It is Christmas time. The most wonderful, hectic, parties galore, food-filled, hectic, pass-the-chocolate, alcohol-fueled, hectic, go-shopping-for-last-minute-everything time of the year. Did I repeat that Christmas is hectic? Sorry, but this time of year is, umm, busy.
And this year you’re pregnant at Christmas time, or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or Winter Solstice and all the other celebrations the end of the calendar year brings.
Whether you are nearing your due date and are about to deliver or are still in your first months, there are ways to help yourself to happy holidays and a happy pregnancy.
Try to relax. Cut yourself some slack and cut stuff out of your schedule. If you always do the Christmas dinner, tell your extended family that it is someone else’s turn this year. Tell them that your morning sickness or indigestion or swollen ankles (or anything else) will prevent you from cooking. Buy the cookies unless making cookies makes you happy. Or host the feast, but have everyone else bring all the food and do the cleanup. Shop online or give gift cards rather than fight crowds. Put presents in gift bags instead of wrapping them. If you do choose to do more, remember that Martha Stewart has a whole crew of people helping her do that picture perfect holiday, so say yes whenever anyone offers you a hand with anything.
Try to pace yourself. You still have time before Christmas to get the things done that you really feel you must do. By planning ahead and getting some chores like shopping finished early you can reduce your stress levels. But when in doubt, see the advice above.
Get enough sleep. Whenever you can and wherever you can, try to take a nap. Saying you need a little bit of shuteye can be a very handy excuse to get yourself out of almost anything, including having to fake enthusiasm at chatting with your cousin’s boring husband at your aunt’s annual party.
Watch what you eat. Yes, you can indulge in many of the holiday goodies, but be careful about certain foods. You don’t have to obsess about anything, but just use your common sense. Avoid soft cheeses, especially any cheeses that may not be pasteurized. If you are not sure, stick to hard cheese like Swiss or cheddar. Make sure that everything you eat has been cooked thoroughly and kept hot, or has been kept cold. Don’t eat leftovers that have been left out of the refrigerator for too long. Avoid homemade eggnog, especially if was made with uncooked eggs. A lot of foods (or their odors) can set off nausea or indigestion. Keep some crackers handy in a bag in your purse, along with some ginger or chamomile tea or anything else that you know helps settle your stomach.
Watch what you drink. No amount of alcohol has been proven to be safe at any time during pregnancy, but an alcoholic drink is considered even less safe early in your pregnancy. Have a mocktail, juice with seltzer, sparkling apple cider, nonalcoholic beer, or some hot cocoa. Offer to be the designated driver, if you want, but not if you think it might be too stressful.
More than anything else enjoy your holidays!