With temperatures said to break records, we’re set for an uncomfortable few days – especially if you’re pregnant. Dietitian Laura Tilt reveals how to stay hydrated and why it’s key to managing a heatwave
Uncomfortable heatwave pending…
An official heatwave is set to hit the UK from Thursday (6th August) with temperatures expected to reach 38C by the end of the week.
That means we will be seeing temperatures hotter than popular Caribbean holiday hot spots such as Bahamas, Jamaica and Barbados.
A result of hot air moving in from southern Europe, stifling temperatures are expected to continue until Sunday with London and the south east possibly seeing the hottest day of the year so far.
Forecasters have issued a Level 2 health warning for the record-breaking temperatures.
An official heatwave is set to hit the UK from Thursday
Heatwaves can have serious health implications for some. If you are elderly, sick or pregnant be sure to keep an eye on the latest guidance from the Met Office and the NHS if you are thinking of venturing outdoors.
Pregnancy can be uncomfortable as it is, throw a heatwave into the mix and it can be a sticky, unbearable nightmare.
Healthista spoke to registered dietitian Laura Tilt, who says staying hydrated is key to making a heatwave as comfortable as possible – especially if you’re expecting.
‘It’s an obvious one, but in hot weather our bodies use extra fluid as we sweat more. If we don’t stay well hydrated, it can make it harder for our bodies to regulate temperature,’ explains Tilt.
But other than downing water every five minutes, how can we keep our bodies hydrated?
Here are five ways Laura suggests we can all keep hydrated and cool…
#1 Drink at least two litres of water a day
There’s no one size fits all when it comes to fluid – it depends on body size, activity levels and temperature, but as a general guide women need somewhere around eight glasses of fluid a day (that’s about two litres),
If you’re pregnant, add an extra glass a day – so about nine glasses a day.
A good tip is to keep an eye on your wee, if it’s dark and strong smelling, you probably need to drink up.
#2 Opt for cold or iced drinks
Keep your cool by choosing chilled fluids. Keep a water jug in the fridge and try flavouring with mint or cucumber or sugar free squash and serve with plenty of ice.
Plain water is an ideal drink as it’s low sugar, but all non-alcoholic drinks count towards your fluid intake.
Try making smoothies made with frozen fruit or try iced decaf or fruity iced teas, ideally served somewhere in the shade.
Remember that during pregnancy, the advice is to limit your caffeine intake to no more than 200 milligrams a day – a cup of regular black tea is about 75mg. Fruit teas though are caffeine free.
#3 Load up on high-water content foods
Make the most of fruits and vegetables with high water content like berries, watermelon, oranges, apples, tomatoes and cucumber.
You can also freeze grapes and slices of banana or mango for a cooling snack which will also count towards your five-a-day.
#4 Pull the blinds down
It can get hot, hot, hot, when sunlight is pouring into your house during the day. Keep your rooms cool by keeping your curtains, shutters and/or blinds drawn.
The exception is if you have very dark curtains, as this might make things hotter.
#5 Make sure your bed sheets are cotton or linen
Trying to sleep whilst pregnant is already hard enough, but when you are also battling with the heat, it is only going to make it more uncomfortable at night.
To help combat this, try sheets with breathable fabrics like cotton or linen and sleep with just a sheet over you.
You can also pop a flannel in the fridge to use as a cool compress.
Laura Tilt is a Registered Dietitian at Biamother, a simple to use, app designed by industry experts that provides nutrition, mindfulness and exercise support and advice for mothers at their fingertips – as they navigate their way through pregnancy, and the first few years of parenthood.
For more pregnancy tips and expert advice, you can download the Biamother app here, and enjoy a 14-day free trial.