How to Survive Summer Heat During Pregnancy

With this week proving to be the real start to summer, you're probably experiencing the inevitable sleepless nights, swollen feet and painful sunburn. But let's make the most of it while we can, because lets face it, the weather can be just a tad unpredictable these days! Make the most of days spent with the kids in the paddling pool or rustling up dinner on the barbecue because winter will soon be coming... again!

Protect yourself

Many women find that their skin is more sensitive to sun during pregnancy, which is why it's important to take extra precautions - sunburn anytime isn't fun, sunburn in your third trimester is the stuff of nightmares. Not only will you reduce your chances of developing skin cancer later on, you'll also be reducing the appearance of chloasma - the little brown patches that can appear on the face. So, slather yourself in the 30-plus (even if you're in the shade), stay out of direct sunlight as much as possible and grab a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses for optimum protection.

Stay hydrated

Ok, so you might feel like you already spend half the day rushing to the restroom but make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids (aim to get your urine to be light yellow or almost colorless). Not only will this help keep swelling down (see below), it'll help prevent dehydration which can cause complications. Plain water is best, but you can liven it up with plenty of ice, lime slices and mint - with a little imagination, it's almost like a mojito.

Watch out for swelling

If the image of Kim Kardashian's poor ballooning feet crammed into 5-inch perspex mules circa 2013 isn't enough to make you reach for the flip-flops ASAP, we don't know what will. Anyone who has ever suffered through a day in painful shoes can sympathize, but being pregnant in summer is a whole different ballgame. Consider buying shoes in a size up, especially if they've got a pointed toe. Our advice would be stick to flats, but if you must wear a heel, opt for espadrilles with a wedge - they'll give you the lift without the discomfort and are the style du jour this season . And watch your salt intake; too much will cause water retention, leading to more swelling.

Natural is best

Avoid clingy, man-made fabrics which will only exacerbate the feeling that you're quite literally melting under the sun. Instead choose natural, loose-fitting fabrics like cotton and linen to help wick away sweat and keep you feeling cool and breezy. Carry the theme through to bedtime to help you get a little more shut-eye, even down to the bedding. Use a cotton sheet (take the duvet out on very hot nights) and make sure your pillow is down-filled rather than synthetic. We can't promise there won't be copious amounts of tossing and turning but at least you'll be a little more comfy.

Make friends with your freezer

The freezer needn't be just for frozen peas and unidentified leftovers. Grab a cotton dress, spritz it with water and pop it in the freezer for an hour. When you put it on, you will be awash with pure relief. Use this technique for your bed sheets too before you go to bed for a less sweaty night. If you're unlucky enough to have to take the tube to work (or as we like to call it, the hell-wagon), make the journey a little more bearable by leaving a wet flannel in the freezer overnight. In the morning, wrap it in fabric and put it down your back or across your forehead for an instantly cooling hit.

Seize the day

If you've got chores and errands to run (of course you do!), make a start on the never-ending list earlier in the day, before things hot up in the afternoon. Whether it's a gentle workout, returning a parcel at the post office or tackling the ironing basket, aim to get the sweat-inducing tasks out of the way before lunch. Better yet, ask for help - your friends and family will be happy to assist. Then make like our Mediterranean cousins and indulge in a mid-afternoon siesta to escape the sun.