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Rising temperatures can make a summer pregnancy unbearable. Here are some practical tips on how you can beat the heat during these sweltering days.

When I was expecting my daughter, I struggled with the heat. It was December, I was about eight-and-a-half months pregnant, and huge. I felt like a beach ball and much like a beach ball, I was at my happiest – and most comfortable – when I was bobbing about in a pool.

cool, cool water

Being immersed in cool water was the only way I could get through those heavy summer days with a mini watermelon-sized baby in my belly. My swollen ankles resembled hunks of corned beef and my feet expanded by at least one shoe size on a good day. Cool water offered my only chance of relief from the searing heat.

Read our article on dealing with other pregnancy woes.

experiences of other moms

Pregnant women tend to have a higher core body temperature, so it’s not surprising that when the mercury rises in summer, moms-to-be feel the heat more than everyone else. Kasia Miszewski-Cloete of Cape Town also battled with swollen ankles during her pregnancy. “I would put ice on my ankles to help with the swelling,” she says.

Cape Town mom Samantha Nadelman also went the ice route when she had to endure a heat wave in the final weeks of her pregnancy. She beat the heat by sitting with her feet in a bucket of ice.

Angelique Serrao of Gauteng lived in summer dresses and drank “huge” amounts of lemon juice mixed with soda water. Constrictive clothing will just make you feel more uncomfortable when it’s hot or humid. Opt for natural fabrics such as cotton, and looser outfits.

Cape Town-based Jeanne Alblas, who was highly pregnant with her first child through the peak of summer, says maternity dresses are only flattering if you don’t have the rest of your body covered in leggings or long-sleeve tops. She adds: “South-facing houses come in handy in the Cape when you (very unlady-like) sprawl yourself on the couch in front of the open doors of the living room, one leg slung over the backrest, to take full advantage of the southerly wind.” She adds that only kitesurfers and pregnant women would get excited about these winds during summer.

Read this article for tips on stylish maternity wear.

blowing in the breeze

Yolande Hendrick, also of Cape Town, made sure she was close to air conditioning to get through her summer pregnancy. For Samantha, the office’s air conditioning just wasn’t enough. She resorted to having an “industrial-strength” fan on her desk at work.

If you’re still working in your last trimester, and the heat is unbearable, stay inside as much as possible, use a fan or air conditioner to create a cooling breeze.

tips to beat the heat

  • Avoid doing heavy exercise during the warmest times of the day. If you want to walk or jog, do so early in the morning or late afternoon.’
  • Drink plenty of liquids, especially on hot days.
  • Avoid spicy food or heavy meals, eat cool snacks like fruit, salad and yoghurt. Choose fruit with a high-water content to keep your hydration levels up.
  • Cut down your salt intake as this can contribute to dehydration.
  • Keep your feet elevated if you are prone to swelling and avoid jewellery that could be a bit tight.
  • Take cool showers or baths.
  • Mist your skin with cool water in a spray bottle.
  • Rest – nap often, especially during the hottest part of the day.
  • Women are more heat-sensitive when pregnant, so avoid the sun where possible and apply a good SPF.

Anél Lewis