LIFESTYLE
22/07/2013 05:53 BST | Updated 22/07/2013 06:32 BST

Royal Baby: Labour Will Be A Relief To Duchess Of Cambridge After Being Pregnant In Heatwave, Midwife Says

Not only has Kate Middleton had the media spotlight shining down on her throughout her pregnancy, but in recent weeks she has also had to cope with the sun's merciless glare in what has been Britain's longest heatwave in seven years.

According to one midwife, the heat may have been so uncomfortable for the mother-to-be that going into labour could even be a relief.

Expectant Kate Middleton has been admitted to hospital in central London on what is expected to be the hottest day of the year.

The mercury is expected to reach 33C (91.4F), with the Midlands and the South of England the likely contenders for the hot spots.

The Lindo wing at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, where the Duchess of Cambridge is being cared for as she awaits the imminent arrival of her first baby, has individually-controlled air conditioning in its private rooms.

Mervi Jokinen, of the Royal College of Midwives, said: "It gets quite uncomfortable being pregnant in the heat. Your legs swell more. It's actually more uncomfortable. If you go into labour, it can be a relief."

Ms Jokinen, who has been a midwife for 30 years, said water births were a good way to help regulate the body's temperature, but she warned that, although it is important to keep hydrated, labouring women should not drink too many iced drinks.

"It has been particularly hot but there's a nice breeze around. In most of the hospitals you can control the internal temperatures of the room. It's different at home where you might need a fan," she said.

"A woman's metabolism in labour is different to normal circumstances. Sometimes women feel their feet are cold while they're in labour.

"If you're hot. the pores on your skin open up so you evaporate heat or sweat. That cools you down naturally. If you have too many iced drinks, your temperature will drop internally and stop this happening."

SEE ALSO:

INFOGRAPHIC: The Royal Baby By Numbers

How Much Will The Royal Baby Be Worth?

LOOK: Kate Middleton And William Pictured Preparing Royal Cot

She added: "You need to keep yourself hydrated. Women do find they want to suck something like ice pops." Labouring women can also use a flannel or a spray of water to cool themselves down, she suggested.

After the baby has been born, skin-to-skin contact with the mother can help regulate the baby's temperature.

"Babies are used to very regular temperatures when they're inside mum. We encourage labour rooms to be warmer when they're born. It takes a little time for them to regulate their temperatures," Ms Jokinen said.