Summer and being pregnant … a combination I did not like at all! So, if you are there mama, I hear you!
Carrying a baby in summer, particularly in your last trimester, can be really uncomfortable, and you are probably counting down the days to due date or trying ways to induce labor so that it can all just be over. And it’s not the fact that it’s just hotter outside: pregnant women also have a higher temperature thanks to all the hormone changes and increased blood flow.
That said, it doesn’t have to be unbearable. There are lots of summer pregnancy tips that you can follow to make it much more comfortable, reduce the sweating and swelling, and still enjoy your last weeks and months of pregnancy, before life becomes really chaotic 🙂
Signs of Overheating
While all the tips below are aimed at helping you have a comfortable summer pregnancy, mainly by keeping you as cool as possible to avoid overheating, really make sure you take good care of yourself during summer. And watch out for symptoms of overheating, which could lead to serious complications!
According to the this article, signs of overheating to watch out for are:
- Warm skin
- Muscle cramps
Pregnant women who have a body temperature above 102.2 degrees Fahrenheit (39°C) are at greater risk for heat stroke, heat exhaustion and dehydration. The ladder can then cause Braxton Hicks (also called practice contraction), nausea, constipation, dizziness and fainting.
Summer Pregnancy Tips
So, how do you deal with pregnancy in summer? Without any further ado, here’s all the tips that will help you beat the heat and have an enjoyable summer.
1) Stay Hydrated
The very first rule to prevent dehydration is to stay hydrated! Which seems like a given, but there are so many people that don’t realize they are not taking in enough fluids until it is too late. You should actually drink water before you even become thirsty.
According to the Institute of Medicine, pregnant women need to have a fluid intake of at least 80 Ounces (2.4 Liters) of water per day, or even more if you are exercising. However, this is not only limited to plain water. It could also cover other sources of liquids, such as herbal teas or soups (probably not ideal in summer!), fresh fruits and water-rich foods (such as celery, cucumbers or zucchini).
So, keep the fluids up when it’s summer. And if you don’t like plain water, you can try infuse it with lemon, cucumber, or mint leaves. These ingredients will both give the water a refreshing taste and may help with morning sickness and swelling too.
Sports drinks with electrolytes are also good as they can help replace lost salt and retain fluid. Or, if you are experiencing vomiting, diarrhea or lots of sweating, try these DripDrop ORS (oral rehydration solution) which quickly replenishes electrolytes, speeds up re-hydration and increases fluid retention.
If you haven’t put together a Pregnancy Survival Kit yet, summer it’s definitely the right time to do it. And a water bottle to carry water around with you everywhere to keep hydrated should definitely be on the list.
Many expectant moms really like using a Tumbler. However, I personally used a stainless steel bottle. Both are insulated and will keep your cold water nice and chilled.
2) Keep Cool
Keeping your body temperature down will also make you less miserable and help with dehydration. There’s a few different things that you can try to cool down in summer when pregnant:
2.1) Invest in a Fan or AC
Hang around places with a fan or AC as much as possible and, if you can afford it, get one for home. I swear the only reason I enjoyed going to the office towards the end of my pregnancy was the fact that it had air-conditioning.
For out and about, a portable fan could be the perfect solution. You can buy one that easily re-charges with a USB, and you can also keep it on your desk for some extra cool air.
2.2) Wear Light-Colored and Breathable Clothes
No matter what clothes you choose to wear, make sure they are comfortable and light-colored, as light colors reflect heat (instead of absorbing it), which helps your body to keep cool. Also make sure that they are breathable: cotton and linen fabrics are both perfect materials for clothes during summer, also helping to prevent heat rashes.
Comfortable clothes in general (not just in summer) should be part of your Pregnancy Survival Kit, and leggings in particular can be incredibly helpful in reducing pelvic and lower back pain. They do so by keeping the weight off your pelvis and reducing the pressure on your muscles and ligaments around the bottom half of your body that is growing so much!
That said, in summer you might feel more like wearing super comfortable dresses. And I guess the beauty of being pregnant during summer is that you don’t have to wear too many layers (and try to fit in tight long jeans!), so focus on the positives!
2.3) Carry a Squirt Bottle with You
This is actually a great hack: carry a squirt bottle around with you so that you can spray yourself with water whenever you start feeling warm. I loved using this one at the beach in summer!
2.4) Get in the Water
Another one that’s probably given a bit for granted, but really try to get in or under the water as much as possible to cool yourself down. Either get in a pool or in the sea, or have more frequent showers at home.
Swimming is actually one of the best exercises to do while pregnant, and it’s safe for all trimesters. So, if you weren’t going to the pool before, it might be a good time to start now.
Water has so many added benefits for expecting moms:
- It helps the body relax.
- It creates a buoyancy effect on the body, relieving any pain caused by added weight, strain or pressure on your body due to the growing belly.
