Prepping for a session in my newborn and maternity photography studio in Hull, East Yorkshire on the hottest day of the year, thinking I was actually going to melt if I left my air-conditioned studio, when my mobile rang. It was an enquiry for a newborn photography session from a very hot and bothered mama to be. We had just shot her maternity session a few days before in my blissfully cool studio and she was desperate to book her newborn in too. We ran through the details of my newborn sessions, got her booked in for around her due date and got to talking about how she was coping with being pregnant in the heat.
Being a mum of 4 myself I can completely empathise. Having 2 Summer babies and 2 late spring ones I have been pregnant, in labour, delivered babies and had newborns in some of the hottest weather on record. My youngest child never got to wear any of her beautiful clothes for the first 2 months of her life because it was too hot for anything but a nappy!
So how to stay cool when the world around you is baking?
Here are my top tips on how to chill!
Cool those feet!
My ankles were so swollen with my baby girl that my sons could write their name in my skin like playdough. Sitting with my feet in a cool foot spa was a blissful treat after a long day in the studio. If you don’t have a foot spa then a bowl will do or even just a towel soaked in cold water will help.
A fan of the breeze!
If you haven’t got a fan in your house then make getting one your top priority. The best fan we have was bought for my home birth with my last baby. It was sooooo hot in the days leading up to her birth and this was an impulse buy the day before she arrived. Thinking one with adjustable height would be an advantage I bought one with on a stand, unfortunately we didn’t think to put it up until I was in established labour and ready to push! My poor hubby didn’t dare leave me to get a screwdriver from the garage and fixed it with a knife from the kitchen. Still, it was fantastic to have the breeze when he had constructed it and the height makes it brilliant at night in the bedroom too.
Ice Ice Baby
Sucking an ice lolly is a fantastic way to cool down. With my first baby, I had a massive craving for pure orange ice lollies. I could get through 5 a day! We never worked out if it was the flavour or simply the cooling nature which I was craving but they certainly helped to cool me down when things got too hot. I’m not saying my dentist would have been happy so please moderate your ice lolly intake more than I did! A bottle of ice water placed in from of your fan can help cool a room down too.
A cool (not cold) shower can help regulate your temperature quickly and the great thing is you can shower as many times as you need to keep cool. Swimming can also help you stay cool and get some exercise at the same time. Swimming is great for supporting your body in the water, letting you exercise without the high impact of many activities.
When I was pregnant and too hot, I always used a cooling spray like Magicool spray. I have used several other brands but found this worked best for me. Spraying it on my neck and face really helped me to cool down quickly and it was a life saver in labour when no matter the weather you can feel like you are reaching boiling point. It's on my what to pack in your hospital bag blog too!
British weather does often mean that we never know when we will see the sun next and we may have spent the last few months praying for the rain to stop but being heavily pregnant it is not advisable to spend too long in the sun. Your body is already coping with much more than it normally has too. Over heating can be dangerous for your baby so just take it easy, don’t sit in the sun when it’s at it’s hottest, apply sun screen if you do have to be out and keep hydrated.
Being pregnant in the summer does have its down sides but it also has many plus points, for starters you get to have summer birthday parties. Bouncy Castle anyone? My eldest son and I both have summer birthdays, we have been lucky enough to spend our birthdays on holiday for years and have had celebrations all over the world! Summer babies are also less likely to suffer from many of the winter respiratory conditions that ail babies born in winter.