Hot weather and high body temperature during pregnancy
Feeling hot, hot, hot? Unfortunately, this is a common symptom of pregnancy. Your body temperature is naturally higher because of the heat generated by your baby (and their metabolism).
The warmer weather can therefore make you feel especially uncomfortable and can lead to dehydration, fatigue and even heatstroke.
Keep a bottle of water with you during the day and try and drink frequently. At night, keep some water nearby and, if you wake up, have a sip (even if it might mean a night-time trip to the toilet).
It also helps to carry a water spray/spritzer bottle in your bag, as this can provide a quick cool-off if you need it. You could also try putting your wrists under a running cold tap or pour on a little water from your bottle.
Stay out of the sun
Avoid staying out in the sun for long periods of time. If you are outside, use a sun hat or sunshade/umbrella and try and go out during the cooler parts of the day (generally before 11am and after 3pm).
If you feel faint or ill while out and about, find a cool and shady spot to sit or lie down in.
Clothing and bedding
Try and wear loose clothing during the day, as this allows air to circulate closer to your skin and hopefully cool you down. Lightweight, natural fabrics, such as linen or cotton, are better than synthetics because they can absorb and draw away more dampness from your skin.
At night keep bedding to a minimum. A light sheet over you can actually help you feel cooler than no sheet at all.
Keep your cool on public transport
If you’re on public transport, make sure you have your ‘Baby on board’ badge so people can clearly see you’re pregnant and (hopefully) offer you a seat. Being able to sit down can help you feel more comfortable. If you start to feel hot or unwell, get off the train/tube/bus at the next available stop.
Always carry water with you and some women find a little fan (electric or paper) can help with the heat. You could always just use a newspaper or magazine to fan yourself too.
Chill out...and put your feet up
If you can, try and avoid doing too much when it’s hot. Pregnancy can be tiring even when it's cool so rest when you can. Leave anything that isn’t essential or, better still, ask someone else to do it!
Ankles, feet and fingers can swell a little in pregnancy, as your body retains more water than usual. You will probably find you experience more swelling towards the end of the day. This is because any extra water tends to gather in the lowest parts of the body, especially if the weather is hot or if you've been standing a lot.
NHS Choices has some useful tips to help prevent swollen feet and ankles. These can also help to ease the discomfort if your feet and ankles are feeling swollen already. Try to:
- avoid standing for long periods.
- wear comfortable shoes – avoid tight straps or anything that might pinch if your feet swell.
- put your feet up as much as you can – try to rest for an hour a day with your feet higher than your heart; for example, propped up with cushions as you lie on the sofa.
- do some foot exercises - either sitting or standing - to improve blood circulation, reduce swelling in the ankles, and prevent cramp in the calf muscles.
But if you experience sudden swelling of ankles, face or wrists, and a severe headache, contact your GP or hospital straight away as these could be signs of pre-eclampsia.
Call your midwife if you continue to feel poorly in the heat or you are worried that you might be dehydrated or suffering from heatstroke.
Page last updated: July 2016
NCT's helpline offers practical and emotional support in all areas of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood: 0300 330 0700.
We also offer antenatal courses which are a great way to find out more about birth, labour and life with a new baby.
Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area for support and friendship by seeing what NCT activities are happening nearby.
The British Red Cross have useful information about coping in the heat.
Read more about heat exhaustion and heat stroke from NHS Choices.