Summer is well underway, which means so is warm weather. If you’re a new mom or about to welcome a baby, this time of year can get increasingly uncomfortable. From staying hydrated to choosing lightweight maternity apparel for hot weather, we have some ideas on how you can stay cool.
Pregnancy, especially throughout the third trimester, can get uncomfortable — carrying more weight than you’re used to puts new strain on your body. The extra weight means you’re expending more energy than normal for even the most trivial of tasks. Add to that the summer heat, and keeping cool and comfortable during pregnancy can be hard. Growing a baby inside of you adds to the energy your body needs to function, and all of these factors put together leads to you being more susceptible to overheating. But it’s as much of a health reason as it is a comfortability reason to try to stay cool in the summer.
For starters, remember to stay hydrated as a way to keep cool and to keep your baby’s growth on track. The American Heart Association reports that Braxton Hicks contractions can be caused by dehydration, as can an increased chance of fainting and dizziness.1 These, in turn, can cause further complications for both mom and baby. More than just affecting your body’s function, dehydration can have some serious effects on pregnancy, including “neural tube defects, low amniotic fluid, inadequate breast milk production, and even premature labor,” according to the American Pregnancy Association.2
To stay hydrated, of course make sure to drink enough water. In addition, make sure you’re taking in plenty of electrolytes, which are lost through sweating — which naturally happens more in the warmer weather but also when you’re pregnant, as your body is working harder to cool off since it’s working for two. Another way to stay hydrated is to eat foods with high water content, such as fruits and vegetables.
In addition to staying hydrated, there are other ways to stay cool in the heat. Try to stay out of the high heat and humidity where you can, and avoid going outside during the most intense heat of the day. Stay indoors during the peak hot times by doing errands or other outdoor activities in the morning or evening. If you do need to go outside when it’s hottest, choose loose-fitting, breathable clothing that’s ideal maternity apparel for hot weather, especially pieces that are light in color.
If you feel yourself heating up, make sure to take some action steps to cool down as soon as you can. A body temperature of higher than 102 degrees for over ten minutes can lead to heat stroke and heat exhaustion, according to UnityPoint Health.3 Allow yourself to take breaks to rest and give your body a break. If you do feel yourself overheating, take a cool shower or use a wet cloth to help you cool down.
Staying cool with a baby in tow
Once baby arrives and you’re nursing, several of the same recommendations remain. Overheating and dehydration are two factors that can lead to breastfeeding exhaustion — which can have side effects like feeling weak or dizzy and occurs as a result of your body using 25% of its energy on milk production — according to the Breast Care Center.4 So not only are these things important to keeping your body functioning properly, but they’re also important to making sure you’re healthy enough to breastfeed!
Staying hydrated is especially important, as now you’re not only losing water through sweating and the added blood volume in your body when pregnant, but now you’re losing more water through breastfeeding. A good reminder is to drink some water whenever your baby is eating.
While breastfeeding, try placing your baby in different positions to limit the heat exchanged through body contact.
If you’re leaving the house for an extended time with baby in tow, there are several things you can do to keep both of you cool while feeding in warm weather. If you get warm immediately upon stepping outside, your baby probably does, too. Try to stay indoors during the hottest times of the day. Staying in your house or your favorite indoor facility will help keep your body temperature down.
If you can, time feedings when you’ll be in a convenient location to feed, or time your outdoor activities around feedings. However, we all know that there will be times when your baby will get hungry in a less desirable location. If you’re going to be outdoors, bring a lightweight blanket with you. If you find baby needing to eat while you’re outside and you can’t escape to an air-conditioned respite, cover your baby with the light blanket to protect their sensitive skin to block out some of the sun’s harsh rays.
Prepare yourself for the heat with some maternity apparel for hot weather, as loose-fitting clothing is ideal for this time when breastfeeding. Comfortable, loose tanks will both keep you cool in the heat and are also compatible with nursing, as their stretchy material is convenient for feeding times. And when you’re at home, a nursing nightgown can be an option that’s comfortable, cool, and has easy access. Some products such as cooling therapy pillows can also help cool you down, with the option to toss them in the freezer between uses for a cooling relief in the heat.
If you notice feedings lasting shorter times during warmer weather, that’s nothing to be worried about. Feedings do tend to be shorter but more frequent during warmer weather. Take your baby’s lead on when they’re hungry and how long they’re comfortable eating.
If you do start to feel any signs of dizziness, nausea, or exhaustion from the heat, head indoors as soon as you can. Get some relief from an air-conditioned environment, drink some water, and give your body time to relax. With all you do for your baby, don’t forget to give your body the attention it deserves!
*Apothecary Products encourages you to speak with your doctor about the right recommendations for your specific situation if you feel you’re suffering from heat-related illness.
- American Heart Association. Summer heat brings special health risks for pregnant women. https://www.heart.org/en/news/2019/07/01/summer-heat-brings-special-health-risks-for-pregnant-women
- American Pregnancy Association. Dehydration During Pregnancy. https://americanpregnancy.org/womens-health/dehydration-pregnancy
- UnityPoint Health. 10 Things No One Expects During a Summer Pregnancy. https://www.unitypoint.org/news-and-articles/10-things-no-one-expects-during-a-summer-pregnancy
- Breast Care Center. 5 Tips for Breastfeeding In The Summer Months. https://www.toplinemd.com/breast-care-center-of-miami/blog/summer-breastfeeding-tips/