It’s that time of year again, the holidays! The lights, the beauty, the excitement are all heightened when you are expecting a little one with whom you can soon enjoy all the Christmas traditions and fun.
The holidays can also bring worry, busy schedules, and frequent access to junk food. From Halloween through the New Year, temptations, family meet-ups, and stress seem to be lurking around every corner.
Never fear, we are here to make it all easier for you! Presenting, a pregnant woman’s guide to surviving the holidays!
Step 1 – Wear Comfy Clothing
Your first tip is purely practical, wear comfy clothing. This is pretty good advice throughout pregnancy! Who are we kidding? It’s great advice after you have kids too!
Loose, flowy, or stretchy clothing is more comfortable and will help you enjoy your holidays and not feel so constricted. Don’t worry, you can still look beautiful. Luckily, stretch pants and boots with a loose, flowy top are trendy and flattering.
Even if you have events and parties to attend, find more formal clothing that fits, makes you feel great, and isn’t too snug.
Bonus – heels are not your friend! Skip them!
Step 2 – Research Induction
It is always tempting to get that baby out as soon as possible. Whether you are due in the heat of July or the weeks surrounding Christmas, there is always a seemingly good reason to have the baby out rather than in.
And while the last weeks of pregnancy are certainly uncomfortable for many women, induction for convenience isn’t often the best idea.
Even the March of Dimes, an organization devoted to helping every baby be healthier, warns against unnecessary inductions, saying, “Experts are learning that scheduling an early birth for non-medical reasons can cause problems for mom and baby.”
They also mention that due dates are not always accurate, and that induction can put extra, sometimes dangerous, stress on the uterus and the baby.
ACOG, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists also points out that induction can increase the chance of cesarean delivery, particularly if your cervix is not ripe and your Bishop’s score is low and particularly for first time moms.
Despite these recommendations from respected organizations, it is not unheard of for pregnant women to feel pressure from care providers, family, and themselves, to have their baby before big holidays. Learning about common drugs used for induction such as Pitocin and Cytotec can also be an eye-opening experience.
Don’t forget, your body naturally produces the original version of Pitocin, called oxytocin, and the process of producing that is often much more fun!
Step 3 – Keep a Food Journal
There is food EVERYWHERE during the holidays. From the breakroom at work, to your own personal baking, to random friends dropping off trays of cookies, you can’t escape the constant temptation of yummy treats.
It is OK to indulge a little, but moderation is key when partaking of t at tasty snacks time of life, including pregnancy.
Keeping a food journal is a great way to realize what you are eating. In fact, tracking what you eat and when and why can help bring awareness to the other reasons we indulge like stress or being around in-laws. (Of course, most in-laws are fabulous.)
Tracking what you eat also helps with your own personal accountability and can be incredibly helpful. The chow charts included in your Birth Boot Camp workbook, that you can purchase with any online birth class, also helps you track things like stress, self-care, and exercise.
Here is a great list for comforting yet healthy foods for pregnancy. If choosing nutritious snacks is your struggle, here are some great ideas for healthy pregnancy snacks that you can keep with you and eat instead of that donut.
Step 4 – Stay Home
We are excited to give you permission to simply stay home and relax. Sometimes the holidays expect lots of travel from us. However, if you are in the tail end of pregnancy, spending several hours on a plane or in a car, isn’t always the most comfortable or healthy activity for you.
Women often notice swelling increasing during travel as well as discomfort from staying stationary.
Choose your favorite or most important events to attend, then forgive yourself for skipping some of the others. Don’t worry, you can totally blame us!
Step 5 – Rest
The need for increased rest during pregnancy is a very real one. While we tend to push ourselves hard to accomplish as much as possible; just walking around during pregnancy can be hard work.
Your body is always working growing a baby when you are expecting. When we add everyday expectations from work and family, and then pile on holiday ones, it can all get a little overwhelming.
Don’t be afraid to take some time to rest. It might be the best thing for you and your baby.
Lack of rest can trigger Braxton Hicks contractions for some women. Others notice the prodromal labor is aggravated when they need down time. There is also nothing wrong with requesting a prenatal massage for Christmas in lieu of presents. What a gift!
If you struggle with feelings of guilt when you aren’t actively doing something, remember that keeping yourself and your baby healthy is doing something very important and that rest is imperative for health. Disrupted nighttime sleep during pregnancy can mean a daily nap is a necessity.
Embrace this time of your life. It doesn’t happen very often!
Bonus Tips for Pregnant Women Surviving the Holidays
Some other things that can help a pregnant woman survive the holidays include:
- Get your Christmas shopping done early or online so you aren’t stressed last minute.
- Accept help! Even if that means letting someone else put away your favorite Christmas tree decorations or help watch your kids.
- Cut the extras. This doesn’t have to be the year of outrageous decorations and perfectly wrapped presents! Work within your own needs and boundaries.
Pregnancy is a joyous time of life, but it can be complicated and made more stressful by the addition of the holidays and all that goes along with them. Don’t be afraid to take some time off, to care for yourself, to let others work, and to just sit down and relax.
Growing a baby is hard work. You can survive the holidays!