- It helps improve cardiovascular endurance as well as strengthen your muscles in your legs, arms and core. This will all come in handy during labor and postpartum!
2.5) Nest in the Morning
Who doesn’t love nesting during pregnancy? 🙂 I know you probably have this great urgency to organize everything around the house and clean every single corner in the rooms. But, if you really must do that, do it early in the morning when it’s not too hot yet.
The same goes for other physical activities, particularly if they involve being outside under the sun. Leave them for the morning and take advantage of the fan or AC at home to rest in the afternoon.
2.6) Get a Cool Wrap / Cooling Towel
Cooling towels (also called cool wraps) are amazing and will make your summer pregnancy much easier. You just soak them in water and they remain cool for hours! Buy one or two and use them to drape around your neck, either around the house or when you go outside.
3) Elevate your Legs
Another great summer pregnancy tip is to elevate your legs as much as possible. Heat and going through the third trimester is the perfect combination for foot and ankle swelling, but you can reduce the swelling by getting off your feet and elevating them, even in the office.
Simple foot and ankle exercises can also help. If you are able to lie down with your feet up against the wall, make circles with your feet for three to five minutes, three to five times a day. If you are sitting down instead, stretch out the calf muscles and wriggle your toes. Or check out more exercises from the video below.
If you experience swelling in your hands and face as well, contact your OB or midwife right away, as it could be a sign of preeclampsia.
4) Wear Comfortable Shoes
Summer and pregnancy were definitely not made for uncomfortable shoes. And by uncomfortable I mean even shoes with laces, where you have to bend down to tie them up.
Any slip on shoe that doesn’t have a back or require you to buckle, tie, lace, or strap will be great and should be added to your Pregnancy Survival Kit. But also make sure that the shoes are good quality and supportive by providing arch support and enough space for your feet to move and breathe. Flip-flops can be super easy and amazing during summer, but only use them for short walks!
For some ideas on what shoes to wear during pregnancy, check out this post from Healthline. If you want to buy a good pair of shoes to go for walks, which is an exercise perfect for all trimesters, then they recommend the Sketchers Go Walk (that come either with laces or slip-on).
5) Reduce Salt Intake
To help with swelling, another tip is to try and reduce salt intake, as salt increases water retention. But don’t eliminate salt completely from your diet, as iodine is essential for your baby’s health!
You should actually consider taking prenatal vitamins with iodine in it, such as Elevit prenatal vitamins. I took them all the way throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding.
While exercise can lead to overheating, so you should be careful during the hottest summer days, exercising during pregnancy still has many benefits, such as:
- Reduced risk of pregnancy complications
- Mood boost
- Lower blood pressure
- Less back and pelvic pain
- Less tired
- Improved sleep
- Less swollen ankles, legs and feet
- Making you feel better about your body and attractive no matter the belly
Just make sure that you exercise early in the morning, during the cooler times of the day, and avoid exercising to the point overheating. And as I mentioned above, exercise in the water (swimming or water aerobics) is particularly good in summer.
For more information on all the benefits of exercising during pregnancy and exercises safe for all trimesters, read this article.
7) Have a Massage
Best tip of all the summer pregnancy tips: have a massage! If any of your friends or family would like to gift something to you or participate to your Pregnancy Survival Kit, a gift voucher for a full body maternity massage is actually the best idea. My wife bought me a few and I am forever grateful for those massages towards the end of pregnancy!
A massage during pregnancy not only will help reducing any stress and anxiety and improve your sleep, but it will also help in reducing swelling. So it’s particularly appropriate during summer.
8) Epson Salt Baths
Taking epson salt baths can also help with swelling, as well as sore back and muscle pains. Just make sure not to overheat, so take them either early in the morning or later at night.
9) Wear Sunscreen
Pregnancy hormones cause your skin to be extra sensitive, including to sunburns and UV damage. So wearing high-factor (SPF 30 or more) sunscreen during pregnancy is more important than ever.
Applying sunscreen on your belly in particular will prevent your linea nigra from appearing or, if you already have it, it will stop it from becoming any darker.
Because anything you put on your skin is absorbed into your blood stream and can reach your baby, it’s best to use sunscreen with natural and mineral-based ingredients, instead of harsh chemicals, such as the Alba Botanica Hawaiian Sunscreen.
Resting during pregnancy is also more important than ever to survive the summer heat. Like I mentioned above, keep your physical activities for early in the morning when it’s not too hot, and rest in the afternoon when the temperatures are higher.
If you are having trouble getting comfortable, try a pregnancy pillow, another essential for your Pregnancy Survival Kit. These are specially designed to provide extra support in all the places most affected by your growing belly: your back, behind your back and in between your legs. A pregnancy pillow will keep your neck, back and hips aligned; it will reduce the pressure around your hips and will improve your circulations, as well as prevent you from rolling over onto your back in your sleep.
