How to handle being pregnant in summer

You’re already hot, bothered and tired with baby on board – so those sweltering summer days can feel unbearable. But here are a few good ways to beat the heat.

Fun fact: A woman’s body temperature rises during pregnancy.

And that can make things even more uncomfortable if you happen to be expecting during the warmer months.

But there are a few way to survive the heat – and a few precautions pregnant mums should take on hot days, too.

Keep those fluids up

Werribee Mercy Hospital clinical maternity services director Dr Jacqueline van Dam says staying hydrated is key.

“Fluids is something we’re stressing all the time and this really goes for all of us, even if we’re not pregnant,” Dr van Dam says.

A nutritious smoothie with plenty of ice and seasonal summer fruits is a good lunch substitute, Dr van Dam says.

Getting enough fluids can be harder in the early stages, especially with morning sickness.

“You’re trying to replace the fluids you’re vomiting out as well as trying to replace fluids from the heat,” Dr van Dam says.

Plan your day around comfort

Dr van Dam says women should take advantage of longer, lighter days.

Get things done at the ends of each day, when the temperature may be lower.

Being at work can end up being a blessing for many pregnant women, Dr van Dam says.

“Working can almost be the best thing during the summer as most workplaces are air conditioned, so going to work, you get to take advantage of that,” she says.

For those at home, Dr van Dam says there is no harm in finding a shopping centre or a local pool to visit to chill out.

Dress wisely

Fashion might call for tight fitting, bump-revealing garments, but Dr van Dam says it is better to dress for comfort.

“Try to wear lighter, looser clothing as it will be much cooler. Don’t feel guilty for hanging around the house in your pyjamas all day, if you can,” she says.

Keep moving

Dr van Dam says keeping up with exercise is important but scheduling and intensity should be considered.

“Don’t exclude movement all together. Just do very mild exercise when it’s sensible,” she says.

Ask for help

Trying to do it all will often backfire during pregnancy.

So Dr van Dam recommends asking for help if you feel beaten by the heat, particularly if you have other children at home.

The latter stages of pregnancy 

Dr van Dam says as pregnancy progresses, women shouldn’t blame all discomforts on the heat.

“If you have swollen feet or hands, keep in contact with your carers to make sure it’s not something more sinister, like high blood pressure,” she says. “Have awareness of symptoms that could be abnormal and need to be reported.”

Research also shows there is a slight risk of placental abruption during warmer weather. Dr van Dam says dehydration can also increase the risk of a bladder infection, which can trigger preterm labour.

Keep an eye on your baby’s movements 

Dr van Dam emphasises how important it is to track foetal movement.

“When women are dehydrated and exhausted, they tend to feel less movement. Then people tell them you’re tired, the baby is tired, but really if you’re worried about lack of movement, it needs reporting every time. Don’t be reassured until you’ve been checked,” she says.

Written by Sally Heppleston.