Being Pregnant Can Mean a Bit of Discomfort, and That’s Without the Summer Heat
Pregnancy is a life-changing, beautiful experience. You are witness to your body growing and keeping your baby safe. As romantic and wonderful as pregnancy is, it is also a trying, uncomfortable time for many moms. From nausea to back pain, there are so many side effects that come with growing a baby. Add summer heat into the equation, and it only intensifies pregnancy discomfort.
While most of it is unavoidable, there are some ways to stay comfortable during pregnancy, to reduce the side effects and enjoy the summer weather a little more. In this post, we’ll take a look at these common areas of discomfort and offer some simple tips to beat the heat.
Staying Cool and Comfortable in the Summer Heat while Pregnant
Hormones do a lot of different things, but one of them is changing your body temperature. While everyone might be feeling the heat this summer, you might be feeling it a bit more intensely. But, you don’t have to languish through these last hot weeks. There are a few different things you can do to help feel more comfortable.
Eat Cool Foods and Snacks
Yummy summer snacks like salads and fresh fruits are not only a great source of nutrition, they can help you beat the summer heat too! Slice up some watermelon or strawberries and chill them in the fridge for a healthy refreshing snack. These treats are also high in water so they’ll help you stay hydrated without having to drink yet another glass of water.
Try your favorite Nonalcoholic Beverages on the Rocks
Your favorite herbal teas can be enjoyed ice cold! Simply brew your tea as you normally would. If you like honey or sweetener, add it while your tea is hot. Then simply allow your tea to cool, either on the counter or in the refrigerator. If you’d like, you can add ice cubes for an additional boost of chill. Crush up some fresh mint for an added bonus!
Dress for the Heat
In the summer, less is more when it comes to clothing but that can present a few challenges when you are pregnant. Opt for clothing that is breathable, light-weight and supportive. Your favorite bra and a great pair of maternity shorts is a great option for napping or lounging around the house. When you do have to go out, choose breathable, flowy clothing that won’t elevate your body temperature, but allow your skin to breath.
Whether you’re doing light housework, or getting ready for your baby to arrive, too much activity is an easy way to overheat and overexert yourself. Be sure to take breaks throughout the day. Sit down in a cool space. Put your feet up. And grab a nice cold drink.
Typical Pregnancy Symptoms and How to Stay Comfortable in the Heat of Summer
Hormonal changes are responsible for the dreaded morning sickness. Unlike the name suggests, morning sickness can happen throughout the day, in one or all trimesters, and is often relentless. Morning sickness occurs for nearly half of pregnant women and varies in degrees of severity. Here are some tips on how to reduce nausea:
Always try to keep some dry snacks on hand such as dry cereal, bread or crackers. It is a good idea to keep these next to your bed and to try to have a small amount before getting out of bed in the morning. Eat small meals throughout the day. Try to get in 5 or 6 small meals, and avoid overeating or going long periods without having anything to eat.
Brew some ginger tea at home. Ginger works wonders with easing nausea and is safe to consume during pregnancy. As we mentioned before, this can be enjoyed cool as well as hot. Sipping a bit of Ginger Ale can help too. Ginger biscuits also do well to ease the effects of nausea, and also fill you up with something before getting out of bed. They taste delicious as well!
Eating ice chips or sucking on ice cubes can also help. If you don’t like plain ice, try making your own out of low sodium broth, or your favorite beverage.
Many moms find themselves tired throughout their pregnancy because it takes a lot of energy to grow a baby. The heat can sap energy from your body in a nanosecond. You need to make sure you get enough rest to counter this. Take note of how you are feeling, and take a nap or sit down with your feet up if you are feeling tired. Avoid working late, taking on extra responsibilities, and go to bed early, if possible.
You might need to adjust your sleeping position as your body grows more pregnant. While sleeping on your back or belly might no longer be an option, you can find some pillows designed to help pregnant women get comfortable. Leachco, Pharmedoc, and Boppy all are popular brands with different options to help find the right fit for your growing body.
Light sheets are a great way to help keep your body cool throughout the night. You can also find mattress toppers that help to keep you cool and comfortable. You can find many of these on Amazon, like Design Wave’s easy to use option, or a memory foam topper like that from SleepBetter. Or if NASA is more your style, you can get the Slumber Cloud mattress topper that uses the design of astronauts’ space suits for a cooler and more comfortable sleep.
