Need to talk? Call 1800 882 436.
It's a free call with a maternal child health nurse. *call charges may apply from your mobile

Is it an emergency? Dial 000
If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately.

beginning of content

Dealing with hot weather during pregnancy and breastfeeding

7-minute read

Key facts

  • It’s important to avoid overheating during pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester.
  • Avoid exercising in hot weather during pregnancy, especially in high humidity.
  • Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Wear comfortable, cool clothing made from natural fibres with an open weave.
  • Breastfeed in cool places where there is a breeze, air conditioning or fans.

Pregnancy and hot weather

Most women's body temperature increases during pregnancy, making them more temperature sensitive when the weather is hot. In the first trimester (12 weeks) of pregnancy, becoming overheated is not recommended since this can affect healthy fetal development. As the mother’s body tries to cool down, her blood vessels narrow which can reduce the amount of blood and nutrients flowing to her baby.

Ways to stay cool and avoid overheating in pregnancy

It’s not always possible to avoid becoming overheated, especially during the summer months. However, there are a few things you can do which may help.

  • Stay out of direct sun and keep inside or in shady areas.
  • Time your outings so you avoid being out in the hottest part of the day.
  • Use spray bottles filled with water to cool your face and body.
  • Place a wet washer or cooling wrap around your head and neck.
  • Put your feet in a bowl of cool water. Cool your hands and feet if you’re feeling really hot.
  • Soak in a cool bath, or go for a swim. Frequent, cool showers are also great for keeping cool.

Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion happens when someone becomes dehydrated because of fluid loss. Excessive physical activity or being in a hot environment can also lead to heat exhaustion.

Left untreated, heat exhaustion can be a risk factor for experiencing heatstroke. This causes a sudden rise in temperature as well as confusion and potentially a loss of consciousness.

Symptoms that can be a signal of heat exhaustion:

  • excessive sweating
  • thirst
  • headache
  • muscle aches and cramps
  • feeling faint or dizzy
  • rapid, weak pulse
  • pale and clammy skin

Dark-coloured, concentrated urine (wee) is a sign of needing to drink more water.

Treatment for heat exhaustion

  • Lie down in a cool and shady place.
  • Loosen tight clothing and remove as many layers as possible.
  • Place your hands and feet in cool water. Wet your skin, sit in an air-conditioned room or use a fan to cool down.
  • Drink sips of water and avoid dehydration.

When to see a doctor

Short periods of feeling hot and uncomfortable are unavoidable during the summer months. However, it’s important to see a doctor if:

  • you feel unwell
  • you become dizzy or faint
  • you have a headache, nausea or vomiting
  • your pulse is fast or there are changes to your breathing

FIND A HEALTH SERVICE — The Service Finder can help you find doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and other health services.

Sun protection and sunscreen

Using sunscreen is advisable at all stages of life, including during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. Although sunscreens contain various ingredients, the amount absorbed through the skin is thought to be minimal. This means sunscreens do not pose a risk to pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Use a sunscreen that is suitable for sensitive skin and is hypoallergenic if you have a sensitive skin condition or are prone to skin reactions. Speak to your pharmacist if you need help choosing a sunscreen that is right for you.

Exercising during hot weather

You don’t need to stop exercising when it’s hot, but you will need to consider the type of exercise you do and when to do it. The general recommendation for pregnant women is to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week.

Exercising early in the morning or later in the day when the weather is cooler means there’s less risk of overheating and you’ll feel more comfortable. It’s important to choose exercise activities that won’t cause you to overheat.

Activities that are generally safe include:

  • swimming or other water exercises including aquarobics
  • walking or jogging
  • cycling – either outdoors or on a stationary bike
  • pregnancy exercise classes
  • Pilates, yoga, stretching or other floor exercises

How to get comfortable when breastfeeding in summer

Skin to skin contact can take on a whole different meaning when breastfeeding in summer. It’s also surprising how much warmth is generated when holding a baby close during feeds.

Strategies to keep you and your baby cool when breastfeeding:

  • Place a muslin or cotton wrap between you and your baby.
  • Lie down to feed so there’s some space between your baby’s body and your own. Only your baby’s mouth and your breast need to be in contact when breastfeeding.
  • Place a cool wet washer in the crook of your arm.
  • Breastfeed in air-conditioned spaces or use a fan to circulate and cool the air.

Making breast milk uses extra fluid and it’s important to stay well hydrated when you’re breastfeeding. Be guided by your thirst, and remember there is no set amount of water you need to drink each day. The weather, your activity level and the foods you eat will all influence how much water you will need to drink.

Resources and support

Speak with your maternity care provider if you need more information about pregnancy, hot weather and breastfeeding. Every woman and her baby are different and it’s important to seek guidance from someone who knows you and your history.

Speak to a maternal child health nurse

Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: December 2023

Back To Top

Need more information?

Hot weather and pregnancy

If you are pregnant, it is important for your health and the health of your baby to follow the tips in this guide when the weather is hot.

Read more on SA Health website

Breastfeeding and hot weather | Australian Breastfeeding Association

Read more on Australian Breastfeeding Association website

Babies and young children in hot weather - Beat the heat

Babies and young children require particular care to make sure their health is protected during hot weather. Most important is that babies and young children stay cool and drink regularly.

Read more on NSW Health website

Pregnancy during extreme heat | Tasmanian Department of Health

Learn about how to prepare for extreme heat during pregnancy from the Department of Health (Tasmania).

Read more on Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services website

Babies in hot weather

Hot weather can be dangerous for babies because they are easily affected by the heat. Learn how to keep your baby cool and safe in the heat.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Hot weather and child safety - Better Health Channel

Babies and children can quickly lose body fluids in hot weather, which can lead to dehydration.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Keeping babies cool in hot weather

Infographic with tips on keeping your baby cool during hot weather.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

How much bedding does baby need? | Red Nose Australia

Safe bedding in both summer and winter months

Read more on Red Nose website

Eczema during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Eczema is the most common skin condition in pregnancy, it can also occur when breastfeeding. Find out more about symptoms and treatment of eczema.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Guide to dressing your baby in cold weather

You want your baby to feel comfortably warm — not hot or cold. Use this guide on how best to dress your baby in colder months.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.

This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.

The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.

Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, this publication or any part of it may not be reproduced, altered, adapted, stored and/or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Healthdirect Australia.