Get festive, baby ... Christmas and pregnancy can mix well, as long as you take some precautions to look after yourself.
Christmas might be the time of year to drink in excess, laugh at the thought of going to the gym, and stress over all the items still on your to-do list, but what if you’re pregnant? You might have to skip the eggnog and take a different approach ...
Here are a few pointers to get you through the silly season.
Eat small meals
Indigestion and heartburn are more common while you're pregnant because the surge in the hormone progesterone causes muscles to relax, allowing stomach acid to find its way up your food pipe. But this doesn’t have to ruin your Christmas feasting! Eat small and eat often. This might mean smaller portions at Christmas lunch, but you can always go back for seconds and thirds.
Put your feet up
Standing around at Christmas parties and while shopping can cause your feet to swell. As well as that, your uterus puts pressure on the veins in your pelvis and your vena cava, which slows down circulation, causing the blood to pool. So if you do have to hit the shops, make sure you have a sit-down and put your feet up every now and then – this would also be a good time to have a healthy snack, so your blood sugar levels don’t drop too low and make you dizzy, too. And at parties, try to sit down when you can!
Even if Christmas lunch or dinner is usually your time to shine in the kitchen, this year let someone else slave in the kitchen. Studies have suggested that even relatively minor, everyday stress during pregnancy may affect the brain of the growing foetus, so take it easy when you can.
Delegate, delegate, delegate
During pregnancy all your ligaments soften in preparation for labour, making it easy to injure yourself. People that offer to help run your errands really mean it when you’re pregnant, so take advantage and just say yes.
Avoid crowds, stress and swollen ankles by buying all your Christmas gifts online. You can often also pay a little extra to have them arrive wrapped, leaving you more time for naps! It’s a good idea to buy food supplies online too, letting you avoid the hectic supermarkets.
Enjoy the attention
Once people realise you’re pregnant they may dote on you and possibly try to touch your baby bump. If it all gets too much at festive events, carry a plate of food in front of you to avoid unwanted belly touching!
When you're pregnant your body temperature is already a bit higher than normal, so added heat from the outside temperature is bound to make you feel uncomfortable. Swim (at the cooler times of the day, and protected by sunscreen/sun safe gear), drink plenty of fluids and avoid crowded places unless they’re air-conditioned.
Wear comfortable clothes
Being pregnant at Christmas means that while everyone is suffering in their heels at parties, you can be dressed quite comfortably – luckily, maxi dresses and flats can suit most occasions.
Make sure you know who to call if you’re worried about anything over the holidays – have the numbers of your midwife, GP and hospital maternity ward handy, just in case.