As a Canadian, the heat is one of the things I dream about from October to May, each and every year. When the cold sets in and the days get shorter and shorter, I long for the never-ending days of summer. How wonderful is it to leave the house without bundling up in four layers of clothing, or to pull out of the driveway without scraping, shoveling and brushing a path to freedom?
It’s finally summer here, with temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius and bright clear skies. Looking out the window makes me happy, and my mood lifts when I can throw on a pair of sandals and go. Yet, for two out of the last three summers, the heat has been my nemesis. Due in August with K, and September with M has meant that the longest, hottest days are also my most uncomfortable on the pregnancy front. I balloon up – my feet and ankles swell to the point where even flip flops are uncomfortable. Humidity makes it tough to breathe, and sweat accumulates in places that have no business getting sweaty in the first place.
So – how can a pregnant mama keep cool, happy, and actually enjoy the (brief) months of summer? Here are my top five tips for keeping yourself comfortable when the temperature soars.
1) Popsicles: I’m a die-hard fan of Chapman’s banana popsicles; are they just a Canadian thing? They’re magical, and I’ll probably go through a few boxes between now and the end of August. This recipe for hydrating pops looks delicious, and has the bonus of not being filled with added sugars and colouring. Another favourite of mine are herbal tea popsicles; I use tea like strawberry rhubarb David’s Tea, brew it fairly strong, then pour into popsicle molds. Again, no added sugar, no caffeine, and incredibly kid-friendly as well. Hellobee has featured plenty of other ‘pop’ recipes over the years; check out these mango pops, these tropical yogurt pops, or these great breakfast pops!
2) Swimming: The water is your friend, swollen pregnant lady. When you’re fully submerged, you’re nearly weightless, and that’s a feeling I’m sure you’ve forgotten at this point! I’m fortunate enough to have a pool in our yard, but even if you’re pool-less, there are still ways to enjoy the water. Sign up for an Aquafit class, use the local public pools, call up a friend with a pool and offer to bring snacks if you can float for a bit. If you’ve already got kids running around, make use of local splash pads, water parks, or a good old sprinkler in the yard. I’m guilty of floating my puffy feet in K’s water table while she splashes and plays…even a bucket of cold water on your back porch might help!
3) Air conditioning: find it, get it, embrace it. Again, if you’re lucky enough to have A/C in your house, then you’re set. Yes, it’s summer; but you can go outside in the cooler part of the day, and stay inside from 11-2, when the sun (and heat) is strongest. No A/C? No problem. Find a coffee shop with cool air, or take the kids to an indoor play place. They’ll have fun, and you can relax in the frigid air. For me, just going to work some days is wonderful relief; eight whole hours of freezing aid blasting on me.
4) Clothing: maternity clothing is getting so much better in recent years. You don’t have to confine yourself to heavy synthetic materials and items that don’t breathe. Embrace cotton, linen, and anything in light colours. I’ve been loving jersey skirts and cotton dresses; you look put together, but aren’t restricted by hot, heavy clothing. Old Navy has these great skirts, and these maxi dresses from H&M are comfortable and really affordable!
5) Swelling happens: The hotter it is, the puffier I get – and I’m sure most of you are the same. Surefire tips for alleviating the worst of my cankles involve amping up the water intake (yes, you’re retaining water, but I promise, staying hydrated helps), minimizing the salt that you eat, keeping your feet elevated when you can, and avoid sitting for long periods of time. Please note, while swelling is completely normal, any excessive or sudden swelling can be dangerous – give your doctor a call if you’re concerned (especially if your face starts to swell).
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These are just a few tips in my toolbox; really, there’s no way to completely avoid the heat when you’re pregnant in the summer. But hopefully you’ll find a way to stay comfortable; those little babies are worth the unsightly cankles and boob sweat!