15 cool-down hacks for pregnancy

Cool-down hacks every pregnant woman needs to know during a heatwave

by Stephanie Spencer |
Updated on

Whether you’re experiencing a steady, radiating heat or more sudden and intense hot flushes that leave you a little dizzy, it’s all a normal part of pregnancy, but throw in heatwaves and summer days and you can be left feeling like you don't stop sweating, so why not try the cool-down hacks every pregnant woman needs to know during a heatwave?

‘Pregnant women generally feel hotter,’ says independent midwife Meg Miskin-Garside. ‘Not everyone suffers, but there’s nothing to worry about if you do feel like this: your increased body temperature isn’t damaging to your baby, it’s just uncomfortable for you.’

This temperature rise is partly due to more blood flowing around your body at a faster rate.

‘The blood volume in your body also expands and the effect of this extra blood, travelling at greater speed, will raise your core temperature by around 0.8°C.’

This small rise in temperature can soon leave you feeling uncomfortably sweaty, particularly when you add in the added stress of summer heat.

It’s a sign, however, that your body is busy nurturing your developing baby.

Just be careful that you don’t pass off a fever as a hot flush: ‘Your normal temperature in pregnancy is 37.8°C. If it’s much above that, keep well-hydrated, and see your doctor if there are no signs of it lowering.’

And put these hot flushes to good use as timely reminders to take things easy – if your body is telling you to sit in a shady spot with a good book and a handheld fan, it makes sense to listen!

The best cool-down hacks every pregnant woman needs to know during a heatwave:

Legs chafing? Can't sleep in the heat? No air con at home? Try out our DIY cool-down hacks every pregnant woman needs to know during a heatwave and you can thank us later...

1 Upgrade your sheets

As if you're not already struggling to sleep with a little one inside your belly, the heat makes it so much more uncomfortable at night. But, have you ever thought that your sheets could be making it worse? You should be sleeping on sheets made of 100% natural fibres, preferably cotton or linen, as these are materials that breath easily and will keep you cool. Silk/satin sheets may seem light and airy, but in fact they drape very close to the body, trapping in heat. Light colours are also important for sheets, so give your bed a make-over and the results may surprise you! Why not try a cooling pillowcase too?

2 A dark house is a cool house

Although it might not seem very cheery to put the blinds down in this glorious sunlight, it's the only real way to keep your house cool. The heat won't seep through the windows as easily and you'll really notice the difference. The same goes for lighting, turn off as many electrical lights around your house as you can, and try to relax in the cool, dark ambience. When the sun goes down, you can lift the blinds again and open the windows for a taste of summer breeze.

3 Frozen fruit

You might be stocking the freezer with ice cream at the moment, craving something quick and easy to cool you down in this heat wave. But a much healthier option is to simply put berries in the freezer and snack on them whenever you're feeling the heat! TIP: Buy some ice lolly moulds and fill them up with strawberries and blueberries, along with some water, and you've got yourself some home-made berry-lollies! They'll absolutely melt on your tongue, trust us.

4 Invest in a spray bottle

There are loads of cooling sprays available these days and you can even get handheld fans that spray water. Or you can DIY it - simply buy yourself a cheap plastic spray bottle, fill it with water and keep it in the fridge overnight. Fill it up as much as you want - this water spray technique will become your best friend.

5 Make your own air con!

What to do: Fill a tray with ice and place it directly in front of a fan. You'll see that as the ice evaporates, cooler air will be wafted around the room. DIY air con - sorted.

6 It's all about the pulse points

A great hack for keeping cool is to run or dab cold water on your body's pulse points. These are: wrists, insides of your elbows and behind your ears or your knees. It might not sound like much, but it's very relieving. Try running them under cool water for a minute or two or wrap up some ice in a tea towel and gently hold it over these areas.

7 Soak your feet

Put some ice and water in a salad bowl and dip your feet in, you could also use a washing up bowl, or paddling pool. The cooling feeling will soon spread to the rest of your body. Simple and genius.

8 No more chafing

For lots of women, summer equals one thing - chafing. When you're pregnant and your body seems to growing up and out at lighting speed, this can be a really sore problem to have deal with in the heat. But we've got the perfect solution! If you apply coconut oil to your legs/thighs in the morning, it will keep chafing at bay all day long. Another tip is to pat on some talc-free powder, which has the same effect. Let us know how you get on!

9 Snack on ice chips

Famously addictive for many women during pregnancy, sucking on ice chips is remarkably effective at keeping you cool when you're feeling uncomfortably hot. They're wet, cold, chewable and refreshing.

10 Wear loose clothing

It may seem obvious, but restrictive materials can trap in heat and leave you feeling sweaty and uncomfortable. If you're looking to cool down in a heatwave, make sure your wardrobe is full of lightweight materials and clothes that fit loosely around your body. You may feel the need to invest in some maternity summer clothes; just like bedding, natural fibres such as silk, bamboo or cotton are best.

11 Avoid hot or spicy foods

When you're trying to bring your body temperature down, it's best to stay away from spicy foods and hot drinks like tea or hot chocolate which can make you feel warmer. Opt for cooler dinners such as a fresh salad or some pasta (you could make these in a day in advance and store them in the fridge so you'll have leftovers that you won't need to prepare).

12 Keep hydrated

Along with the ice cubes and the fresh fruit and veggies, it's important to keep your fluids up, particularly when you're pregnant in the summer. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, more if it’s very hot or you’re sweating a lot.

13 Stay out of the sun

Again, an obvious one but try not to stay in the direct sunlight as this can cause you to become hotter and more irritated. If you're outside, always sit in shade and don't forget to apply suncream.

14 Don't exert yourself

When it comes to working out in the heat, make sure you keep it light. Walking is advised over running. Don't be afraid to ask for help or slow down when doing certain tasks such as the weekly food shop or dropping the kids to school.

15 Monitor your symptoms

Experts have found that heavily-pregnant women are more likely to give birth early during a heatwave (when temperatures reach 32C for three or more days).

Red flags to look out for are dizziness, weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, headache and nausea. If you experience any of these symptoms, rehydrate with water and juices, and if symptoms continue, consult your doctor.

Stephanie Anthony is the Deputy Digital Editor at Mother&Baby and auntie to four aged 7 to 2 months old. With a particular interest in health, she loves discovering products that make parent’s lives easier.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us
How we write our articles and reviews
Mother & Baby is dedicated to ensuring our information is always valuable and trustworthy, which is why we only use reputable resources such as the NHS, reviewed medical papers, or the advice of a credible doctor, GP, midwife, psychotherapist, gynaecologist or other medical professionals. Where possible, our articles are medically reviewed or contain expert advice. Our writers are all kept up to date on the latest safety advice for all the products we recommend and follow strict reporting guidelines to ensure our content comes from credible sources. Remember to always consult a medical professional if you have any worries. Our articles are not intended to replace professional advice from your GP or midwife.