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How to keep cool when pregnant: top tips for beating the heat this summer

Pregnant and melting in the heat? From outdoor events to stuffy offices and packed public transport, rising temperatures can be a nightmare for anyone – let alone someone carrying a baby. Keep your cool throughout pregnancy with Mumsnetters' been there, done that tips.

By Natasha Gregson | Last updated Jun 29, 2023

Pregnant woman in swimming pool

We know that pregnancy can be an amazing journey, but let's face it - it's not always a walk in the park. One of the biggest challenges that many expectant mothers face is staying cool when things start to get hotter. Some women feel warmer than usual in pregnancy anyway, but add to that stifling temperatures and a lack of breeze, and it can make for a rather uncomfortable summer. So, whether you're dealing with hot flashes, swollen feet, or just a general feeling of discomfort, it's important to take steps to beat the heat and stay comfortable.

While gadgets like the best air conditioner are ideal for cooling down at home, not everyone can afford to invest hundreds of pounds in an AC unit. Fear not though, as we've dived into the Mumsnet hive mind to bring you handy tips and tricks that actually work for tackling soaring temperatures this summer. From totally free solutions to the products Mumsnet users swear by, we've got you and your bump covered.

Plus, for more ways to keep your cool when the temperatures creep up, we've also rounded up the best cooling boxes for days out and trips away, and the most powerful tower fans for a comforting breeze at home.

Getting a good night's sleep in hot weather

Unmade bed in Summer

When it comes to getting a good night's sleep in summer, whether you're in the first, second or third trimester, keeping cool is key. We all know how frustrating it can be to toss and turn and lose precious hours of sleep when you're hot and bothered in a heatwave, let alone when you're pregnant.

One simple trick is to use a damp towel or flannel to cool yourself down before bed. Just wet the towel with cool water, wring it out, and place it on your forehead, neck, or chest. The moisture will help to cool your skin, and the towel will stay cool for a while, providing relief from the heat. You could even try freezing the towel for an extra refreshing touch.

Another hack to try if your budget allows, the best cooling pillow (you can either buy moisture-wicking or gel ones) can to help regulate your temperature overnight. Some can be quite pricey, but you can pick up more affordable options for around £25. If you're watching the pennies but still want some cooling relief, Chillmax also offer gel inserts for your pillow for around £12.

What Mumsnet users say

“Spray your sheets with water and put them in the freezer. Lovely.”

“A great trick for warm nights is to use a hot water bottle, but fill it with cold water (or pop it in the freezer for a while). Keeps you nice and cold and saves on electricity for fans.”

“The best way to keep cool in bed is to get a large bath towel, soak it in cold water, wring it out and then use it to cover you when you go to bed – bliss.”

“Put on a pair of wet socks, if you don't mind damp sheets. I've also found a wet pillowcase to be quite effective.”

“I've been putting a baby bath filled with cold water and ice cubes next to the bed. Every time I feel a hot flush coming on, I simply swing my legs out of bed and plonk my feet in the water for five minutes.”

Keeping cool when you're out and about

Woman sweating outside

Whether you're out and about shopping, tackling that newborn shopping list, or simply just need a stroll for some fresh air, facing the great outdoors can be tough if you're struggling with the heat - especially if you don't have access to air conditioning.

Before you head out, make sure you're wearing loose, light-coloured clothing made from breathable materials like cotton or linen. This will help keep you cool and feel more breezy; tight clothes, however, will soon have you feeling sweaty and restless.

Many people also swear by using a handheld fan or spray bottle filled with cool water - just a quick spritz or blast of air can make a huge difference when you're feeling overheated.

And of course, staying hydrated is absolutely crucial - make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day, and consider popping the best reusable water bottle in your bag so you can grab a drink when you need it.

What Mumsnet users say

“If you have to go out anywhere, take a packet of wet wipes with you and keep wiping your face and the back of your neck.”

“Try Magicool – it is brilliant and helped cool me down.”

“If you have trouble with a sweaty scalp and drippy make-up like I do, try Odaban. You spray or dab a bit on your scalp and hairline when you've dried your hair and it stops your head sweating.”

Read next: Relax in the shade this summer with our pick of the best hammocks

Coping with work and commuting when you're pregnant

Office desk with computer and fan

Working and commuting during pregnancy can be a real challenge, especially during those hot summer months. Being packed into a crammed, bustling train or tube on your commute is pretty unwelcome at the best of times, let alone when temperatures are soaring and you're pregnant.

