Walking, swimming and keeping fit seem much easier when the sun is shining and the days are longer. New research found pregnant women who exercised moderately for 30 minutes, three times a week, improved their own heart health and blood pressure, and their babies’. Exercise will also improve your suppleness and strength – important for pregnancy and vital during labour.
BUT avoid overdoing it in hot weather and make sure you drink plenty of fluids. If you’re at risk of miscarriage or have other complications, you my be advised not to exercise at all.
A healthy balanced diet is essential for you and your unborn baby – and somehow there’s more of an incentive to eat healthily in the summer! The supermarkets are full of lots of seasonal fresh fruit, vegetables and salads – all good sources of important vitamins and minerals. Aim to eat at least five portions a day.
Increase your intake of essential fatty acids by eating more oily fish like cold poached salmon or grilled sardines. You can have up to two portions a week, but steer clear of swordfish, marlin and shark following concerns about mercury levels.
You won’t be so tempted to overeat – we tend to eat less in summer as our appetite decreases when it’s hot. You don’t need extra calories for the first six months and only around 200 calories extra a day for the third trimester.
Cut down on unnecessary snacking and if you’re worried about your weight talk to your midwife or GP
It’s especially important to drink more water in hot weather, or if you have morning sickness. You need to drink about eight glasses of water a day (approx 2 litres). To make it more interesting, add fruit juice or a low sugar cordial, or opt for herbal or iced teas.
Avoid fizzy drinks or colas, which can make you feel bloated
Rest and relaxation
Lots of rest during pregnancy is vital as it increases blood flow through the placenta, so more oxygen and nutrients reach your baby.
If you’re working, forget the lunchtime trip round the shops and go to the park to relax. Try a pregnancy yoga class – and take those relaxation exercises at your antenatal classes seriously
Enjoying a break, even a short one, is great for your wellbeing and if you’re pregnant over the holiday season the chances are you’ll be off on an annual summer trip.
Don’t overlook the benefits of taking regular long weekends to shorten your working week. A day off here and there can make a big difference
The best source of vitamin D is sunlight, to try and get outside for a period of time each day. Be sensible about sun protection – during pregnancy you may find that moles and freckles darken with sun exposure, so avoid midday sun, and wear sunblock and a hat to keep cool
Hot days make the prospect of long cool drinks especially appealing – freshly squeezed juices, iced teas and non-alcoholic cocktails are delicious alternatives to alcohol.
Current advice is that it’s best to stop drinking alcohol, especially in the first 12 weeks, but if you do drink, stick to one or two units, once or twice a week
The longer days and warmer weather all contribute to a general feeling of wellbeing, and babies are sensitive to their mother’s moods. Ease up on yourself and think what a boost your baby is getting from those feel-good hormones racing around your body