Christmas and Pregnant

Christmas and Pregnant

My first child was due in early January, so I know all about being pregnant at Christmas. I look massive in all of the photos, but somehow still managed a festive smile, despite being the grumpiest person at every party. It can be challenging being pregnant around Christmas, as there are suddenly traditions that you can’t take part in, and treats that you really shouldn’t have.

Here’s our cheatsheet on what you need to know about being pregnant at Christmas

Don’t drink

This one is probably a no-brainer, but all of that holidaytime alcohol you normally down will have to be drunk by someone else this year. If you need social lubrication to put up with certain gatherings or family members, then you might want to prepare yourself mentally, because there will be no grog to help this year.

At parties make sure that you bring a not entirely boring option for you, such as sparkling apple juice or non-alcoholic wine, because it really does make you feel better to have a joyful glass of something. Make sure you don’t just help yourself to any punch however without finding out what is in it first.

What if nobody knows yet?

If you are in the first trimester and trying to keep things a secret still, it can be a bit of a giveaway if you are not drinking. This is even more so if you are normally the first one to partake. You could volunteer to be the driver and use this as your excuse, or tell people that you are on a strict diet. Another one that I find works well is telling people you are antibiotics for something and can’t have any alcohol.

Watch what you eat

As well as avoiding alcohol, there are quite a few Christmas foods that you should steer clear of while pregnant. A lot of them make regular appearances at an Aussie Christmas function unfortunately.

Here is a rundown of what to watch out for:

  • Don’t eat cold cooked meat such as ham, salami, cabana, chicken or turkey
  • Don’t eat premade salads that you are unsure are not super fresh. It is the mayonnaise in this that can be the problem. If you have made something yourself you are fine, but watch out for buffets where you don’t know how long things have been sitting out for.
  • Avoid precooked seafood, again especially if it may have been a room temperature for sometime.
  • Avoid soft cheeses such as brie, camembert or fetta
  • Watch out for cold rice dishes such as salad or sushi. If there is ham or seafood or mayonnaise in it then avoid it even more. But just the rice can grow bacteria unless very hot or very cold.

Although its not the traditional Aussie way, you are safest with Christmas fare if you just eat everything scalding hot.

Fancy outfits

You may need to dress up for formal functions, which can be a challenge if you have a bit of a belly. Fortunately, maternity wear is incredible these days, and high-quality designers have entered this market, making your selections a lot more widespread.

If possible though, you may want to borrow an outfit from a friend, or hire one from an agency, because you might only get one wear out of this.

Awkward family functions

Family gatherings and mingling with people you don’t know or don’t really feel comfortable with is part and parcel for Christmas.

This can be even harder for pregnant women, with random strangers telling you how much weight you’ve put on, or how their own pregnancy was a dream or rubbing your stomach without asking. People have lowered inhibitions and sense of personal and polite space at Christmas, and the person most affected by this at the party is the pregnant lady.

You may need to grit your teeth and bare things a little for the sake of family harmony, or to not offend your boss’ opinionated wife. Be ready for some awkward conversations and maybe have some prepared pleasant answers to rather silly comments.

Long drives and air travel

This time of year requires a lot of travelling, and may mean long drives or even flights. You just need to be a little prepared for this, given your changing state.

You may be more likely to suffer from travel sickness, swollen legs and ankles, and a sore back than before you were pregnant. Plan for more toilet breaks and to get up and walk around when you can. Be aware of the food you should avoid as mentioned above.

If you are staying away from home you may want to pack some extra comforts, because the last thing you will be is comfortable. Bring your own pillow, and if you are using one, a pillow for your belly. Make sure that wherever you are going there is air conditioning.

If you are in your last month most airlines won’t let you travel, and you may not even want to go very far from your obstetrician, so make allowances for this. Feel absolutely within your rights to tell everybody you are staying home this year.

Rest and take it easy

You will be more tired than usual, and you need to not push yourself as much as you normally might this time of year. Have naps whenever you can, and say no to some events and gatherings if you need to. Shop online; you are only going to be doing this more and more as your kids get older, so you might as well start now.

The unbearable heat

Australian Christmas is hot, and when you are pregnant, you are about 10 degrees hotter than everybody else in the room. Make sure you have lots of water, access to a fan at all times, and do not feel guilty if you just want to go and lie down somewhere cool and quiet. People I find will forgive whatever grumpy mood you throw at them when you’re heavily pregnant, and you can get away with quite a bit.

Next year it will be all about the baby, so let’s make this last one all about you. Put your feet up, sit right in front of the air conditioner, and make people bring you sparkling apple juice and any kinds of dessert you want. You will be hot, tired and very uncomfortable, but that’s no reason to not have fun.