air conditioner or kiddie pool to lower your temp. There are many cooling accessories to test out. Frozen eye masks are great to wear during a bath or right before bed. There are cooling towels and personal fans you can take with you if you’re spending the day outdoors.
One stylish option is a cooling necklace, often sold to women in menopause for hot flashes, that works great for pregnant moms. You can look good and feel great with an accessory like this.
Tami Grant, a Massachusetts mom, says, “My mom bought me a set of “cooling pearls” that you kept in the freezer and could put on as an accessory that cools you off.” She continues, “I still have them and my son uses them as an ice pack for boo-boos now.”
Elevate Your Feet
The APA says, During pregnancy, the body produces approximately 50% more blood and body fluids to meet the needs of the developing baby.” Because of this, swelling occurs in the face, legs, hands and feet.
To remedy this, wear compression stockings and elevate your feet. Too tight shoes aren’t helpful and can make the swelling worse. Cool compresses are also helpful to decrease swelling. If you sit at a desk for work, keep your feet propped on a box or small ottoman during the day while wearing compression stockings. Elevate them in the evening with cooling compresses. Reducing your sodium intake and increasing your water intake will help with the swelling too.
While swelling is completely normal, it’s important to talk to your doctor about it during a prenatal visit, as swelling can be one of the first signs of preeclampsia.
Be Confident In Your Body
While I believe that pregnant women are the most beautiful of all women, I’ll be the first to admit that I struggled with my body at various points in my pregnancy. Everyone suggested swimming as a great pastime to ease pregnancy pains, but I was sweating at just the idea of stuffing my body into my bathing suit. However, once I moved past this anxiety, I was able to enjoy myself and feel more comfortable in my body.
Rachel Martin, mom of two, encourages pregnant women to do what makes them comfortable. She says, “Do not care what other people think! I was pregnant with my daughter in Southern Illinois and it was hot. So I decided to cool off and dug out one of my old belly shirts and got a nice top of the belly tan while I sat outside at a family gathering. I was creating life and I was going to be comfortable. Do what makes you feel good.”
Adjust Your Mindset
Talk to anyone who was pregnant in the summer, and you’ll likely get a story about how tough it was for them. Just know that it really isn’t that bad. If you can increase your water intake and stay cool, you can actually enjoy being pregnant in the summer months.
"I had both of my kids on August 10, and I thought it was awesome to be pregnant in the summer," says mom of two, Laura Boulay. She continues, "Flip flops for swollen feet, moo-moos meant no maternity clothes, and floating in a pool! Plus, you don’t have to worry about people having colds when they visit the newborn."
Your personal mindset determines how you feel about pregnancy in the summer. Coelho adds, “It helps if you don't buy into how miserable people say you will be in the heat. I found it wasn't that bad.”