Pregnancy Advice for the Holiday Season

Parenting • Dec 05, 2023

Pregnancy Advice for the Holiday Season

Congratulations, you’re pregnant – and you get to celebrate over the holiday season! The holidays can be exciting and stressful, even without pregnancy added to the mix. Whether you are announcing a new pregnancy this season or welcoming your new addition soon, here are some tips on having a happy and safe holiday season while expecting.

You’ve waited all year for festive treats: what do you need to know about holiday food safety while pregnant?

  • First and foremost, make sure you (and those preparing your food) are practicing good hand hygiene!
  • It is best to consume meat, fish, and egg products that are fully cooked.
  • Is charcuterie on the menu? It is recommended to consume dairy and soft cheeses (like feta, brie, and gorgonzola) that are fully pasteurized. Deli meats should be heated to steaming hot just before serving.
  • Refrigerated, smoked seafood, and pre-prepared meat spreads should be avoided in pregnancy.
  • Fruits and vegetables should be rinsed under running water for approximately 30 seconds before eating.
  • Enjoy your favorite festive-flavored latte this season: just make sure you consume 200 mg of caffeine or less per day (1 shot of espresso has about 75 mg of caffeine).

Dashing through the snow (or holiday traffic): Is it safe to travel while pregnant?

  • In most cases, women can safely travel until close to their due dates. Most airlines allow pregnant women to fly domestically until 36 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Whether traveling by plane or car, always wear your seatbelt and walk around frequently (about once per hour) to keep your blood pumping and stretch your legs!
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes and stay hydrated.
  • Be aware of the closest hospital to your travel destination in case of an emergency. It’s a good idea to bring a copy of your prenatal records with you.
  • If you plan to travel long distances or internationally, check in with your ob/gyn or prenatal provider to review your travel plans and to make sure you are safe to take your trip.

Maybe this year isn’t so merry and bright? What to know about seasonal mood changes:

  • Sometimes, the holidays can be hard. We may miss friends and family members, and some holiday traditions may change over time.
  • Anxiety and depression are very common among pregnant and postpartum women. On top of this, an estimated 5-10% of people (even more for those with a history of depression) experience seasonal affective disorder – or feelings of depressed mood in the winter months.
  • The good news is all of these conditions are manageable! If you have concerns about your mood, your ob/gyn, midwife, or primary care physician can provide appropriate screening tests for mood-related conditions and talk with you about counseling or medication options that may be appropriate for you.
  • Everyone can benefit from self-care during the holiday season. Make time each day for at least one activity you enjoy, consume a nutritious diet, prioritize healthy sleep habits, and incorporate daily movement to keep your body and mind healthy.

More tinsel and less tension: How to set holiday boundaries with your loved ones.

  • Setting boundaries can help protect your physical and mental health and the health of your unborn (or brand new) baby.
  • Sometimes, boundary setting can be hard. After all, parenting is a little different today than it was for your parents and grandparents! Clear communication with friends and family can help them to understand your priorities for yourself and your family.
  • The holidays fall right in the middle of cold and flu season. Don’t be afraid to ask family members about illnesses they may be experiencing. If you or someone you plan to visit is sick – it might be best to hold off on visiting until everyone feels better.
  • “When are you going to have a baby?” This question can be hurtful for those struggling to conceive and annoying to those not ready to expand their family. If you are asked this question, you can keep your answer simple (we’re not sure!), tell the person asking that it’s a personal question, or go into detail about this season of your life. The point is to answer in a way that makes you feel most comfortable. Don’t forget about your personal boundaries!

If you have any questions about your pregnancy this holiday season, please reach out to your ob/gyn or prenatal provider for more information. If you need an ob/gyn, find the Ob/Gyn provider for you. Best wishes for a festive season and a happy (and healthy) new year!