People say that being pregnant in the summer is difficult.
I agree, but I think there’s another time of year that’s hard.
I think it’s more challenging to deal with all the changes that pregnancy brings during the holidays.
That’s why I’m sharing these tips for expectant moms who want to enjoy the holidays.
Tip 1: Understand your limits and plan accordingly
Pregnancy causes all sorts of changes to our bodies.
It affects the way we eat, sleep, look, and feel.
It’s important to understand the new – and temporary – limits it creates.
For example, you might need to bring your own non-alcoholic bottle of bubbly to the family get-together.
And you might not be able to enjoy all the tasty goodies that you normally would.
Holiday shopping isn’t nearly as much fun when you’re constantly running to the bathroom and your feet swell.
Being aware of these challenges is good.
Don’t let it bring you down. You’re not a wet blanket and most people are very understanding.
You can still have a great time with a little preparation.
Buy yourself a pair of comfortable shoes for pregnant women.
Carry healthy (not sugary) snacks and bottled water with you. If you stay hydrated and keep your blood sugar balanced, you’ll have more energy. It can also improve your mood.
Break up tasks into smaller chunks so that you’re not wearing yourself out with marathon shopping days or hours of housecleaning back to back.
Warn friends and family ahead of time that you might need a little accommodation. This might include an afternoon nap.
Let them support you now as you may have the chance to return the favor in the future.
Tip 2: Positive mental attitude
I bet you know someone who hates the holidays.
It could be because they lost a loved one recently. Or perhaps all the commercialism upsets them.
In any case, this time of year brings out the best and sometimes the worst in people.
It’s difficult for pregnant women because the extra hormones bring out extra emotion.
That’s where a positive mental attitude can make the season more enjoyable.
Do things that make you happy.
Get outside in the sunshine and take a deep breath.
Cut open an orange or lemon and sniff the perky citrus fragrance.
Go for a walk or do a little exercise.
Play with the dog.
Remind yourself that most people mean well even if they don’t express it appropriately.
And remember that this too will pass.
Tip 3: Take care of your body
I’ve recently started practicing Tai Chi. It’s surprising how tired I get doing slow-motion kung fu!
It’s excellent for reducing stress and improving the cardiovascular system and back.
I highly recommend it for all pregnant women as it’s a very gentle but effective way to exercise.
You may not think that you have time during the holidays to work out, but that’s a lie.
Keep your body moving, and you’ll feel better.
You’ll be less prone to colds, too.
Also, get yourself a quart-size water bottle. You’ll need to empty that twice during the day to be sure you’ve had enough water.
Finally, be sure you’re eating enough protein and vegetables.
One way to do that is to drink them.
Have one of the best protein shakes for pregnant women and you won’t be as tempted to snack on holiday goodies.
Tip 4: Give yourself something to look forward to
If the holidays are especially rough for you, you need something to inspire you to get through them.
Plan a vacation or promise yourself a reward.
Make plans to get together with those you love.
Take time each day to do something you enjoy.
Sign up for an art class or something else that gets you enthusiastic.
The important thing is to know that the disruptions and chaos will pass.
Tip 5: Ask for help
I mentioned asking for support earlier when I discussed understanding your limits.
It’s difficult for me to ask for aid.
Although I dealt with two pregnancies with complications, my pride told me I was weak.
I didn’t want to be the one who always said no or someone who needed to be babied.
But then a good friend helped me get a new perspective.
She asked me if I would refuse to lend her a hand if she were in my situation.
That was a no-brainer. Of course I would help her!
The holidays bring out generosity and a spirit of community.
Take advantage of this.
I don’t mean that you should be mercenary. I mean that now is a good time to practice asking for help.
If you need someone to clean up your house because you’ve been too sick to do it, ask more than one person and make it fun with Christmas music and ordering pizza.
On the other hand, if there isn’t anyone available to do your grocery shopping, lots of stores deliver at a low cost.
There’s a way around most difficulties.
If money is tight, make it known that you’d love cash or gift cards instead of presents this year.
Hang in there with the support of family and friends.
Tip 6: Make it memorable
Imagine what it will be like to show your child photos and tell them about their “first” Christmas.
Start your scrapbook now.
Add the ultrasound image and write down or record your feelings and experiences.
One day, you’ll be glad you did.
Enjoy every minute you can this holiday season.