By Ashley Gordon, FGHG acupuncturist
So your first 34 weeks of pregnancy has come and gone. For some this has been tumultuous and you’d rather not do it again, for others, it has been an enjoyable journey. But be prepared! In my experience working with many pregnant women, I can safely say that when trying to cope with the Summer heat, the coming 6 weeks of pregnancy may prove challenging, especially when embarking on the run to the finish line (not that you should be running!!).
Why is that I hear you asking?
During the latter stages of pregnancy, the human body has increased its blood volume by up to a whopping 50% (or just short of, according to this study). With more fluid comes considerably more heat! If you are 34 weeks and beyond you are carrying significantly more blood, metabolism is increased and so is blood flow to the skin, making you feel warmer and possibly sweat more too. Interestingly too, a pregnant woman’s basal body temperature is on average is 0.4 degrees higher than normal and while this doesn’t sound like much, most pregnant women will notice it!
From a Chinese Medical perspective, more blood means more Yang and Yang is the driving force behind growing a baby. So it has a wonderful purpose with its ability to speed up many important processes in the body but please hear me, while this is a great thing and undeniably important for your little one to grow, it may come at a cost to your comfort as the outside temperatures soar!
Some symptoms you might experience with excess heat include swelling, difficulty sleeping, skin tightness, excessive sweating and of course, just feeling really hot and bothered! So while there are many wonderful advantages to being pregnant and delivering your little one in the warmer months of the year (such as lovely days outside with copious fresh air), when the word “over-heated” is an understatement and the air-conditioner just isn’t helping… here are a few tips to make this time more tolerable…
- The oh-so-obvious – stay HYDRATED – Might sound like a “no-brainer”, but fresh water isn’t always as common as you think. Substituting other drinks for water, especially the ones which contain sugar, may in fact have a heating effect on your body – let’s go for a 2L of water minimum, but feel free to drink more.
- Plonk yourself in a pool – If you have kids, grab the kiddie pool, if you don’t have kids, BUY A KIDDIE POOL! On the deck, under a tree – set-up is easy, but make sure you have assistance getting out!
- Predict the warmth – again, might sounds like common-sense, but limit your outdoor activities to the early morning or early evening. Midday is for rest and relaxing (and the kiddie pool).
- A handy wet towel and ice pack – there are numerous places on our body where a cool towel will work wonders in decreasing body heat. A cold compress on your face and/or head will bring instantaneous relief, but if you have an ice pack handy, applying this to your pulse points at the wrists, neck, groin, elbows, ankles or behind your knees, will start cooling you from the inside out.
- A pre-bed or anytime cold shower (or dip) – no explanations needed here. Not only will this bring down your core body temperature fast, but cleanse you of your sweat so you can fall asleep nice and clean.
- Frozen treat fiesta – pack the freezer full of healthy home-made frozen treats. Try fruit-filled ice cubes or home-made fruity popsicles as a treat. Cooling down from the inside out is a much more efficient thermos-regulator.
- Spray bottle and a fan – cooling down is super efficient via sweating – why? EVAPOPRATION! DIY spray bottle and stand in front of a fan and watch your body temperature plummet.
- Scrap salty foods – salt retains water and chances are your already retaining fluid, so limit the salt intake and lose the excess fluid.
 Clin Haematol. 1985 Oct;14(3):601-12.
Ashley Gordon, FGHG Acupuncturist
An experienced Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist, Ash has a special interest in treating women from pre-conception, throughout pregnancy and beyond birth for post-natal care.
Ash has seen incredible results using acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for pregnant women experiencing common pregnancy symptoms such as nasuea, morning sickness, sleep issues, fatigue and heartburn as well as preparing the body for active and successful labour.