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Pregnancy During the Holidays

Pregnant during the holidays? We hosted a Twitter chat with three OB/GYNs from UT Southwestern Medical Center (read their bios below) to get tips for handling the holidays while you’re expecting. Read on for their answers to questions ranging from travel to food to holiday shopping.
 
Is it safe to travel while pregnant?
Yes, it’s safe to travel while pregnant. Tips:

  • Know the location of the closest hospital
  • Take your updated prenatal chart 

Pay attention to how you feel, especially in the first trimester. Fatigue and nausea can be challenges. Also consider prior pregnancies. If you had a pre-term delivery or high-risk issue, it may be best to stay close to home.
 
We’ll be driving 9 hours to see family. How often should we stop along the way?
Every 2–3 hours. Think about leg stretches and ankle circles. Also consider: You probably will need bathroom breaks.
 
How about flying? Are there limits?
It’s safe to fly while pregnant, but avoid being too far from home after the 36-week mark. Check with the airlines. Flying in the late stages of pregnancy may be prohibited or require special permission. Other tips:

  • Get a seat with extra leg room or on the aisle.
  • Walk the aisles every hour or so to stretch.
  • Stay hydrated.

With big holiday meals around the corner, what’s OK for me to eat and what should I avoid?
Avoid fatty or spicy foods if you are prone to acid reflux, because they can make the problem worse. Make sure to wash fruits and veggies well. Buy pasteurized eggs if your recipe calls for raw eggs, like eggnog. Also avoid unpasteurized cheese and deli meats. They can harbor the bacteria listeria, which can become a serious infection. Limit caffeine to under 200mg per day (one cup of coffee).
 
What are some healthy foods to eat at holiday gatherings?
At holiday gatherings, eat foods that are high in protein and fiber and are rich in vitamins and minerals. Common healthy foods include fresh fruits and veggies, nuts and beans. Fish is healthy and has protein and Omega-3 fatty acids. Don’t eat more than two servings a week of those high in mercury. Along with all the tasty food, remember to stay hydrated. Water is best.
 
How many holiday sweets can I have, or should I stay away from all of it?
No reason to stay away from all sweets. Maybe make your partner split them so you can taste more. Consider increasing your activity a little with walks to account for the extra calories and maybe enjoy holiday lights.
 
I’m in my third trimester. Would a quick toast to the new year be OK?
There’s no known amount of alcohol that’s safe. We know that first trimester and binge drinking are known to be dangerous. There are no studies that suggest that during the third trimester the occasional drink — including on New Year’s Eve — is harmful.
 
I still want to help out with decorating, cooking, etc. Any physical activity I should specifically stay away from?
Your balance may be a little off. Avoid ladders. Direct the troops from the ground. Get help with heavy platters of food.
 
How about holiday shopping? Any recommendations?
Holiday shopping can be overwhelming even when you’re not pregnant. Reduce stress: Shop at off hours or online. As you shop, take breaks to sit down, hydrate and get something to eat. Valet parking is one way to save energy.
 
What if the baby is expected to arrive during the holiday festivities? Should we just stay home?
There’s no reason to stay home if your family/friends are local. Leave the planning, hosting, and cleanup to someone else. If the due date is close and the holiday gathering is far away, consider staying home. It’s a chance to start traditions.