First things first, dress for comfort. Opt for loose, breathable clothing made from lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen. Consider wearing layers, too, so you can adjust your clothing according to temperature fluctuations - while it may be hot, hot, hot on your commute, the office air con can be a little on the chilly side.

No access to air con? A small desk fan can provide a welcome blast of cooling air - they're also ideal for working from home. Mumsnet users are big <ahem> fans of misting versions (where you're sprayed with a light spritz of water as the fan cools you), with many saying they're a must-have for labour. So, a compact fan might be a worthwhile investment that will get use past the occasional heatwave. This HandFan Misting Fan comes with rave reviews, and we love that it can be used as both a handheld and desk fan.

Finally, don't forget to keep hydrated too! Keep a water bottle handy so you can sip on it all day. If you're not a fan of plain water, jazz it up with slices of refreshing fruits like lemon, cucumber, or mint leaves. For extra cold flavoured water, add ice cubes infused with fruit - our guide to the best ice cube trays has plenty of options ideal for long-lasting chilling power.

What Mumsnet users say

“If you work at a computer all day, get a cheap USB-powered desk fan.”

“[Put] water bottles and wet flannels in a freezer bag in the freezer overnight if doing a tube journey the next day.”

“If you have to sit anywhere hot for a long time – like commuting on an un-air conditioned hell train – an ice pack helps a lot! I wrapped one in thin fabric and put it down my back.”

“Fizzy drinks do not quench your thirst – plain water is best.”

“Stuff like watermelon and cucumbers are lovely and cooling, as well as being full of water.”

“Make some Ribena ice cubes.”

Watch our video for handy tips for staying cool when pregnant

Staying comfortable throughout pregnancy at home

Retro fan in Summer

Whether you're working from home, pottering around doing jobs, or it's a lazy Sunday and you just want to put your feet up (and rightfully so!), hot weather can play havoc on your comfort levels. Luckily, there are a few handy cooling tricks you try in the middle of a heatwave.

NHS guidance for a heatwave is to keep windows closed during the day to keep the warm air out. Closing curtains and blinds to keep the sunlight out can keep your home from turning into a sauna too. Then, when the air starts to cool at night, whack open those windows and let the fresh breeze in.

If you don't have access to an air conditioner at home, you may find a fan useful - tower and pedestal fans are the best models for providing breeze in a large space. However, it's advised that you don't use an electric fan if temps reach 35 degrees or higher; as they move air around the room rather than actively cooling the area, this can actually make you feel hotter by blowing warm air at you.

And remember, comfort is key, so make the most of being able to wear whatever you want around the house - many Mumsnetters swear by donning a bikini or loose, baggy clothing while at home. Whatever makes life that little bit easier.

What Mumsnet users say

“My friend lived in a bikini and sarong at home when pregnant. Fab idea in my opinion!”

“You just have to buy large, airy, cotton clothes and try and look bohemian and have a good time.”

“I spent any time I had at home wafting around in this huge nightgown that was more like a circus tent. It was great as it created its own breeze.”

“Keep curtains and blinds shut during the day.”

“If you have a loft hatch, open it and warm air will go up.”

“Lie down when possible and do as little as possible”

“Walk in a relaxed, leisurely manner.”

“Have your shopping home delivered.”

Quick cooling fixes for hot weather

Pregnant woman sleeping on a sofa

You know to stay hydrated, to wear loose, light clothing, and how to keep cool whether on the go, at work or at home. But sometimes, particularly during a heatwave, you just need a quick fix to provide cooling relief instantly. Luckily, Mumsnet users are a fountain of knowledge when it comes to tackling those hot, sweaty moments when pregnant. Here are the tips they've shared...

What Mumsnet users say

“Those kool strips for migraines are good for cooling your head down.”

“Run your wrists under cold water for an instant cool.”

"Put your feet in a cold water bath."

“Try putting an ice pack in the crook between your chin and neck, just under your ear. It's where the blood is closest to the surface of your skin and should cool you quicker.”

"Something that really helps me is a holding a cold wet flannel on the back of my neck, then collarbone and inner wrists - or ideally something from the freezer wrapped up. It really helps cool me down quickly."

“Put socks in cold water, then in the freezer for half an hour, then put them on (or get someone else to if you can't reach).”

“Keep a foot spray in the fridge.”

“Take a cool shower and let the water evaporate off you.”

“Keep your hair wet if you can – I found this really helped to keep me cool and as much as possible, keep it off your shoulders.”

Read next: The best kids' water bottle, as recommended by parents