UPDATED November 7th, 2017
What should you expect when dealing with a winter pregnancy? For one, lots of staying home on the couch coziness, since the weather outside is so frightful; but more importantly, pregnancy in winter also means taking a lot of precautions, health-wise. First things first, all pregnant mother should get vaccinated against influenza in October or November the latest. Why? Pregnancy lowers your body’s defenses and the risk of getting the flu, and it leading to something worse, is dangerous for you and your baby. The Center for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) recommends it strongly for all pregnant women and says that the flu shot can also protect your baby for six months after birth.
Another thing to remember is that pregnant women should avoid getting sick in the first place because avoiding having to take antibiotics is the safer than taking them. So is it safe to take antibiotics during pregnancy? Baby Center.com‘s Gerald Briggs, a pharmacist clinical specialist, says, “Depends. Some antibiotics are safe to take throughout pregnancy, some pose known risks to a developing baby, and a host of others fall in between. When a drug falls into this last category, it’s because there’s not enough safety information available or the potential risk of the drug needs to be carefully weighed against the harmful effects of the condition it’s being used to treat.”
In other words, since your immune system is weaker in pregnancy, it’s best you don’t get sick in the first place. But how? By avoiding adults and children who are sick and washing your hands religiously to reduce your chance of becoming infected with a potentially harmful illness through bacteria. So if a friend has the sniffles and a cough and wants to come over for a visit, tell her honestly (and nicely of course!) that you’d love to see her, but that you’ll wait for that cup of tea with her once she’s better.
When it comes to a winter pregnancy, consider that the season also brings ice and snow with it and that equates to plenty of woops! Opportunities to slip and fall. Even when you weren’t pregnant, you were vulnerable for a good embarrassing wipe- out on the sidewalk, and since that belly of yours has you a bit off balance (and pregnant women are known to topple over sometimes) it’s best to get yourself a pair of sturdy rubber shoes with traction. As your uterus grows and rises out of the pelvis it will become important that injury to your belly is avoided. Falling onto your belly may not cause you any pain or discomfort, but there can be injury to the placenta, which can affect the baby. So, get yourself a sturdy pair of boots or shoes with deep treads and walk with confidence.
Speaking of getting outside to do some walking…. experts can’t stress enough how essential exercise is to a healthy pregnancy. But unfortunately the joys of winter hibernation pre-baby also come with the guilt and frustration of not getting enough exercise. If getting out is keeping you from breaking a sweat, rent or Netflix some prenatal DVDs and work that body at home. According to Parents.com, “new government guidelines now recommend that expecting moms get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week (that’s a half-hour a day for five days). Not only will working out regularly make it easier to lose your pregnancy pounds down the road, research shows it can reduce pregnancy complications and even make labor shorter. Plus, exercise is a known mood-booster.” And remember to drink water before and after exercise.
Winter also makes us all drink less water; but drinking the recommended 6-8 glasses of water a day will help you maintain a healthy state for both you and the baby not only on the inside, but also on the outside. Especially if you’re dealing with an itchy belly and dry skin, which is all the more common in the winter months when skin can be especially dry.
Remember, pre-mama, this your time to take care of yourself, so rest up, get fresh air, nap, eat well, don’t strain yourself lifting heavy things or shoveling snow, and avoid saunas and hot tubs, although the heat can be attractive. Also, don’t forget to treat yourself to a winter mocktail, because we all know you deserve it. There are way worse things in life than having to deal with a pregnancy in winter.