Staying Cool in the Summer When Pregnant
While pregnancy can create a good amount of discomfort any time of year, this discomfort can be heightened throughout the toasty months of summer. Why is that?
During pregnancy, many women experience a spike in their body temperature because of factors such as an increase in the amount of blood pumping through them, extra fluid in their body that often leads to swelling, and a metabolism that’s working over time. While a slight spike in temperature is normal, it’s important to not overheat, which can be tricky in the summer. But, with the right cooling tips and tricks pregnant women cannot only stay safe, but comfortable as well.
Water should be your best friend during summer as it helps to regulate your body temperature. When you’re hydrated, your body is better able to release heat, primarily through sweat that cools the skin as it evaporates. Because it’s necessary to replace the water leaving your body, The American Pregnancy Association recommends pregnant women drink 8-12 glasses of water each day, and more if you’ll be engaging in strenuous activities – specifically, an additional 8 ounce glass for every hour of activity.
Because electrolytes are also lost through sweat, and are a crucial component of hydration, ensure you’re replacing your electrolytes by eating foods like pickles, olives, bananas, spinach, and sweet potatoes.
Find a local pool or body of water for exercise.
While exercising is an important part of maintaining your health during pregnancy, working out in high summer temperatures could put you at risk for overheating. To bypass this risk, find a safe body of water or local pool to swim in. Not only does swimming keep you cool but also offers a gentle whole-body workout while increasing circulation, providing relief from swelling, and minimizing stress.
Steer clear of warm food and drink.
Because the body produces more heat when it’s taking in warm food or drink, such as hot soup or tea, it’s best to opt for cooler alternatives, like gazpacho or iced decaffeinated tea, for example. Be creative with your food and select the cool alternatives to your favorite warming treats.
Make homemade popsicles or frozen fruit snacks.
Chill out, enjoy a sweet treat, and receive calcium, vitamins, minerals, and fiber by making your own popsicles. Grab some unsweetened yogurt and your favorite fruits, blend them together, fill your popsicle molds, and pop them in the freezer for about 5-hours. A few popular combinations include yogurt and blueberries, or yogurt with strawberries and pineapple.
If you don’t eat dairy, skip the yogurt and freeze some grapes or watermelon slices for a tasty, healthy, and refreshing treat. Opting for watermelon? Skip the hassle of popping out the seeds as they are high in protein and help to regulate blood pressure and the metabolism of carbohydrates. In addition, these tasty seeds provide monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and omega-6 fatty acids.
Use peppermint essential oil.
Enjoy the cooling, invigorating, and nausea-relieving effects of peppermint essential oil by putting 3-5 drops in an essential oil diffuser, or by mixing one drop of the essential oil with one drop of a carrier oil, like coconut or jojoba oil, then rubbing it on your chest and shoulders. Another option is to soak your feet in a tub filled with cool water, two drops of peppermint essential oil, and a ½ cup of Epsom salt. In addition, you can place 1-2 drops of the oil on a washcloth, soak it with cold water, wring it out, and place it across your forehead.
When the weather is exceedingly hot, don’t push yourself by engaging in too many outdoor activities. Instead, give yourself permission to relax in a cool room with the shades drawn, maybe even snoozing for a bit. Speaking of snoozing, a nap is another great trick for cooling off as your body temperature lowers during sleep, because you’re using less energy than when you’re up and about.
If you’re really feeling overwhelmed by the heat, draw a cool bath, light a candle, put on your favorite relaxing music or meditation recording and enjoy a sweet reprieve from the summer heat.
Utilize cooling and purifying houseplants.
Certain plants are pros at both cooling and purifying the air in a space. A few favorites are the aloe Vera plant, Areca palm tree, Ficus tree, fern, and snake plant. Head to your local nursery, purchase a few of your favorites, and place them in the rooms where you spend the most time.
Wear loose, light and breathable clothing.
Not only does loose clothing prevent tight material from digging into your skin (skin that may or may not be swollen), but speeds up the evaporation of sweat, which allows your skin to cool quicker. Light colored linen clothing is especially cooling as lighter colors absorb less heat, and linen is one of the most breathable fabrics.
Open windows at night, and close shades in the morning.
If you don’t have air conditioning, one of the best methods for keeping your home cool is opening windows in the evening, when the heat has subsided. You can even place fans in or near windows to pull the cool air in. Then, in the morning, close the windows and blinds to trap the cool air and ward off the heat of the sun.
Create a cooling sleep sanctuary.
Because sleep is one of the most important activities a pregnant woman can engage in, it’s important to set up a space that keeps you at an ideal temperature for slumber. What you’re sleeping in and on make a difference, so select loose pajamas in either cotton, silk, or linen, and dress your bed in bamboo or moisture-wicking sheets. From there, be sure you have some sort of moving air from a ceiling or floor fan, and consider blackout curtains so you’re not blasted with the sun’s hear first thing in the morning. If you’re really feeling toasty, wrap a freezer pack in a pillowcase and place it under your feet.