The holidays can be a fun and exciting time for the expectant mother, filled with cheerful family and friends and an onslaught of gifts for baby-to-be. Unfortunately, many pregnant women might find the constant string of parties to be a bit much if they’re unprepared. Rest assured, just because a woman is pregnant, that does not mean she can’t enjoy a little holiday spirit, good eats, and dancing.
Food: How to Survive the Buffet
Navigating the buffet table can be a daunting task for the pregnant woman. Identifying and choosing healthy foods, or knowing when enough is enough, are key to feeling good all party long.
- “The principles of healthy eating still hold during the holiday season” (Greenfield), but that doesn’t mean skipping out altogether. Choose wisely and think moderation.
- Avoid any pregnancy no-nos. Unpasteurized cheese, undercooked meat or eggs should be avoided altogether. Limit chocolate, as it contains caffeine. Keep in mind that traditional egg nog is made with raw eggs, which should be avoided during pregnancy.
- Fried foods, spicy dishes and super-rich concoctions are recipes for heartburn (Green-Spangler), so just have a taste and move on to something lighter.
- “Foods that have been sitting out without a flame or without being chilled should also be avoided as food poisoning could result” (Green-Spangler).
- Ask the host what’s on the menu beforehand. If there aren’t enough options that sound appetizing (or healthy), a pregnant guest can always bring snacks (Weiss). Eating before the party will also help curb a woman’s appetite.
- If weight gain during the holidays is a concern, adding exercise to the daily routine will help counteract over-eating at the buffet.
Alcohol: Ways to Avoid Liquor
Missing out on a toast or accidentally letting a pregnancy secret slip can be a real holiday let-down. Planning beforehand can help a woman politely turn down offers of alcohol, stay healthy, and keep the early-pregnancy secret if necessary.
- “Pregnant woman should avoid getting drinks from others in case it’s an alcoholic drink” (Weiss).
- To keep the secret, carrying around a drink that looks alcoholic but isn’t won’t draw attention to a pregnant woman’s abstention.
- For those that feel like they’re missing out, non-alcoholic beer, sparkling or traditional fruit juice, soda, or mocktails are acceptable alternatives.
Clothing and Comfort
Sometimes, the hardest thing for a pregnant woman is staying comfortable. Out of the house, dressed to the nines, and miles from her sweatpants, she might want to scream. Here’s a few tips for being prepared and staying stylish:
- Dress in layers to avoid overheating.
- Instead of splurging on a new holiday wardrobe that will likely never be worn again, a pregnant woman should try to borrow clothes from friends if possible. If not, buying versatile and comfortable items is the best strategy.
- Skip the high heels and pantyhose, as they can lead to swollen legs and feet or – worse – falling down (Weiss). Pick shoes for comfort that are also safe for traveling in ice and snow.
- If she’ll be at someone’s home, a pregnant woman can bring a stylish pair of slippers along, just in case.
- At the party, staying stationary in a comfy chair allows other guests to do the standing and the walking. Plus, she’ll likely stay longer at the party if she can say the strain on her feet, legs and back (Weiss).
Not all pregnant women love the attention their belly brings them, or the swarm of touchy-feely hands. It’s human nature to reach out and touch a pregnant belly, and at holiday parties, a showing pregnant woman should be prepared how to handle it.
- For those who don’t like the attention, keep in mind that the motives aren’t malicious. Politely mentioning discomfort or backing away slightly as friends and family approach should send the message.
- Carrying food and drink in front of the stomach serves as a barrier.
- “Pat your own tummy, which blocks another’s access” (Weiss).
Green-Spangler, K. (n.d.) “Holiday Partying Done Light!” StorkNet’s Pregnancy Channel
Greenfield, Dr. M. (2004). “Holiday Parties during Pregnancy.” Dr. Spock.
Weiss, R. E. (2009). “Surviving a Party When Pregnant.” About.com Pregnancy & Childbirth