The holidays can be stressful. Being pregnant during the holidays can add to that! You may be enjoying a pregnant “glow” or perhaps suffering from nausea. You could be suffering from tiredness or achy body, or perhaps you are overwhelmed with “baby brain” that the thought of the holidays does not fill you with good cheer. Just because you are pregnant does not mean you have to miss out on all the holiday fun. Here are some tips to help you relax and enjoy the season and the belly!
1. Enjoy your food
Although there are many holiday foods you might want to avoid such as rum balls and pate, turkey is safe and nutritious but check that it’s cooked through. Have plenty of vegetables – they’re full of fibre, a great antidote for all that other food which can make you constipated.
2. Keep it Simple
It’s easy to get carried away in the whirlwind of pre-Christmas prep and end up stressed out. This isn’t good for you or your baby. Get as much help as you can with shopping to avoid getting stressed by the crowd or shop online as much as possible. If you want you can keep Christmas simple this year and spend it with a few loved ones who’ll do what they can to help..
3. Put those feet up
Standing at parties and Christmas shopping can cause swollen ankles (oedema) as fluid and the extra blood you produce in pregnancy pools around your feet. Sit down and take breaks when you’re shopping, and at parties have a seat. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid salty foods to help prevent water retention. Swelling is one symptom of pre-eclampsia, if it continu
es or is severe see your care provider.
4. Give your back a break!
During pregnancy your ligaments loosen in preparation for labour, and it can be easy to injure your back if you’re not
careful. Have heavy shopping delivered or get your partner to carry it for you. If you do have to lift something heavy, hold it close to your chest and bend your knees, not your back as you pick it up. Balancing on a chair to decorate the top of your tree or a high shelf isn’t a good idea either as your bump alters your sense of gravity.
5. Avoid heartburn
Heartburn is more common in pregnancy because the muscular valve at the entrance to the stomach relaxes, allowing stomach acid to seep up into the food pipe. In addition, your growing baby and uterus press on your stomach which also forces acid back up into the food pipe. Avoid foods you know cause you heartburn and eating smaller frequent meals can help prevent it. Many women say that not eating too close to bedtime also helps. Too many yummies to resist with all the parties? Try the cheese and crackers. Calcium is great for treating heartburn and many women report that crackers help with nausea.
6. Don’t over-do it
Christmas can be exhausting even when you’re not pregnant, with endless shopping and cooking. Go easy on yourself this year and keep the late nights to a minimum. Allow yourself the luxury of naps to keep up your energies. Pregnancy puts a strain on your body because it’s having to work much harder to support your growing baby,
and feeling more tired than usual is normal and your body’s way of telling you it needs more rest.
6. Alcohol watch
Drinking during pregnancy can harm your baby’s development. Whatever you drink will be passed on to your baby via your bloodstream and the placenta, so be sensible. Join the festivities with a fancy “virgin” cocktail or sparkling or dealcoholized drink in hand.
8. Be good to yourself
If family and friends ask what they can buy you this year, suggest some pampering treats such as soothing bath oils, body lotions, pedicures or a gift certificate for a massage. Having a massage is a great way to relieve backache as well as stress and helps you to relax and focus on yourself and your growing baby.
9. Sing carols to your baby
Christmas is an extra special time when you’re pregnant and you’ll find yourself focusing more on your growing baby. You can enhance that feeling of closeness by talking to your baby and letting him join in the festive spirit by listening to some Christmas carols together or singing them to your baby.
10. Take time out for exercise
When the festive season gets too much for you, take time out and do yourself and your baby good by getting some exercise. Many studies have shown that moderate exercise throughout pregnancy is beneficial. It’ll also give you more stamina to cope with the labour and help you to regain your pre-pregnancy body more quickly afterwards. Walking, swimming and pregnancy yoga are some of the safest forms of exercise to do.