Keep Your Cool in the Heatwave
FEET FIRST Getting your feet and hands cooler will help you cool down all over, so put your feet in a basin or bath of cold water, or you could even sit with your feet in a paddling pool at home or go to a local park that has one – great if you have kids already as this helps them keep cool too.
This will also help to relieve swollen ankles. If you’re at work or out and about, try putting your hands and wrists under cold water.
At night, try spraying your feet with cold water from a plant spray container, wrap a cold cloth around them or use a cooling gel. One home hack is to fill a hot water bottle with cold water and freeze all day. Wrap it in a pillow case and use it for hot restless feet all night. Alternatively, you could try sleeping in wet socks, which some people swear by.
Holding ice cubes against the pulse points in your wrists is another good tip. Consider a lukewarm shower or bath to give you some immediate relief from the heat. Don't have the water too cold though. A cold shower may sound appealing, but can actually make you hotter as your body generates heat to make up for the sudden chill. Don’t towel off too much, as the evaporating water from your skin can help you cool off more quickly.
YOUR BIGGEST FAN Fans are your friend. An electric fan in the bedroom may help you get a more restful night and you could ask for one at work if the office or workplace is not air conditioned. Having a fan with iced water or ice cubes in front will help blow cool air. Just remember that when you're pregnant, it can take longer than normal for your body to adjust to any temperature changes. Try to reduce the heat gradually if possible, and give yourself time to adapt when moving from one environment to another.
You can also lay cold water muslins on you to cool down and keep any bump oil in the fridge to rub in and cool yourself down. You could wrap a cool, wet bandana or scarf loosely around your neck. It will help cool the major arteries in your neck and make you feel more comfortable.
Pop a fold-up fan in your handbag for when you’re out and about – especially on hot buses and trains – or invest in a small battery fan.
KEEP HYDRATED We are all told to keep up our water intake during pregnancy but now, in the heat, it’s even more important. Drink plenty of cold, iced water, which will not only keep you hydrated but will cool you down too. If you fancy something more exciting try water with a squeeze of lemon juice or coconut water, but do avoid sugary or caffeinated drinks like cola.
Minimise your salt intake. This will help to combat water retention and make you feel more comfortable.
HEAD START Keeping your head cool can help you feel more comfortable. If you have long hair, wear it up off your face and neck so that cooling breezes can get to your skin more easily.
Cooling sprays on the forehead and back of the neck are also great instant coolers; again, you can use a plant spray container or you could splash out on a mineral water spray from a pharmacy. At home, store the bottle in the fridge for extra refreshment. You can even add a drop of moisturiser to help keep your skin hydrated.
MAKE LIKE A MERMAID Going swimming is a great way to get some gentle exercise and keep cool all at the same time. At this time of year, you could visit The Splash Park in Sworders Fields (central Stortford), Ware Priory lido, or go to the beach where you can enjoy the weather and take dips or paddle every now and then when you get too hot.
Stay out of direct sunlight wherever possible. Take some drinks and snacks with you. Remember to wear a good, high factor sun screen, with an SPF of at least 30, as your skin is likely to be more sensitive to the sun than usual. This is especially important when the sun's at its highest, which is between 11am and 3pm for UK summers.
If possible, try to plan your outdoor activities for the cooler part of the day. Save anything strenuous for the morning or evening when the sun is lower and temperatures are cooler. Don’t go into very cold water too suddenly – take it gently and get acclimatised.
DRESS COOL Keep covered up. Not only will this help protect against sunburn, but you'll feel cooler without direct sunlight on your skin. Wear long-sleeved tops in lightweight fabrics and loose, comfortable trousers or long dresses and skirts.
Choose clothes with natural fibres, such as cotton or linen. These will help you to stay cool by allowing good airflow, and will also help prevent rubbing and chafing. At night keep bedding to a minimum. A light sheet over you can actually help you feel cooler than no sheet at all.
Wear a hat with a wide brim that will protect your face and neck from the sun, as well as helping you to stay cool. Alternatively, a light headscarf will help keep the sun off.
Don't forget your feet. Strappy sandals may feel cool, but they leave the tops of your feet vulnerable to sunburn. Slap on some sun lotion to protect them from the rays.
MOST IMPORTANTLY... Pace yourself. Ask for help if you're too tired to cook, clean, or run errands. Put your feet up whenever you can. Growing a baby is hard work and you need plenty of rest during the day. If it doesn't absolutely need to be done now, or if someone else could handle it, don't do it!