Whether you’re longing for a wet cloth or suddenly enduring the heat of 1000 suns, you’re likely experiencing the overwhelming sensation of a hot flush. Most commonly the result of hormonal fluctuations, hot flushes affect approximately 1 in 3 pregnant women. While they are a natural part of pregnancy, these sudden, short bouts of heat can be stifling. Here are 5 tips to help you avoid feeling like you’re standing next to a raging fire.

Stay hydrated

As for most pregnancy symptoms, hydration is critical. Shield yourself from the warmth by staying hydrated throughout the day and carrying a cold bottle of water with you wherever you go. Like your keys and wallet, you might want to establish a habit of bringing your bottle with you whenever you leave and filling it regularly to ensure you’re prepared for the onset of a hot flush.

Regulate your diet

A balanced diet is one of the most important lifestyle habits to adopt during pregnancy. Hot, spicy and processed foods that are rich in sugars or fats can trigger hot flushes frequently. Caffeine and alcohol are also trigger fluids, so go for water or indulge in a fresh juice or smoothie if you’re craving some liquid gold. As always, fresh vegetables, fruits, leafy greens and proteins are the way to go!

Pack a cooling kit

While paying no attention to the judgement of side-eyeing strangers, feel free to whip out your spray bottle or the mini fan you prepared earlier when the heat starts to overwhelm you. You can also use wet wipes or a cool cloth to dampen your face, neck and chest, as this will help to bring your temperature down and gradually relieve your symptoms.

Wear loose clothing

Protect yourself from the heat by wearing thin, loose clothing that you can take off easily when you feel warm. Try and choose clothes made of natural fibres, such as cotton or linen, as they allow for optimal air circulation.

Try relaxation techniques and breathing exercises

While it’s easier said than done, panicking or rushing to find relief will only intensify your symptoms. Stress triggers the release of a substance called epinephrine, which increases your body temperature and causes even more sweating (no thanks!). Deep, rhythmic breathing and paced respiration can help to reduce your stress and lessen the severity and duration of hot flushes.

While hot flushes are a natural part of pregnancy, it’s important to discuss them with your doctor at your prenatal appointments so they can rule out any underlying conditions. In the meantime, prepare your cooling kit and stock up on cold water – the hot flushes are fierce, but your body is fiercer!

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