Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pregnancy and the Holidays

Pregnancy and the Holidays - Diane Peters

Your holiday pregnancy to-do (and not-do) list

By Diane Peters
It’s that time of year when everyone’s wearing their finest, chugging the rum and eggnog and shopping til they drop.

Not you. You’re hugely pregnant and interested in napping, doing prenatal yoga and avoiding people who want to chat about the gender of your fetus.

Still, the holidays are afoot, and you’ll have to participate. Here’s some do’s and don’ts for being festive in a healthy, fun and not-too-stressful way.

DO make an alcohol plan. “The problem is, we don’t have any idea what a safe level of drinking is in pregnancy,” says Manavi Handa, a Toronto-based midwife and associate professor in the midwifery education program at Ryerson University. Since there’s no sense of what’s truly safe — we know binge drinking is bad, but even moderate alcohol intake in pregnancy can sometimes lead to problems too — decide for yourself if you’ll have nothing or just half a glass on New Year’s, and have your partner support you.

DON’T stay up past your expiry date. “If others are up until 3 a.m., that doesn’t mean you can do that right now,” says Handa. Figure out an exit strategy for late parties or cocktail events where you’re on your feet. Avoid attending numerous events in one day and get home to rest when you need it.

DO call ahead and find out exactly where you’re sleeping. As many as 70 percent of women have back pain during pregnancy — and it gets a whole lot more common after a night on a blow-up mattress, ancient roll-out bed or the saggy double your mom should have thrown out a decade ago. If your host doesn’t have a good bed for you, change your plans. And score some extra pillows before bed wherever you do sleep over.

DON’T attend events with a lot of baby-hungry people who will try to pump you for the name of your child or your private birthing plans. When you do attend social events, come armed with meaty anecdotes about past holiday disasters and workplace scandals to avoid baby talk if it’s getting on your nerves.

DO stay active and keep doing winter sports. “For people who regularly exercise or go to the gym, keep doing all those things,” says Handa. While pregnant women must be careful doing sports where falling is a risk, an extremely skilled downhill skier could in theory still hit the (baby) slopes while pregnant. Or play safe by walking on trails or cross-country skiing on flat terrain.

DON’T go crazy at the buffet table. “Don’t use pregnancy as an excuse to eat anything and everything,” warns Handa. Everyone struggles with moderation this time of year, but overdoing it and putting on extra pounds can have a health impact for you and your baby.

DO
online shop. Who needs the malls with the crowds and the lineups? And do keep a budget: that baby on the way is going to cost you a bit more very soon.

And the last holiday “do” — enjoy it. “This is a really lovely time to be nurtured by the people who love you and to spend time focusing on the family and getting away from work for a bit,” says Handa. “Let others pamper you during the holidays.”