11) Ask for Help
Pregnancy is that time in your life when you should put pride aside for one moment and accept all the help you can get, particularly in the summer heat. If a stranger offers to help you carry the grocery to the car, or a friends offers to cook a meal for you, don’t turn the offer down!
Anything that will allow you to do less physical activity that will overheat you and rest a little bit more, take it.
12) Watch What You Eat
Another tip to survive pregnancy in the summer is to beware of certain foods that could make you sick. Typical barbecue foods, such as potato and coleslaw salads for example, when left out in the sun, can sour and cause stomach upset.
Picnics as well, usually perfect on a nice summer day, are usually full of harmful foods for pregnant women, such as rare or uncooked meat, or unpasteurized cheese.
Check out this article from The Bump for more foods to avoid when pregnant in summer.
13) Have Refreshing Snacks
And don’t forget to have plenty refreshing snacks throughout the day that can help you keep hydrated. Plus, having more frequent meals / snacks instead of big meals will definitely help with heartburn.
Here’s some ideas:
- Frozen grapes (unfrozen ones work well too)
- Sliced veggies (carrot, capsicum, etc.) with a dip such as hummus
14) Take Off the Rings
Because of the swelling during pregnancy, which gets worse in summer, make sure to take off your rings, at least until the heat wave is over. Apparently quite a few pregnant women had to get their rings cut off because they got stuck!
If you have a ring that you really don’t want to part from, try wearing it around your neck for a while.
15) Don’t Forget Hair Ties
The hair on my back when pregnant and in summer used to drive me crazy, so I was always with a ponytail.
There’s nothing worse than being hot and sweaty, including at the back of your neck, and you’ve realized you don’t have any hair tie with you. So always have one in your bag, on your wrists or lying around the house. I personally try to always have one on my wrist, just in case.
Also consider keeping you hair wet, unless you need to blow dry it to impress someone or go out for a fancy dinner 🙂 I don’t particulalry like to leave my hair wet, as my hair volume tends to quadruplicate. But during pregnancy it was such a relief to have wet hair on me – such a great way to help cool down.
16) Use Petroleum Jelly for Chafing
Applying petroleum jelly to chafed skin can help reduce further irritation. Plus, because it provides a slippery surface and isn’t quickly absorbed into the skin, it also help prevents chafing.
Apply some petroleum jelly to the areas where you are usually affected by it in the morning and you will be protected for the day, even if sweating a lot.
17) Wear a Hat
Wearing a hat to reduce sun exposure is also another great tip, particularly if you are planning to spend lots of time outside, maybe at the beach.
18) Have Fun
Don’t forget to have fun! Pregnancy is already miserable as it is, but there’s so many fun things that you can still do, particularly in summer, that will lift your spirit and keep your mind off the heat.
Head over to this article for some inspiration: 20+ Fun Things to do while Pregnant.
19) Enjoy the Sun
Finally, one of the best summer pregnancy tips is to still enjoy the sun. I dare any person to say that a nice sunny day doesn’t improve their mood and emotions.
So, follow all the tips above, make sure to take all the necessary precautions not to overheat, and avoid the hottest ours. But still get out, let the sun touch your skin and stock up on vitamin D, which is essential for a healthy development of the baby and useful for strengthening mom’s bones (source).
Summer Pregnancy Tips: Final Thoughts
Being Pregnant in Summer is not easy: the swelling, the sweating, so many things to watch out for. But there are some advantages about it, like the fact that you don’t need to wear three layers of clothes, you can be barefoot or in sandals most of the time, and you can enjoy so much summer fruit and smoothies 🙂
And I really hope all the tips above will help you reduce any discomfort and keep you safe from overheating and dehydration, so that you can make the most of a beautiful summer before baby arrives.
Have you also started packing your hospital bag with your birth plan, or gone through your postpartum care kit checklist? And have you enrolled in a birthing and breastfeeding class? There are so many things to consider when expecting, to get ready for birth and for when baby arrives.
Here’s some useful articles that will help with that:
- 20 of the Best Online Birthing Classes (to prepare for and overcome your fears of birth)
- 20+ Best Online Breastfeeding Courses of 2021 (FREE Classes too!)
- 12 Must-Have Clothes for After Delivery in Hospital
- The Ultimate Postpartum Care Kit Checklist (all the Essentials you need for Recovery after Birth)
- What to REALLY expect with your Postpartum Recovery
- Hospital Bag Checklist for Mom, Baby and Partner (with FREE Printable)
- Ultimate Newborn Baby Checklist (FREE Printable Included)
- Printable Natural Birth Plan Template (FREE Word + PDF)
Are you an expecting mom or a mom that’s gone through a pregnancy in summer and have more tips to share that are not in here? What worked for you? Please let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!
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