Summer is a popular time for babies to be born, with warm weather and longer days providing the perfect backdrop for new beginnings. However, preparing for a summer birth can also present unique challenges, from staying cool during labor to managing the discomforts of pregnancy in the heat. We have supported many families through summer births and have gathered some helpful tips and tricks to make the process as smooth and comfortable as possible.
Here are some tips for preparing for a summer birth:
- Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is crucial during pregnancy, but it’s especially important during the summer months when the heat can lead to dehydration. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and consider adding electrolyte-enhanced drinks or coconut water to your routine. You can also snack on fruits and vegetables with high water content, such as watermelon, cucumber, and celery.
- Dress Comfortably
When you’re pregnant during the summer, it’s important to wear clothing that is comfortable and breathable. Opt for lightweight, loose-fitting fabrics like cotton or linen, and avoid synthetic materials that can trap heat and make you feel uncomfortable. You can also wear a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
- Keep Cool
During labor, it’s important to keep cool and comfortable to help manage pain and stress. Consider bringing a fan or a cooling towel to the hospital or birth center, or use a handheld fan during contractions. You can also use cold compresses or ice packs on your forehead, neck, and back to help reduce discomfort.
- Find a Pool
Swimming or floating in a pool can be a great way to stay cool and comfortable during pregnancy and labor. Look for a local pool or water park, or consider investing in an inflatable kiddie pool for your backyard. If you plan to labor in water, check with your healthcare provider to make sure it’s safe for you and your baby.
- Plan for Air Conditioning
If you’re due during the hottest months of the year, make sure you have access to air conditioning during labor and postpartum recovery. Consider staying in a hotel or Airbnb with air conditioning, or invest in a portable air conditioner for your home. You can also use a cool mist humidifier to help keep the air moist and comfortable.
- Create a Summer Birth Kit
Prepare a summer birth kit with all the essentials you’ll need to stay comfortable during labor and postpartum recovery. This might include cooling towels, a handheld fan, a spray bottle for misting yourself, lip balm, and sunscreen. You can also include items like a birth ball or a yoga mat to help you stay comfortable and mobile during labor.
- Stay Active
Staying active during pregnancy can help reduce discomfort and prepare your body for labor. However, it’s important to avoid overexertion in the heat. Consider taking a walk early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler, or join a prenatal yoga or water aerobics class. You can also do simple exercises at home, such as pelvic tilts and squats.
- Prepare for Breastfeeding
If you plan to breastfeed your baby, it’s important to prepare for this process before the birth. During the summer months, you may need to take extra steps to protect your nipples from sunburn or chafing. You can also consider investing in a nursing tank or nursing cover to make breastfeeding in public more comfortable.
- Ask for Help
Preparing for a summer birth can be challenging, and it’s okay to ask for help. Reach out to your partner, friends, and family for support, and consider hiring a doula to provide emotional and physical support during labor and postpartum recovery. A doula can also help you navigate the challenges of summer birth and provide personalized tips and tricks to make the process as comfortable and stress-free as possible.
In conclusion, preparing for a summer birth requires some extra planning and preparation, but with the right tools and resources, it can be a beautiful and empowering experience. By staying hydrated, dressing comfortably, keeping cool, and staying active, you can help manage discomfort and prepare your body for labor. And by creating a summer birth kit, preparing for breastfeeding, and asking for help when you need it, you can set yourself up for a successful postpartum recovery. Remember, every birth is unique, and with the support of your doula and healthcare team, you can create a birth plan that works for you and your baby.