The holidays are a wonderful time of year, but they can also be incredibly stressful. Being pregnant doesn’t make things any easier. Your body is already undergoing so many changes, and combined with the demands of the holiday season, it’s easy to find yourself, mentally and physical, overloaded.
From traveling and shopping to nutrition and exercise, being pregnant this time of the year can be a lot to manage. Here are some basic tips I offer my patients this time of the year.
- If traveling is a must, it’s safe to do so up to 36 weeks. If you’re past 36 weeks, keep within an hour of the hospital where you plan to deliver.
- If you are 36 weeks and have to travel in an emergency situation, contact a doctor in the community where you are going so you have a “go to” person in case you need to deliver. If possible, take your records with you.
- Whether driving or flying, it’s important that you get up and move around every couple of hours. If you’re driving, allow time in your schedule to stop and walk around. If flying, once the seatbelt light goes out, get up and walk on the plane.
- Hydration is important, especially with air travel. You need to take in more fluids than usual – especially water.
- Maintaining a healthy diet while traveling can be tricky whether you’re pregnant or not. People tend to eat a lot of junk food, which is high in sodium and low in nutritional value. Take foods with you that are nutrient-rich: Dried or fresh fruit, raw nuts or protein bars. And remember, no one who hands your food through a drive-thru window is doing you any favors.
- Enjoy your holiday meals, but plan ahead. It’s easy to take in extra calories, so increase your activity and watch your portion sizes.
- Holiday parties and family gatherings can offer a variety of food choices, but be careful. When pregnant, avoid things like raw fish, lunch meat, eggnog (eggs must be cooked) and alcohol.
The holidays can be overwhelming, but I tell my patients not to be afraid of delegating. Put someone else in charge. Do what you can to reduce your stress load. The most important thing is to remember what the holiday season is really about and enjoy the blessings of your new baby to come.