After enduring, I mean, experiencing, three summer pregnancies in a row, I’ve learned a few things about how to survive the heat of the summer when you’re pregnant. I have babies that were born in every month of the late summer, so let me just say: it’s not easy and I feel your pain.
My summer pregnancies tested me in ways that I never imagined and there were days when I actually cried when I woke up in the morning because I just didn’t think I could get through another sweaty, miserable day. But, of course, I did it, and so can you. So here are my best mama-to-mama survival tips for getting through a summer pregnancy.
1. Hit the Pool
I know, I know, dragging yourself in and out of the pool may not feel like the most appealing thing right now. But I promise you it will be worth it. Having access to a pool was the only way I was able to get through my summer pregnancies–the coolness was so refreshing and the water was able to help me take some of the pressure off of my body when my stomach grew to epic proportions. So get yourself one of Truly Mama’s maternity bathing suits and hop on in. (Maybe save the cannonballs for next summer though.)
2. Slather on the Sunscreen
Before you head to the pool, be sure to slather on a trustworthy sunscreen. Many people notice that their skin can become extra sensitive during pregnancy, thanks to all those new hormones, so you can be prone to getting sunburned more easily. Keeping well-coated reduces your exposure to harmful UV rays and allows you to still enjoy time outside.
Although, for the record, if you opt for more indoor time in front of the fan and Netflix, we totally get that too. But for anytime you’re outside and using SPF, it can be helpful to choose a brand that focuses on clean ingredients for maximum safety, especially during pregnancy.
3. Stay Covered
As we mentioned, pregnancy hormones can = sunburns, so staying covered is especially important outside. Even if you’re the type of person who never seems to burn, trust us when we say that pregnancy hormones can be a weird thing, so it’s a good idea to stay on the safe side and stay covered.
Because of that, a key necessity of any summer pregnancy outfit should include a stylish, wide-brimmed beach hat that will help keep high exposure areas—like your face, shoulders, and chest—covered. The right hat might also help reduce sun exposure on your face, which may be getting hit by some pregnancy-related pimples or “maskacne” in the hot weather months. You can find many affordable options on Amazon and bonus: wide-brimmed hats make excellent covers when you’re ready for a beachside nap.
4. Keep it Loose
When you’re choosing summer pregnancy clothes, think light and loose. Natural fibers such as cotton offer protection but are still porous enough to allow your skin to breathe. Unlike more synthetic materials, a loose-fitting cotton dress is unlikely to stick to you when you start to get sweaty.
Personally, I like to turn to wrap-around dresses at an affordable price—picking up a few budget-friendly dresses makes sense because you won’t wear these dresses close long enough to make too much of an investment. And having a few cute dresses that are easy to throw on will make dressing your ever-changing body just a bit more comfortable this summer.
5. Just Say No to Rompers
Rompers are certainly an adorable way to show off that growing bump, but they lack the practicality you want when heading to the bathroom for the umpteenth time during pregnancy. No matter how you try to avoid it, summer weather is going to make any mama-to-be sweat more than she thinks humanly possible—and add in frequent bathroom trips, and you will be regretting that romper choice in no time.
Our advice? Just say no to the rompers, however adorable they may be, and stick to a sundress. And if you’re dealing with chafing thighs rubbing together, don’t forget to add in some under-your-dress maternity shapewear to keep things intact. Even with the shapewear addition, free-flowing dresses will be more comfortable than a romper and provide you with quick access for your 84,947th bathroom emergency. Take it from a mom who has had her fair share of accidents during her pregnancy: always pick functionality over fashion!
6. Keep Your Cool
When you’re ready to hit the beach, consider picking up something to help you stay cool and comfortable in the sand. As a bonus, you can use the beach tent after your baby is born to provide them shade for fun in the sun, so it’s a tool that will prove useful for years to come.
Even with our tips, the truth is, sometimes you will need to get creative about staying comfortable in the warm-weather months. Maybe that means sticking your head in the freezer, sitting in a kiddie pool, or carrying around a hand-held fan, but whatever it is, know that you have full permission from the Truly Mama team to do what you need to do to get through your summer pregnancy.
7. Combat Swelling
Swelling in the hot, humid months is a serious problem for pregnant people, and having gone through three miserable summer pregnancies myself, allow me to assure you that I feel your swollen pain.
