5 Tips For How To Enjoy The Holidays While Pregnant
What’s the best way to enjoy the holiday season while you’re pregnant? Take a step back, slow down, and pace yourself. From fluctuating hormone and mood changes to morning sickness and body aches, growing a new human takes its toll, and your body doesn’t need the extra stress. This is the year to take a step back while you prioritize your health and your growing baby. Let friends and family know that cross-country travel, raucous holiday parties, and shopping-till-you-drop are on the back burner for this year.
Here are a few ways to relax and enjoy the festivities of the holiday while pregnant.
1. Get some rest.
Sleep can be particularly elusive when pregnant, thanks to constant bathroom runs and increasing heartburn. Holiday stress can make sleeping even tougher. Take advantage of any additional time off you may have to get some rest. Sleep late when you’re able, indulge in afternoon naps, or head to bed early if you like – without feeling guilty about turning down a party or travel invitation.
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2. Slow down.
Last-minute shopping and gift wrapping, cleaning up for house guests, and holiday decorating can wear you out. Try to pace yourself by checking off your to-do list early and concentrating on only one or two tasks at a time. If you feel tired, give yourself permission to take a break and reboot.
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3. Eat mindfully.
Food is a big part of holiday celebrations, but it’s especially important for pregnant women to consume a healthy, nutritious diet during the festivities. Eat plenty of vegetables and proteins, and avoid skipping meals to make room for the main course.
If you’ve been struggling with nausea and decide to attend a holiday party or dinner, stick to plain starchy foods, like bread and crackers. Drink lots of water and ask your doctor about taking a vitamin B6 supplement which may reduce the severity of morning sickness symptoms. You may even consider eating a little before you go to the event. Keeping your stomach full will often help keep nausea at bay.
It’s also important to be aware of foods you should avoid while pregnant. Pregnant women should not eat undercooked seafood, meat, cheeses, and eggs (no eggnog or raw cookie dough for now). Avoid unpasteurized dairy, including some soft cheeses, and any deli meats unless they’re steaming hot. It’s also worth noting that no level of alcohol has been proven safe during pregnancy. The safest bet is to avoid alcohol entirely.
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4. Accept help.
It’s ok to let your family and friends do the heavy lifting this year. If you’re feeling up to it, help out in short intervals and take frequent breaks to put your feet up. Offer to help out in ways that keep you seated, like wrapping gifts or playing board games to entertain the youngest guests. Don’t feel guilty about letting friends and family take the lead on cleaning and other holiday chores while you’re pregnant.
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5. Manage your stress.
Holiday commitments combined with the erratic hormone levels and the aches and pains of pregnancy are a formula for elevated stress levels. This additional pressure can contribute to insomnia, headaches, and an elevated heart rate. It’s essential to handle the added stress in a healthy way (for both you and your baby). If you’re feeling overwhelmed this holiday season, the Mayo Clinic recommends a number of strategies for combating stress and feelings of depression during the holidays. These include:
- talking about and acknowledging your feelings
- seeking out support and companionship or volunteering your time
- leveling your expectations about what the holidays “should” be like
- putting aside family grievances for the time being
- setting and sticking to a budget
- planning ahead when possible
- setting (and enforcing) healthy boundaries – it’s ok to say “no”
- sticking with healthy habits, including eating right and getting plenty of sleep
- finding time to do what soothes you
- seeking professional help if necessary
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This is the year to spend the holidays doing what makes you happy, whether it’s snuggling up with your partner to watch a movie or enjoying a quiet evening at home with your favorite take-out meal. It’s ok to make the holidays about you this year (particularly if have no other children). Focus on what your body needs and what helps you relax. In just a few short months, you’ll have a little one who’ll need all your time and energy. Here’s to enjoying the holiday season during pregnancy and in the months to come!
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