For most, the summer sun is a welcome break from our variable British weather but for mums-to-be, the heat wave brings new challenges and fresh risks.

With temperatures soaring to as high as 35C, pregnant women can expect to experience swelling, increased body temperatures and greater sensitivity to sunshine caused by higher oestrogen levels.

Here’s how you can keep cool this summer if you are expecting a baby, …

Keeping cool indoors

Keeping cool indoors can sometimes be harder than when you are out and about.

Keep curtains or blinds drawn from sunrise to sunset, and make use of an oscillating fan to regulate the temperature throughout the house. Turning off any unnecessary electrical devices can also help.

There are several tactics you can use to lower your body temperature – a flannel on your forehead or a foot soak could make all the difference.

When it comes to showering, opt for lukewarm water. Icy cold showers can cause the body to generate more heat once you have dried off.

Sleeping in summer

Sleep is already disrupted during pregnancy, and intense heat can compound the issue. Using a single sheet while you sleep can actually keep you cooler than no sheet at all.

The “Egyptian Method” involves dampening a sheet or towel in cool water and then using it as a blanket. You can also hang a damp towel by an open window to reduce the temperature of the room.

Staying shaded outdoors

It is best to avoid stepping outside when the sun is at its hottest – between 11AM and 3PM. Keep an eye on the hourly forecast online to know when the temperature begins to drop.

If you can’t avoid going outdoors during these times, remember sun cream. Pregnant women are also more susceptible to burns and skin damage, so make sure to use powerful SPF50+ sunscreen.

Eating to beat the heat

Inflammation and swelling are par for the course during pregnancy, and diets high in salt can make matters worse during a heat wave.

However, it is important to reduce – rather than remove – salt from your food. Iodide found in salt is crucial to your baby’s health, and you will also be losing salts through sweating.

To this end, make sure you replenish your electrolytes; bananas are a natural source of potassium but some vitamin drinks can also be beneficial.

What to wear

Opt for cotton and linen clothes. These fabrics are moisture wicking, which means they will keep you dryer and more comfortable despite the heat.

It is also important to wear a hat to keep the sun off your face and avoid the possibility of sunburn or sunstroke.

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