It's a scorcher out there, folks! And while 45C with the humidex is bad enough for the average person, those of you growing a human are hit especially hard on days like this. As midwives, we often get pages when the mercury passes 30 degrees with complaints of cranky uterine muscles, faintness and generalized discomfort. Here's a primer on keeping your cool when there's a heatwave afoot.
1. When the public health agency where you live issues a 'Heat Alert', it means pregnant persons, the elderly and small humans will need to exercise extra care while out and about.
2. If you don't have access to central air, or a window unit, pop over to a shopping mall for a cooldown (no need to buy anything, just enjoy the air-con!) your community pool for a float or even a cooling-centre in your area. These are places like the library or other public spaces were you can go to rest, replenish and lower your core body temperature.
3. HYDRATE. And not just with water. As you sweat, your body's mineral salts are depleted and you will feel re-energized more quickly if you replace these. Try coconut water, an electrolyte replacement pack, or a homemade concoction with sea salt, honey, lemon or lime juice and a pinch of baking soda. Can't chug liquids quickly enough? Eat watery foods like cucumber and melon to re-hydrate more quickly.
4. Ice your ankles and wrists. Back a million years ago when I (RM I. Kaszas) was working in documentary film, we did a summer shoot with a group of firefighters training in full gear. Picture it: 100lbs of equipment up and down 3 flights of stairs with the heat of a controlled fire. These smart folks had special chairs set up with containers of icy water to dunk their wrists and ankles between shifts. The blood vessels in these areas are particularly close to the skin and can help cool you more quickly. Another great spot: behind the ears!
5. Take it easy. Days like this are not meant for pushing yourself. Scale back the activity level and only do essential tasks. Weeding the garden can wait!
6. If you've considered the above and are still feeling dizzy, faint, or breathless, page your midwife. Heat exhaustion is a real concern and we'll want to catch it early to prevent the onset of more serious heat stroke.