No matter the season, pregnancy brings its fair share of challenges. Whether that’s staying cool in summer or staying safe while traveling in winter, new and veteran moms alike worry about how best to care for themselves and baby — without going crazy in the process.
Although pregnancy worries can seem insurmountable at the time, there are a number of simple, common sense things you can do to keep you and baby healthy and happy throughout your pregnancy.
Here are seven simple tips to get you through a winter pregnancy:
- Take Your Vitamins
Taking a daily vitamin is one of the simplest, easiest things you can do for your growing little one. It’s a highly effective, low effort step you can take to ensure baby’s health, no matter the season.
While you should strive to have a diet rich in crucial vitamins and minerals, a daily prenatal can help pick up the slack on those off days, or ensure you get your daily vitamin D when winter weather keeps you out of the sun.
- Don’t Eat for Two
Despite holiday feasts and the temptation to curl up with warm blanket and a pile of snacks, the fact remains that eating for two is just a myth.
Pregnant women only need about 300 extra calories a day to support the demands of pregnancy. Exceeding that amount by “eating for two” can lead to gaining too much weight. Putting on too many extra pounds can put you at risk of gestational diabetes, the need for Caesarean due to baby’s higher birth weight, high blood pressure or back issues.
- Stay Warm but Don’t Overheat
While overheating is usually a concern for those with a summer due date, it should be a concern for winter pregnancies as well.
A big part of the “overheating” danger is the risk of dehydration. Opt for water over sugary drinks, which can act as diuretics and can do more dehydrating than hydrating.
Additionally, don’t put yourself in a position where you’ll sweat out much needed fluids. Sit a little farther back when roasting chestnuts over that open fire. Bundle up in layers so you can easily adjust as you warm up.
- Find Ways to Exercise
Cold temperatures and nasty storms can make it difficult to keep up with an exercise routine, even without taking pregnancy into account.
Mild exercise is good for you and baby, which is why it is important to keep at it, no matter the temperatures. While most winter sports pose a fall risk, simple at-home exercises or daily walks can go a long way toward fighting pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Keep up With Your Appointments
Even though winter weather makes it very tempting to stay indoors, it’s important to keep up with your prenatal visits. Only postpone if the weather poses a true danger to travel, and not a chilly inconvenience.
Prenatal checks are one of the best ways for doctors to ensure everything is going well with you and baby. Regular visits help your OB keep an eye out for, and catch, issues like spontaneous preterm labor and premature rupture of membranes which together account for about 70% of premature births.
- Plan for Winter Weather
A snowstorm can complicate just about anything, whether it’s getting to your checkup or getting to the hospital when baby’s ready to arrive.
Do what you can to prepare yourself for rough weather:
- Spring for snow tires on your car.
- Keep ice-melting supplies ready to go.
- Pick a weather app to give you advance warning of storms.
- Cover your side mirrors and windshield wipers so you don’t have to de-ice them.
- Plan for your snow removal.
Snow shoveling while pregnant is a big no-no, so make sure you arrange for someone — whether that’s your partner, a local kid or a professional removal service — to take care of your snow for you. Your back and your baby will thank you.
- Treat Yourself
You are growing a tiny human! If you don’t deserve to treat yourself, who does?
Splurge for those luxurious lotions and creams to keep your skin moisturized and healthy despite dry, harsh winter air. Get your partner to use some of those techniques from your Lamaze class to give you a moisturizing, relaxing massage.
You could also get a pedicure. It may not be sandal weather, but it beats contorting to take care of those nails yourself.
You might want to get away for a day by yourself or for a weekend with your partner before baby arrives. Have older kids? Use the winter weather as an excuse to turn down other invitations and cuddle up with your munchkins. Enjoy quality time with them before their world changes, too.
There’s no need for freezing temps or pregnancy symptoms to get you down. A little common sense and a lot of self care are all you need to ensure a happy, healthy winter pregnancy