Advise Me

9 Tips to Beat the Heat for a Smooth Summer Pregnancy

Are you gearing up for a summer pregnancy? While the sun is shining and the days are long, pregnancy during the warmest months of the year can present some challenges. 

The rising temperatures, combined with pregnancy, can cause your legs and feet to swell, and you may feel hotter and sweatier than ever before. Your body has to work harder to keep your temperature in a safe zone. 

“Pregnant people are more susceptible to heat-related health issues in the summer months,” said Colleen Cagno, MD, a family medicine obstetrician with Banner – University Medicine. 

Getting overheated can lead to headaches, dizziness, Braxton Hicks contractions (false labor) and dehydration. In severe cases, it can pose risks for the baby, such as pre-term birth.

However, with a bit of planning and these nine tips (one for each month of pregnancy), there is no reason you should miss out on the fun that the summer months bring. 

1. Stay hydrated

The most important piece of advice is to be sure to drink lots of water every day. 

Pregnant people need 50% more water (about 12 eight-ounce glasses daily), no matter the temperature outside. Drinking water lowers your core body temperature and may also help with pregnancy side effects like nausea and constipation. 

“You can also increase your intake of foods that are water-rich, such as cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, celery and oranges,” Dr. Cagno said. 

2. Choose breathable maternity wear

Wear loose, light-colored clothing made from breathable fabrics like linen to help you stay cool. Choose maternity clothes that allow for airflow and have adjustable ties or waistbands to accommodate your growing belly.

3. Take a cool bath, shower or swim

Take a cool shower, bath, or dip in the pool to beat the heat. Time in the pool can help you cool off and give your body much-needed relief. When you float, the water supports your body, taking some pressure off your joints and muscles. 

4. Stay indoors when you can

Getting overheated can be risky. Avoid spending too much time outdoors during the hottest parts of the day.

“Use cooling techniques such as air conditioning, swamp coolers, fans or even applying a cool, damp cloth onto your neck, underarms and wrists to help cool you down on sweltering days,” Dr. Cagno said. “Some people like to put a damp cloth in the refrigerator to chill before using.” 

5. Wear sunscreen

If you do need to be outside, remember sunscreen. It can protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays and help minimize melasma, hyperpigmentation or darkening of the skin when pregnant.

Use a broad-spectrum, water-based pregnancy-safe sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Reapply sunscreen every few hours, especially if you’re sweating or swimming.

“Pregnancy-safe sunscreens are free from synthetic fragrances and chemicals, including oxybenzone and benzophenone-3, and instead use mineral or physical sunscreens with ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide,” Dr. Cagno said. 

Sun protection also includes a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

6. Eat light, nutritious meals

Choose light, healthy meals and snacks rich in fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. Avoid heavy, greasy foods that make you feel sluggish and uncomfortable in the heat.

If you’re at a summer picnic or cookout, watch for dishes that may quickly spoil in the heat. 

“Keep in mind foodborne bacteria grow faster in warm temperatures, so make sure you keep food at safe temperatures and wash your hands before and after handling food,” Dr. Cagno said.

Check out this article for ideas on what to eat and avoid during pregnancy.

7. Be safe when exercising

Being physically active during pregnancy is important but avoid exercising in the heat. 

“Consider shifting your physical activity to indoors or aim to be outside in the early morning or evening when temperatures are generally lower,” Dr. Cagno said. 

Choose low-impact exercises like swimming, prenatal yoga or gentle walks. Check out this article for tips on exercising while you’re pregnant.

8. Elevate your feet

Swollen feet and ankles (or cankles) are common during pregnancy, especially in hot weather. Stretch often, elevate your feet whenever possible to reduce swelling and avoid standing or sitting for long periods without breaks. 

It may help to invest in some maternity compression socks to improve circulation and reduce swelling during the day.

9. Listen to your body

Pay attention to how you’re feeling and don’t hesitate to take breaks or ask for help when needed. If you feel dizzy, short of breath, dehydrated or lightheaded, your pulse is fast or you experience contractions, call your health care provider right away.


With these nine summer pregnancy tips, you can stay cool, calm and collected as you navigate the ups and downs of pregnancy and the warmer weather. Remember, your body is working hard to nurture and grow your baby – so be kind to yourself and take it easy. 

If you notice signs of overheating, contact your health care provider or a Banner Health specialist

For more pregnancy-related articles, check out:

Pregnancy Women's Health