During our recent, most unpleasant spring ever, people would regularly point to my bump and say variations of “at least you’ve got your very own hot water bottle.”
Alas, despite never being one of those girls that always feels chilly – the opposite has usually been true and I consider myself to be warm-blooded – this winter/spring I have really felt the cold. One factor is probably my slower movements. In the past, when feeling cold, I moved around a lot or walked fast and that soon made my temperature rise. I don’t have that option now. Unfortunately, lumbering along with a bump in tow does not equate to particularly effective aerobic exercise. For the first time ever, I have been worried about getting too cold when out and to compensate have been wearing double socks, extra layers and a hat/scarf/gloves for months.
Then, last week, the sun appeared. Desperate for some Vitamin D, I sat outside in the positively tropical 19ºC heat and soon felt absolutely baking. Worried about overheating, I had to go inside.
And that was only 19ºC. AKA room temperature – although the “real feel” in weatherspeak was probably a few degrees higher due to being in the sunshine. What is it going to be like when the temperature creeps up properly into the 20s and beyond? The bump and I are going to melt…
As ever, it is a comfort to find out that it is not just me who is a pregnant sweaty betty. The NHS tells me that “hormonal changes and an increase in blood supply to the skin” causes pregnant women to feel warmer that usual. Although, interestingly, the mother’s core body temperature actually decreases throughout pregnancy in order to compensate for this extra heat. According to Babymed, in pregnancy your temperature goes down by around 0.1ºC per month. So nearly a whole 1ºC lower than when you started!
This is all linked to how it is dangerous to overheat in pregnancy (hence all the warnings you read on saunas, steam rooms and hot tubs). When pregnant, there is an increased risk of overheating and dehydration, so women are supposed to avoid excessively raising their temperatures, for example by overexercising. Early on, my midwife told me that theoretically most sports were fine during pregnancy, with one exception: spinning. Apparently this causes one to dramatically overheat, more so than, say, running or aerobics. I reassured her that I had never set foot in a spinning studio and probably never would!
Back to my own carefully regulated temperature, and last night it was winter coat and gloves again. In May. I wonder whether my fabulous maternity shorts will ever get a look in?