And while there may not be any true way to avoid all swelling during pregnancy, you can help reduce your swelling by:
- Staying hydrated
- Avoiding super salty foods and excess caffeine
- Elevating your legs and feet at the end of the day
- Wearing some kind of compression socks if you’re on your feet a lot
- Soaking your swollen tootsies in an Epsom salt bath
Pro tip: recruit any toddler-age or older children you may also have to “play spa” with Mama and have them rub some soothing peppermint lotion on your feet. That little trick was a lifesaver for me during my summer pregnancies. Ahhhhh….
8. Indulge in a Massage
Granted, a global pandemic may not be the best time to book a prenatal massage, but if you have a partner, ask them to make like a masseuse and try their hand at soothing your sore spots.
Pregnant people often carry a lot of tension in their hips–thanks to the ever-growing weight in the front pulling them forward, so ask a willing partner to gently massage your hips and top of the buttocks. If you suffer from any sciatic nerve pain, this area may be especially tender, so be careful not to overdo it.
If you don’t have a partner handy, one quick and free way to help ease out aches and pains in your back or hip area is to place a tennis ball between your back and the wall and roll out any sore spots. You can also do this on the floor if you’re comfortable enough to move down to the ground (and get back up!).
9. Keep it Breezy
Two words: box fans. I looked forward to nothing more than the end of the day, when I could prop my poor, pregnant body up on my pregnancy pillows (yes, I had more than one) and point not one, but two box fans on myself. Even with full A/C, I was constantly sweaty and box fans were a lifesaver.
10. Put Your Feet Up
I picked up a pair of anti-gravity chairs on a whim one winter when they were on clearance and I had some Kohl’s cash to burn (shoutout to my Kohl’s mamas!). And let me just tell you: those things have changed my entire life. You have not known true comfort–especially during pregnancy–until you have known the convenience of an anti-gravity chair. The best part of anti-gravity chairs is that they require no effort from you: you literally lean back, lock the chair into place, and enjoy feeling totally weightless. Ahhhhh….
So kick back and put your feet up, because you definitely deserve it.
11. Treat Your Feet
And speaking of feet, I gotta be honest with you: they’re most likely going to swell up to epic proportions. It’s pretty common for your feet to actually grow when you’re pregnant (a combination of gravity, extra pressure on your feet, and your bone shifting to accommodate more weight), so take it from me and give yourself permission to go full on comfort this summer. Your feet will probably shift in size quite a bit and may return to your pre-pregnancy size after your baby is born. However, not always: my feet are now a full size larger than they used to be!
No matter what size your feet end up during your pregnancy, you can treat them right with some comfy slides and my personal pregnancy favorite: nightly refreshing peppermint foot lotion preferably accompanied by a foot massage from your partner, of course.
12. Make “Nicecream”
According to Lamaze International, adding more potassium to your diet can also help reduce swelling, so try this potassium-rich “nicecream” made with bananas: peel and stash 1-2 bananas in your freezer. Once frozen, mix then in your food processor until the bananas turn creamy and resemble an ice-cream consistency. Even my husband raved how good this “nicecream” was. You can also add in your own mix-ins, like strawberries, peanut butter, or my personal favorite, dark chocolate chips.
13. Put A Ring On It
Pregnancy isn’t forever and I promise, the swelling will go down. But until it does, it can be helpful to give up the fight in your fingers and invest in a temporary, flexible ring that might be a little more forgiving than your traditional wedding or engagement ring. Take it from me, who had a moment of sheer terror in the delivery room when the nurses thought they were going to have to saw my wedding ring off (I may have carried a bit of fluid) and take your rings off earlier rather than later. Swap them with a cheap replacement or have fun testing out some alternatives. And maybe just see it as a chance to tan that white ring spot on your finger?
14. Give Yourself Permission to Rest More
Summer pregnancies are hard and I have to admit that it took me 5 whole pregnancies before I finally gave myself permission to say “no” to events and activities I just didn’t feel up for. Whether it’s the backyard BBQ or the pool day the big kids are begging for, sometimes, you have to do what’s best for you and just say “no.”
I promise you that the world will not end and people will not be mad at you if you take the time to do what you need to do keep you and your growing baby healthy. You’re expending a lot of energy just making it through each and every hot, sweaty day, so don’t let yourself feel guilty if you just need to stay home and rest a little more than normal. You’ll get your energy back soon enough. Well, sort of.
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Reviewed by Chaunie Brusie, RN, BSN…