It’s a cool, cool summer
Living under African skies means it’s hot this time of year! Here’s how to keep cool, writes Tina Otte
BECAUSE OF THE physiological changes and all the extra work your body has to do during pregnancy, your thyroid gland becomes more active so that you perspire more readily to help your body regulate its temperature. In the third trimester, your extra weight and cumbersome body can make you feel even more hot and bothered.
THINK ABOUT FABRICS
Natural fibres such as cotton, silk and linen allow air to circulate, so they tend to be cooler than synthetic fabrics. Wear loose clothing that moves with you, creating its own cooling system. Wearing a light hat with a large brim will keep the sun off your face (and prevent your chloasma from getting worse). Wear sunglasses with a decent UV protection that ward off the glare. Nothing is worse than having hot, sweaty and sore feet! Comfortable shoes, preferably sandals, are vital in warm weather, as your feet are more likely to swell. You may even go up a shoe size. If you’re wearing closed shoes such as loafers or takkies, wear secret socks also made of a natural fibre. Remember, any sudden swelling that doesn’t go away must be reported to your caregiver.
Working in the heat can really sap your energy. Most offices today have the luxury of air conditioning, but if yours doesn’t, ask your employer to organise a standing electric fan. This will help improve your work performance, as being hot can make you feel very sleepy. If you don’t have air conditioning in your car, you may want to invest in a small batteryoperated travel fan. When buying a fan, ask to see it work, make sure it’s not too noisy, and check that it works on different speeds. Keep a bottle of rosewater spray in your office and spray it over your face and neck when the heat is getting to you. This is a wonderful way to cool down and the smell of rose is very relaxing.
COOLING DOWN AT HOME
Fans work wonderfully at home as well. You may wish to install a ceiling fan for those hot and muggy nights when you just can’t get to sleep. Listen to the weather forecast and try and plan to do the bulk of your errands early in the day before the temperatures really soar. Late afternoon may also be an option, but if that is your nap time, that takes preference! If you have a pool at home take full advantage of it. There are some wonderful exercises you can do while cooling off. Spending at least 30 minutes in the water will help decrease swelling and promote well-being. Gentle swimming will also improve your strength as well as energise you. If you don’t have a pool, try out your local municipal pool. Many of the large gyms have swimming facilities, so make use of your membership during your pregnancy. It’s easy to become dehydrated in hot weather and even more so when you’re pregnant. Drink plenty of water, even if it means you’ll need the loo more often. Keep coffee and tea to a minimum, and try herbal and flavoured teas instead. If you love ice cream, eat sorbet instead, as this is kinder to your weight gain. If you travel a lot, be sure to take plenty of ice water with you. A good idea is to freeze water in a plastic bottle, and take it with you. It will slowly melt and you’ll have cold water to drink for most of the day. A thermos flask is also an option.
If you’re going to be at the seaside, be aware of the fact that sunlight reflects off the water and the sand, so you need to make sure you have extra protection. Remember to bring something to provide shade. Relax and spend time with your feet up under a tree with a cool beverage and lots of ice. While it’s important to wear cool clothing, be sure to wear appropriate clothing that provides extra protection against the sun. Remember, your skin is more sensitive during pregnancy. Enjoy the coolness of the evening by applying insect repellent and sleeping with your windows open. YP