This month midwife Sofie Jacobs explains how to keep cool with bumps and babes.
Q Summer’s here! I’m heavily pregnant and need some top tips for keeping my cool. I’m really hoping to avoid too much swelling and sweatiness. And after the baby is born, when is it safe for me to take to the water again? – hot mumma, Mid-levels
A Whether you’re pregnant of a new mamma, the heat can pose a real challenge. From swollen ankles, to constant sweating – summer and pregnancy don’t alway mix. But you don’t have to stay cooped up all summer just to survive. Here are a few tips on how to keep your cool with the temperatures are soaring.
Stay indoors during extreme heat and peak sun hours. Pregnant ladies are prone to hyper-pigmentation so you can end up with unsightly brown spots.
Avoid crowds – being crammed up against others will only add to the heat, plus your sense of smell is in overdrive. It’s best to avoid large gatherings and (literally) give yourself some breathing space.
Cankles become a real thing. To avoid sausage legs, wear comfortable shoes, avoid extended periods on your feet, get out and walk, cut back on salty foods and elevate your feet often.
Think water. Drink at least eight glasses a day. Don’t wait until you are thirsty, you may already be dehydrated by then. But avoid super cool drinks as they will only constrict your blood vessels and your body will actually heat up in response. Try exercising in water to lessen the impact on your joints and give your muscles a rest. Plus, it’s way cooler than the gym.
And if you’ve recently given birth, it’s normal for enthusiasm for beaches and road trips to give way to anxieties about heat, travel, sleep (or lack thereof). Here are some tips for enjoying summer with your plus one.
Hot or cold? Between blasting air conditioners and humid temperatures it’s hard to know whether your baby is too hot or too cold. Touch the back of your baby’s neck. If it’s hot or damp, try stripping off a layer of clothes. Fussiness, crying and heat rash are also signs they are uncomfortable. Keep an eye on any changes and check your baby’s temperature.
Sleep like a baby. As a rule in subtropical environments, keep the air conditioner set to around 22-25 degrees or keep a fan on to circulate the air, but don’t point it directly at your bub. Follow the rule “one more layer than you are comfortable in”. If you’re sleeping in the buff, a light tee-shirt of grow bag should do nicely for your baby.
Don’t go jumping into the pool until you’ve had your six-week postnatal check or you could risk picking up an infection. Most healthcare professionals don’t recommend pools, oceans or lakes until the baby is over two months old, as young babies get cold easily. But if you’re lucky enough to have access to a pool that’s heated to around 32 degrees C, in theory your baby can splash from birth.
Let the sun shine in – a little. The sun is not harmful for your baby, but precautions should be taken. Keep outdoor activities limited to off-peak sun hours and bring an umbrella or stay in the shade. Only use sun-cream on exposed areas and opt for cover-ups on the majority of the body. Make sure the sun-cream you use is non-irritating, non-sensitizing and offers photo-stability. It should be easy to spread, is opaque so you can actually see it on your baby’s skin and make sure it is SPF15 or above.
If you are breastfeeding, be sure to drink a lot of water. But it doesn’t mean that your breastfed baby will need water. If it’s overly warm, a top-up with some cool, but not cold, water is fine, but not essential. Your milk contains everything they need to stay hydrated.
Avoid heat rash. Everything from tight fitting clothes, wet nappies, chubby rolls and even the stroller can cause a rash in high heat. Keep an eye out for skin that looks red and bumpy. But don’t fret if it does, heat rash is easily treated. Simply remove the clothing, sponge down the skin with lukewarm water and leave the area exposed or dress baby in loose fitting, natural clothing. The rash should start to fade in around 12 hours, if not, or if it gets worse, contact your doctor.
This summer may well feel like the longest and hottest you’ve ever endured, so stay smart, stay out of the sun, stay hydrated and above all stay cool.
urban-hatch.com. While you’re here, why not check out Sofie’s previous tips on birth plans: expat-parent.com/2017/05/10/ask-an-expert-everything-you-need-to-know-about-birth-plans/