Before I found out I was having twins, before my pregnancy had even been confirmed via ultrasound, I calculated a roughly estimated due date in my head and realized that I would be due in September, one of the hottest months of the year here in Georgia. When I later found out that not one but two babies were on the way, I felt a slight tremor of fear wash over me. The summer is no joke here in the south. And if things went well, I would be full term with twins right in the middle of it.
I won’t lie: things weren’t pretty by that third trimester. By September I was a waddling, swollen, perpetually perspiring blob. “Pregnancy glow” had come to have a new meaning for me and there was an entire section of skin under the shelf of my stomach that was so constantly sweaty, it would suction to my thighs when I sat down. My varicose veins were so bad that I had to wear compression stockings, but my feet were so swollen and hot that I had to cut the feet out of the stockings. I’m sure that looked super cool under my sundresses and shorts. And by the last few weeks of my pregnancy I had exactly one item in my wardrobe that covered my belly: a sundress that was no longer cute, it was exhausted. I had asked that dress to do things for me that it was never intended to do.
Being pregnant with multiples during the hot months of summer can be a challenge, but it can also be fun and exciting. Here are some ideas to help you get through your summer twins pregnancy:
1. Stay hydrated.
A summer pregnancy carries with it an increased risk of dehydration. Excessive sweating raises this risk, so make sure that you’re drinking an adequate amount of water. It is recommended that women pregnant with twins drink a gallon (128 oz.) of water a day. It can be helpful to have a designated water bottle with the ounces marked on it. Fill it up each morning and carry it with you wherever you go.
2. Get outside in the morning or evening.
I recently read a piece of advice for pregnant women to stay indoors if temperatures exceed 90 degrees. I have to admit, this is not very realistic, because here in Georgia, the temperatures typically stay in the 90s from May-October. There’s no way to avoid the heat completely here, and most people can’t manage to stay indoors for six months on end. Besides, getting outside daily is great for your mood and overall health. So instead of trying to avoid the outdoors completely, try to take a walk, garden, or take your kids to a park in the mornings or evenings when the temperatures are milder.
3. Eat lots of ice cream.
You read that right. Ice cream, my friend. This is, in my opinion, the number one perk to a summer pregnancy. There is nothing better than an excuse to eat lots of ice cream. Along those lines, smoothies, milkshakes, and popsicles can also help keep you cool.
4. Take advantage of summer styles.
One fun thing about being pregnant in the summer is getting to wear lots of cute and comfy summer sundresses and flip-flops. Putting on pants and shoes can get difficult towards the end of pregnancy and sometimes it’s hard to find shirts to cover your twin-sized bump. Dresses and flip-flops can be the perfect solution. Whatever your style preference, choose clothes that are lightweight and breathable. Lighter colors can help keep you cooler in the sun.
5. Listen to your body.
The heat of summer can bring with it an increased risk of swelling and exhaustion. Rest whenever necessary, with your feet propped up to help reduce swelling. When spending time outside, find a shady spot to rest. The heat can cause you to become exhausted faster than usual, so keep that in mind when planning outdoor activities.
6. Take advantage of swimming opportunities.
Okay, who am I kidding? When you’re eight months pregnant it’s more like floating than swimming. But the water can be your best friend. During pregnancy, it helps reduce the pain and discomfort caused by extra weight and stretching ligaments. Whether at a friend’s pool, the beach, or even the local splash pad, take advantage of opportunities to cool off in the water.
7. Embrace your changing body.
I have to admit, I loved wearing a bikini when I was pregnant. The loose skin from my previous pregnancies got stretched out and no longer looked wrinkly – I didn’t feel the need to cover it up. Whether a bikini or a full-coverage maternity swimsuit, find swimwear that makes you feel like a rock star and take that bump to the pool with pride.
8. Use caution in the sun.
Pregnancy can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so be sure to wear appropriate sunscreen, take cover under an umbrella, and wear a hat.
9. Keep the kids entertained with indoor activities.
If you have older kids, try to find indoor activities to entertain them when possible this summer. The local library, museum, or bowling alley can offer a respite from the heat while still keeping the kids entertained.
10. Most importantly, remember to take things one day at a time.
Even though there were days when it seemed like I’d never get past the sweltering heat, before I knew it my babies had arrived and I was burning my compression stockings while my liberated legs did a dance for joy (OK, it was more like a spirited shuffle since I was recovering from a c-section.) Don’t overwhelm yourself thinking about the summer as a whole. Summer is just a series of days, only a temporary season which will soon be over. Your babies will arrive, you’ll retire that exhausted sundress, the season will change, and you’ll find yourself looking for a new excuse to eat lots of ice cream.
Natalie Downey is a stay at home mom to six rambunctious but lovable kids. Her two-year-old boy/girl twins were the surprise of her life and keep her on her toes. She gets by with lots of help from coffee and yoga and enjoys literature, spontaneous dance parties with her kids, and playing guitar.