Surviving summer when you're pregnant

When you’re heavily pregnant, summer might not be all fun in the sun. From handling the heat to what to wear, here’s our guide to coping in each area

Beat the heat

Being pregnant can make your body temperature rise so if you’re pregnant, it might feel like you’re wading through summer.

Keep ice-lollies in your freezer and carry a mini fan with you. You don’t have to splash out on an electric one, either.

Eleanor Chipperfield, volunteer at Newham NCT branch and mum to Frank and Joseph, advises: “An old-school concertina fan is essential to cool you down on public transport when you’re pregnant!”

Guzzle water, as well as food with a high water content like watermelon, which will help you avoid dehydration too. Other drinks, like chilled milk and fruit juices, are also refreshing. NCT volunteer, Rebecca Bunyard from Winchester & District branch and mum to Lawrence and Sebastian, says: “Freeze mini juice cartons to have an icy-cold drink when it’s hot.”

What to wear

Even if you’ve been managing with your normal wardrobe so far, now it’s hot you’re going to want loose fabrics, with lots of cotton and linen. Go for trousers that aren’t too fitted, maxi dresses or a comfy t-shirt with maternity shorts.

On really hot days, cover your head with a hat to cool you down and protect you from heatstroke. Opt for comfortable, easy to put on sandals – there are plenty of fashionable yet sturdy ones for tired, swollen feet.

Stay out of the sun

Click here for top tips on what to wear when it’s hotting up outside

Your skin is a lot more sensitive when you’re pregnant so watch out as it can burn more easily.

Either stay in the shade, cover up in loose clothing or hit the sun for short bursts with a higher factor SPF sun cream than normal.

Keep one step ahead

The pregnancy swelling causes by fluid retention (edema) is at its worst with the heat of summer.

Ease it by not standing up for long periods, exercising regularly (walking or yoga are great), wearing comfortable shoes and drinking loads of water.

Bathing sore feet in cool water and rubbing in essential oils can work wonders, too. Rebecca says: “I treated myself to a foot spa when I was pregnant as I had such swollen feet and ankles.”

You can also do foot exercises to help reduce the swelling. Try bending and stretching your feet up and down 30 times, then rotating each one in a circle eight times each way. And take every opportunity to put your feet up on a foot rest or stool.

If your inner thighs are rubbing together and causing you discomfort, rub some talc on there in the mornings.

Take it easy

Hot summer days are never a good time to be hurtling about, and never more so than when you’re pregnant. Listen to your body and if it’s telling you to stay in the cool and chill out, go for it.

Charlotte Hicks, mum to Alexander and Emilia, and member of NCT Coventry branch says: “When I was pregnant with Alexander and my daughter took a nap, I always had a lie down too! Even though I could have easily filled my time with chores, I knew I just needed to take the opportunity to have a rest before she woke up. I felt great afterwards.”

If someone wants to give you a seat at a barbecue, make you an icy lemonade, set up a parasol so you can stay cool or send you off to have a nap indoors, take their help. Any little wins really will make you feel better.

Wonderful water

Swimming is one of the best exercises you can do if you’re pregnant and will give you relief from carrying your bump, swelling, pressure and loosen the joints. It’s magic.

But another huge bonus is that jumping (or, er, maybe stepping carefully) into a pool or the sea, if you’re lucky enough to live near to a beach, will cool you down instantly.

What’s more, you don’t have to be actually in it to feel the benefits of H20 – drink it, spray it on and bathe in it too.

NCT volunteer Rose Scott says, volunteer at NCT Dorking branch and mum to Evie, says: “Always have water handy in hot weather. When you’re on the go, try water face sprays or cooling foot sprays for relief from the heat. And use a cool damp flannel or have a refreshing shower before bed to make you more comfortable.”

From keeping cool at night to surviving public transport in the heat, check out our tips on how to cope with hot weather during pregnancy here.

You might find attending one of NCT’s Early Days groups helpful. They give you the opportunity to explore different approaches to important parenting issues with a qualified group leader and other new parents in your area. Find a course near you.