6 Summer Tips for Staying Cool with A Bump
on Tuesday, 23 June 2015. Posted in Health & Nutrition
Beat the blazing heat & enjoy a cool pregnancy...
Dealing with Hong Kong’s merciless summer heat and relentless humidity levels every day is draining enough as it is - so just how do expectant Mums manage with all that extra weight to carry around? During pregnancy, our core body temperature is much higher than usual thanks to boosted hormonal activity and blood flow. So this, combined with the city’s scorching summer heat could end up as a recipe for dehydration, fatigue, uncomfortable swelling or heat-related illnesses like heat stroke, cramps and exhaustion.
In other words, for the safety and good health of both Mum-to-be and her tiny womb-dweller, beating the heat and staying cool is imperative. So, fill up your water bottle, find a shady spot, put your feet up and have a read through our top 6 tips for doing just that for the remainder of your pregnant summer days…
(i) Stay out of the intense sunshine
Try your best to avoid the hottest rays of the day, especially from around 10am to 1pm, when temperatures peak and UV ray intensity is at its highest. If you’re heading out, don’t forget to put on some sunscreen with at least 30 SPF, 20 minutes or so before you leave the house. Due to hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, your skin it more prone to burning and blotching, so if possible, try to spend the midday hours indoors, and go out in the morning, late afternoon or evening when temperatures have cooled down. Protecting your skin will also help you steer clear of “the pregnancy mask” or Chloasma, which are patches of dark skin discoloration on the face from high estrogen levels.
(ii) Go crazy on the (non-alco!) fluids
Nothing beats the importance of keeping yourself hydrated, and even more so in this blazing hot weather as we lose a good amount of water from sweating. Why? Because the consequences of dehydration when you’re carrying a baby include things like induced preterm labour and a decrease in amniotic fluid! The usual recommended water intake for adults is 8 to 10 glasses, but since you’re “drinking for two”, have 10 to 12 glasses. Plus, make sure you load up on enough sports drinks, milk and fruity juices too, which you need to top up electrolytes you’ve lost from sweating.
(iii) Dress smart
When you’re in the bump club, it’s all about the comfy, loose and non-constrictive clothing made from natural fibres like 100% cotton or linen that are breathable and prevent rubbing or chafing. Steer clear of fabrics like polyester, and blended or synthetic fibres, and ditch the dark colours for whites, lights and pastels, which reflect light instead of absorbing it. If you’ve got lovely, fair skin, you may want to protect your face and neck with a wide-brimmed hat as an extra precaution. And lastly for shoes, though it may be tempting to just slip into a pair of flip-flops, go for a pair sandals or sneakers that support your spine instead - remember, what you wear on your feet plays a big part in back pains and crooked posture.
(iv) Eat right
The sticky humidity and suffocating heat may zap your appetite, but to maintain a healthy pregnancy, it’s important you consume enough daily. Want to know several secrets about eating in a way that cools your core? First, swap the large plates and hot, heavy food with smaller ones and lighter, chilled dishes like salads, so your metabolism rate and body temperature don’t shoot up. Second, go for “cooling foods” like fruit, fresh salads, veggies grown above ground and foods with high water content like cucumber, lettuce and watermelon. Lastly, there's a lot of speculation about whether it's OK and safe to eat spicy foods while pregnant, but one thing’s for sure – it won’t help one bit in terms of keeping you chilled!
(v) Put your feet up & relieve swelling
- Keep your hair tied up & out of your face
- Invest in one of those battery-powered portable fans (they're surprisingly good & cheap as chips)
- Take a cool bath (don't run a cold bath as you'll end up being hot afterwards)
- Store your moisturisers and aloe vera gels in the fridge so they're extra refreshing
- Run your wrists under cold water to cool your pulse points
- Fill a set of popsicle molds with strawberries, kiwi slices,fruit, herbs and a fruit juice and pop it in the freezer for another sweltering day! We recommend a GeoBaby fave: strawberries, kiwi slickes and basil in coconut water or apple juice with a dash0 of lime juice - deelish!
When it comes to swelling in your legs, ankles and feet, Hong Kong’s notorious summer heat and humidity levels really do not help! Though mild swelling from excess fluid in your tissues is expected during pregnancy, hot temperatures maximises the discomfort. One way to reduce this is by cutting down your salt intake, as excess salt promotes water retention in your cells, but don’t completely eliminate it from your diet as your baby needs the iodide from salt. Alleviate swelling in your feet go down by elevating them as often as you can throughout the day to kick up your blood circulation. If you find your hands are also swelling, remove your rings before you have to get them cut off.
(vi) Trade in CrossFit for swimming
Unless you’re a hardcore fitness freak and your body is used to
torture arduous training and daily workouts, you should tone down the exercise, particularly during the first trimester. The benefits of swimming for soon-to-be-Mums are countless, and tackle so many issues that come with all the changes to the body throughout the 9 months. Aside from the obvious fact that the pool keeps you cool, it’s an aerobic sport that’s low impact, provides great cardiovascular support, boosts blood circulation, eases back pains, corrects posture, reduces pain caused by swelling…the list goes on and on. As the water makes you feel weightless, it allows you to really stretch out and release tension. So, take advantage of Hong Kong’s 48 pools all over the city and start going for a dip regularly.
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