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Pregnancy, no matter what the season, is truly one of the most miraculous journeys a woman (and her partner!) will ever experience. As you watch your body grow your precious baby for nine months, you’ll continually be amazed at the process, and at the same time as your belly expands and your baby grows, Mother Nature will also be providing her own miracles with the change of the seasons.
Every season brings along it’s own beauty, but summer and winter pregnancies offer up a few more challenges with the elements. If you find yourself pregnant during the cold and frosty months of winter, you will be faced with seasonal hazards such as freezing temps and icy walkways, but that doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying every precious second of your pregnancy, even in your third trimester.
Mighty Mommy has experienced pregnancy in every season and loved winter the most! Here are five cool tips to keep you warm and cozy during this very special time in your life.
- Tip #1: Drink Up
- Tip #2: Get Your Flu Shot
- Tip #3: Stay In and Get Organized
- Tip #4: Get Walking
- Tip #5: Relax and Get Ready
Let’s dive deeper into each tip.
Tip #1: Drink Up
During the winter, we certainly aren’t facing scorching temps, but we are dealing with dry winter air and perhaps working in a building that has cranked the heat up so it’s very possible to become overheated or dehydrated. Dehydration can cause problems ranging from lightheadedness to preterm labor, so stay ahead of the game by drinking water all day long.
Experts recommend six to eight glasses of water a day, and more if you are active or facing extreme temperatures. “Getting plenty of water is essential during pregnancy. It helps carry nutrients through your body to your baby, helps maintain healthy levels of amniotic fluid, and can even help prevent bladder infections, constipation, and swelling, which are common complaints during pregnancy. For these reasons, it’s important that you get plenty of water and don’t become dehydrated (especially later in pregnancy, when dehydration may cause contractions). To know if you’re drinking enough, check your urine — it should be a light yellow color. If you’re peeing less than usual or if your urine is very dark yellow, then you might be dehydrated and should increase your fluid intake.”
I credit the healthy habit of drinking water faithfully throughout all my pregnancies as the reason I’ve maintained my eight glasses a day for nearly 20 years! I drank water routinely (still do) even when I wasn’t feeling thirsty, and it really helped keep me feeling fresh and on top of my game.
Tip #2: Get Your Flu Shot
I openly admit I was never one to get a flu shot before I had kids. I suppose I felt because I was a young, hard-working career gal that I had too many other things to tend to rather than taking time out of my busy work schedule to see my doctor for a preventive shot when I had never really experienced the flu. Well, that all changed during my second pregnancy. I had a toddler and was now pregnant and my resistance was much lower than it had ever been while working full-time so when flu season hit, I went down—and hard! My OB/GYN had highly recommended getting a flu shot, but I didn’t listen. After that awful experience of being so sick, I vowed I would always get my flu shot from then on out.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that pregnant women get their flu shots during any trimester of their pregnancy to protect themselves and their newborn babies from flu. They state that flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in healthy women who are not pregnant. Changes in the immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make pregnant women (and women who have given birth during the past two weeks) more prone to severe illness from flu, including illness resulting in hospitalization. In addition, studies have shown that vaccinating a pregnant woman also can protect a baby after birth from flu. For more information you can visit the CDC’s Pregnant Women and Influenza.
Tip #3: Stay In and Get Organized
My seven pregnancies were all a little different with one exception—my urge to nest! When I entered my last trimester, particularly well into my eigth month, I always got an incredible desire to clean and organize my entire house. This included emptying every cupboard, drawer, closet, and shelf and then straighten, purge, dust, and reorganize nearly everything that came in my path. (And yes, even the garage and shed!) I had read about women nesting as they were about to give birth but I had a whole new appreciation for this once it happened to me. In fact, I went into labor with my first baby as I was polishing all the wood in our entryway—my water broke and I left for the hospital smelling like Lemon Pledge!
A winter pregnancy is a great time to get your home in order because when it’s snowy and icy outside, you can putter inside your cozy home and spend time getting organized before baby arrives. You can also take some time to cook and bake so you can have some heartwarming, comfort food to nourish you now as well as in those first weeks home from the hospital if you double the batch and freeze a few things.
Tip #4: Get Walking
It’s certainly not as easy to get out and grab some exercise in the great outdoors when you’re sporting a large belly and have to navigate icy sidewalks or snowy pathways but don’t let the winter months keep you from taking some healthy strolls throughout your pregnancy.
Don’t let the winter months keep you from taking some healthy strolls throughout your pregnancy.
Be sure to check with your physician or midwife first, but once you get their blessing you can incorporate a walking regimen into your pregnancy despite the weather outside. “I recommend walking to most of my patients who are pregnant,” says Tanya Ghatan, M.D., an OB-GYN at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “It’s easy entry for women who’ve never exercised and gives athletic women a way to stay active without the high impact of other activities they’ve participated in.” If you have a treadmill you can hop on that a few times a week but take advantage of walking a large department or grocery store that you might not normally visit. You can get your steps in and have fun exploring at the same time.
I’ve long been a power walker so a brisk walk was always my exercise of choice when I was pregnant. I delivered a 10 ½ lb baby boy in February of 1999, while only gaining about 25 lbs., and I believe that’s because I walked every day throughout my pregnancy. During those frigid winter months I enjoyed a terrific set of walking DVDs by fitness expert Leslie Sansone. I could walk several miles right in my living room and her walking program was a total blast.
A few other popular DVD workouts are “The Complete Fit & Healthy Pregnancy Workout with Gabrielle Reece,” “Tracey Mallett’s 3 in 1 Pregnancy System” and “Denise Austin: Fit & Firm Pregnancy.” You can also check your library or Netflix for additional titles that will help you put a spring in your winter step.
Tip #5: Relax and Get Ready
During the winter that I was pregnant and had my fifth child, it just so happened to be one of the snowiest winters we had had in Rhode Island in quite a while. I was very pregnant and juggling four small children as well as working part-time as a writer at our local paper. The last month of my pregnancy was a true winter wonderland so rather than trying to keep up with some of my usual activities that took me out and about, I decided to just go with it and focused on enjoying time in my own home.
I concentrated on making sure the nursery was ready and even hand-painted a dresser for my son. I worked on my other children’s scrapbooks, indulged in reading a stack of magazines I had been saving for weeks, soaked in warm bubble baths, and even hired a baby sitter to come watch my other kids so I could retreat to my bedroom and sneak in a few naps or just have quiet time to myself.
Those last few weeks of my winter pregnancy were a gift to myself, and it really did keep me relaxed and ready to take on baby #5.
What are you doing to enjoy a winter pregnancy? Share your thoughts in the comments section
Image of pregnant mother walking a dog © Shutterstock