Chill Out: how to keep your cool this summer
When the heat is on, life can become very hard when you are pregnant. Instead of looking forward to those long, hot August days, you may find yourself dreaming of igloos and frozen ice-caps, so try out these tricks to help you keep your cool when the temperature rises.
• Wear loose fitting clothes that will let the air circulate - tight waistbands in particular will make you feel hot and bothered.
• Natural fabrics such as cotton are best, as they will allow your skin to breath.
• You may need to buy some larger shoes, particularly if your feet start to swell.
• Even if you are still suffering from morning sickness, it is vital that you drink 8 glasses of water a day as it is very easy for pregnant women to become dehydrated.
• Try to avoid coffee and fizzy drinks as they can act as diuretics.
• Think carefully about your food hygiene - it is very easy to get food poisoning in the summer.
• Use commercially frozen barbecue foods as the freezing process kills the toxoplasmosis parasite and always make sure food is cooked right through.
• Check that mayonnaise is made with pasteurised eggs and always wash fruit and vegetables.
• If you can, get your partner to take care of the big weekly shop.
• If not, why not try shopping over the internet or at a less busy time, maybe on a Friday evening?
• Pregnant women have up to a third extra blood in their system, which means they feel the heat more, so keep out of the sun as much as possible, especially between 11am and 3pm.
• Make sure you use a high factor sun screen - some women find their skin is extra sensitive when they are pregnant.
In the swim
• Swimming is an excellent way of exercising when you are pregnant and will help to cool you down.
• Don't forget to check with your doctor or midwife if you are worried about your fitness levels.
Take it easy
• Try not to get worked up about things - this will only make you feel hotter. If things do get on top of you, sit down and take a few deep breaths.
• If you can, put your feet up and have a rest during the hottest part of the day.
• As you near the end of your term, you may need to think about cutting down on the amount of walking and standing that you do. If in doubt, talk to your midwife or HR department.
• You may find it harder to relax if you are busy all day with older children, perhaps you could ask a friend to baby sit for a couple of hours to give you a rest.
• Invite friends round to your house, instead of going to the park. They will probably keep you supplied with cool drinks if you ask them nicely!
• Paddling pools are a great way to keep your feet cool - sit in the shade and dip your toes in, your toddler will love this!
• If you are still working, make sure your office is kept cool and your working conditions are suitable to your stage of pregnancy. If in doubt, call the Maternity Alliance on 020 7490 7639.
• If you use public transport, perhaps you could change your working hours to avoid the rush hour crush.
• Ask if you could work from home one day a week - that extra hour in bed can make all the difference.
• When you can, sit with your feet up and try not to cross your legs as this can reduce blood flow.
• Pamper your feet at the end of a long day. Soak them in a basin of cool water before using a foot scrub and finishing with a massage of you feet and legs - absolutely divine if you can get your partner to do it for you!
Arabella Greatorex is the owner of http://www.naturalnursery.co.uk, an online store selling organic and fairly traded products for families including organic clothing and nappies, fairly traded toys and natural toiletries.