Swollen Feet and Ankles
Swelling usually happens in the third trimester, and can usually be triggered by walking or standing for long periods. It is caused by nearly 50% more blood and bodily fluids in the body, which is a normal part of pregnancy. Most mamas experience swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, hands, and face. One way to manage swelling during pregnancy is to minimize the time you spend outdoors in the heat of the day. Staying cool inside the house between 10 AM - 3 PM is a great time to put up your feet, rest, and avoid the summer heat.
Try to avoid standing or walking for long periods. Rest with your legs up and elevated, avoid wearing high heels, and opt for comfortable shoes instead. Wear supportive stockings or tights. We have good news: compression socks got so much more stylish! You can check out Comrad Socks, Crazy Compression, and RejuvaHealth. If you want socks specifically designed for pregnancy check out Hatch! And if you like the idea of paying it forward, Bombas donates a pair for every pair sold.
You can also take a swim in a pool, use a cold compress on swollen areas, and drink water to help flush the body, to reduce water retention. Another good piece of advice is to minimize the amount of sodium you eat.
Back pain during pregnancy is very common, as the body’s center of gravity changes and more weight is put on. Pregnancy hormones relax the ligaments and joints found in the pelvis, which leads to more pain, but there are ways to feel more comfortable:
Be sure to get enough rest and take the pressure off of your back when you can. However, you can’t sit throughout your entire pregnancy. Practice good posture by standing up straight, keeping shoulders back and not locking your knees. If you need to lift small objects, do so by squatting down and lifting with your legs.
Wear low-heeled shoes which have good arch support. Avoid taking any NSAIDS (nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs) and consult your doctor if you feel the need to use pain medicine. Use a heating pad or ice pack to reduce the pain and tension in your back. Sleep on your side at night, keeping one or both knees bent and use a pregnancy or support pillow between your knees, behind your back or under your abdomen.
To help ease the load of the weight a bit, you can add a maternity support belt. These belts are available online like Amazon and Motherhood Maternity, and in most major retailers like Target, and Buy Buy Baby. Some belly bands are designed to be used after delivery as well to promote healing during your postpartum period.
Round Ligament Pain
Many moms will experience something called round ligament pain. This is caused by the baby growing and expanding in your womb and stretching ligaments known professionally as your “round ligaments.” Moms who have round ligament pain will notice a dull to sharp pain across the bottom or lower part of their belly.
Physical activity can increase round ligament pain. If you think you are experiencing this pain, speak with your doctor to be sure and he or she can help you make adjustments that can help alleviate this pain.
While it’s super hot out, a belly band (aka another layer of clothing) might not seem like a thrilling prospect, but they can really help to alleviate tension or pressure on these ligaments. Additionally, warm (not too hot) showers can also help to provide a bit of relief. If it's too hot during the day, try taking one in the evening or using a heating pad on a low or warm setting, as this relief and relaxation can help you fall asleep.
While it might feel like you already have to pee again by the time you leave the bathroom, hearing repetitive reminders to hydrate might make you want to scream. Increased hydration due to the summer heat exponentially increases this unfortunate side effect of pregnancy. However, there are a few things that you can do.
If you haven’t given up coffee yet, you may want to: Caffeine makes you urinate more frequently. Giving up or limiting caffeine consumption can help decrease trips to the bathroom.
Another tip to try is leaning forward when you pee. With everything moving around and the baby applying pressure on your bladder, it can be more difficult to fully empty your bladder. This can sometimes be the reason you feel the frequent urge to urinate when you’re pregnant.
The right underwear can make all of the difference. Sometimes leaks happen, and in this summer heat feeling damp down there is one of the last things you need or want. In this case, try period underwear. Knix, THNX, and Dear Kate are popular brands. You can also try Bambody, Aisle, and Proof. These garments are designed to capture and wick moisture away from your skin. If leaks aren’t a concern, pregnancy underwear is designed to give your belly room to expand. Regular underwear may put pressure on your bladder making you feel the need to urinate more often. Browse some of these options from A Pea in the Pod, Pink Blush Maternity, and Kindred Bravely.
We’ve been there and we know it’s not easy. Standard pregnancy symptoms are amplified in the summer heat. Hopefully these pro tips from our small team of mamas at BeauGen help you stay cool and comfortable this summer!