Remember when summer meant tiny shorts, mojitos, and hours spent working on your tan? Well, seems like those days are over (for now!)
But hey, just because you have some precious cargo on board about doesn’t mean summer can’t be fun. It just means you have to take a bit of extra care. Let’s face it, pregnancy is tough on your body as it is — so as the mercury starts to rise, it helps to be prepared.
Here are seven key tips for how to stay safe and healthy during a summer pregnancy.
1. Stay hydrated
A lot of the weight you gain during pregnancy is actually water. We’re talking 6 to 8 litres of it by the time you get to term! All this extra fluid is for things like the baby’s circulation, the placenta and the amniotic fluid, so it’s super important you don’t get dehydrated. Staying hydrated also helps relieve common pregnancy symptoms like constipation and bloating.
As the days get hotter, you’ll also need to replace the fluids you lose from sweating it out. Which means — yup, you guessed it — drinking even more water.
How do you make sure you get all the water you need? One tip is to carry a bottle around with you (aim for BPA-free) so you can sip throughout the day and never get caught thirsty. If you get bored with plain old water, mix it up: sip on herbal iced tea, water infused with fresh mint, ginger, or lemon, or a glass of sparkling water with a splash of natural cordial or juice. Even fruits and vegetables with high water content count (hello, watermelon!) Just try to keep anything with caffeine or sugar to a minimum.
2. Stay cool
Blistering sun. Balmy air. A sauna for a house and a car that seems to have transformed into a mobile oven.
It’s around about this time that you might want to permanently migrate to your neighbour’s swimming pool. They’d probably find that strange though, so instead, cool off by going for short dips outside of the sun’s peak times. Whether in the pool or ocean, it’s also a great way to take the weight off your feet for a while.
When indoors do make use of air conditioning and fans to keep your environment cool. If you have trouble sleeping on hot nights, you can try applying an ice pack to your neck to bring your body temperature down. While pregnant your body naturally runs hotter, so do what you can to stay comfortable and not overheat. Make sure you check out our range of ice and heat packs here at BodyICE.com
3. Manage swelling
It’s not just your belly that’s swelling up like a balloon. Your breasts, hands, ankles and lower back might also be wanting to get in on the action. Because heat can cause fluid retention, the summer weather just aggravates the problem.
To help ease swollen feet and ankles, try resting with your feet elevated to above hip height. If you’re sitting down for long periods of time for work, regularly get up and move around to increase blood flow.
If you find the heat is only adding to the conundrum of already tender, swollen breasts, apply cool breast pads for some much-needed relief. A cold compress can also be a godsend for the feet or back.
4. Choose comfortable shoes
Rubber flip-flops are perfect in summer… until they’re not. Once you’re into your third trimester especially, the extra weight you’re carrying around means your feet need proper support.
Of course, you’re going to want open-toed sandals that let your feet breathe (there’s that whole swelling thing, after all) — but do try and find some that have good cushioning and arch support to the sole. Your body will thank you for it.
5. Slip, slop, slap
As that iconic old Aussie campaign counselled: slip on a t-shirt, slop on some sunscreen, and slap on a hat whenever you head out into the sun. Thanks to hormonal changes during pregnancy, your skin becomes far more sensitive to the sun’s rays, so it’s more important than ever to take this advice.
While regular sunscreens have not been conclusively proven as safe or unsafe long-term, you can always opt for one that’s chemical-free if it puts your mind at ease. Look for sunblock products made from zinc oxide — a mineral that sits on top of the skin and creates a physical barrier between it and the sun — for a natural, non-chemical option.
6. Workout wisely
Depending on what stage of mum-to-be you’re at, you probably don’t feel like doing a whole lot of intense exercise. And that’s completely ok: the best thing you can do is listen to your body. This is especially true in summer when you’re more likely to become tired and dehydrated.
So your best bet is to skip the mid-afternoon outdoor boot camp in favour of something more relaxing. Avoid exercising when the sun is at its hottest and try early mornings or evenings instead. And we’ve said it already but we’ll say it again: don’t forget to drink plenty of water!
7. Wear breathable fabrics.
Summer sweat leads to all kinds of joyous situations, like, uh, chafing in places you didn’t know you could chafe. Wearing lightweight, breathable clothes helps to keep you cool and to keep rashes and chafing to a minimum. Look out for natural fabrics like cotton, linen and bamboo rayon, and comfortable stretch fabrics like bengaline and lightweight stretch denim.
To check out our BodyICE Breast Pads for that much-needed relief...click here.