Pregnant? Be sure to pencil in some rest and relaxation this holiday season. (For Spectrum Health Beat)
Pregnant? Be sure to pencil in some rest and relaxation this holiday season. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

I truly do love this time of year—the lights, the decorations, the music and the Christmas story.

I was pregnant during Christmas with three of my children. During two of those pregnancies—one where my child was born in January, and one born in February—I felt uncomfortable and tired.

Depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy, there are some important things to think about. You may be battling morning sickness in the beginning, or you might be overcome by exhaustion toward the end.

Wherever you are in the journey, here are five tips to help you along the way:

1. Put rest and sleep on your to-do list.

With the business of the holidays, and then being pregnant on top of that, sleep can be hard to come by. So be sure to schedule your naps. This may mean taking naps after work, or getting plenty of nap time on the weekend. Schedule ample rest time for yourself and time to just relax

2. Manage your time.

This may sound easy, but in reality it can be very difficult. Start by listing activities that are normal for you: parties and outings, decorating, baking, shopping and so on. Take that list and see what’s a priority for this year.

It may be difficult, but you need to remind yourself that you are growing a baby and you don’t have to do everything. I’m not saying you can’t go shopping or enjoy a party here and there, but you should pace yourself. For instance:

  • Try to tackle shopping in several short trips, instead of long days.
  • Stay hydrated—bring that water bottle along.
  • Try baking over a longer period—maybe several days, instead of a marathon baking session.
  • If you’re near your third trimester, always check with your doctor about traveling.

3. Ask for help.

Is it your turn for the family party or to make treats for a gathering? Be willing to ask other people to help—and remember too that you’re allowed to say no.

I’ll remind you again: This Christmas, you are growing that precious bundle inside you. Most people are very understanding of pregnancy and they’d like to help you if they know how.

4. Be Comfortable.

There are plenty of cute maternity clothes out there for your Christmas parties, from the very dressy to the simpler T-shirt. There are also incredibly cute Christmas and winter shirts. And keep in mind comfortable shoe wear, especially with all the snow and ice outside.

5. With holiday food, moderation is key.

  • Cheese: You may be served hors d’oeuvres, which often include cheese. Remember to avoid any soft cheeses such as blue cheese, brie, camembert or Gorgonzola. Most of the time these cheeses are pasteurized, but if they’re not, it could be a concern to a pregnant mother.
  • Baking: When baking, remember to avoid sampling the raw dough of cakes, pies or cookies. Raw eggs put you at risk for salmonella. You’ll have to be patient and wait for the finished product.
  • Veggies: These are great, so fill your plate with many colors and varieties. Always make sure they have been washed before preparation.
  • Drinks: What about drinks? Continue to drink lots of water. We know it’s important to keep hydrated. Cider is good if it’s pasteurized, and eggnog is also fine if it’s pasteurized and provided without alcohol. Alcohol should be avoided.
  • Desserts: These are great in moderation. During the holidays, a woman who is not pregnant will gain an average of about 5 to 10 pounds. You can avoid this weight gain by not overindulging on desserts.
  • Portions: If you’re pregnant, it may be difficult to eat a large amount of food at one time. I would suggest making smaller amounts of food. This way, you can also have that special Christmas dessert.

Enjoy this Christmas. This time next year, your baby will experience the Holidays right alongside you.