Perhaps it’s too late to remind you that rushing around isn't good for you when you've probably spent the last three weeks in check out queues or pounding the high street for gifts! However, there are a few simple reminders that can help you to get the most out of the holiday period.
Tis the season to be jolly
There is no cast-iron equation for drinking safely during pregnancy, although a small glass of something can probably be left up to your own instinct and conscience. Many women do experience heartburn with sparkling wine, however, and even one sip can lead to hours of discomfort.
Treat yourself to some exotic non-alcoholic drinks with which to fill your glass when everyone else might be on their third port. Fruit juices are all very well, but they can get a bit monotonous.
Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. If you’re used to a favourite mineral water and you’re visiting friends or relatives over Christmas, think about taking some bottles along; you’ll be surprised how many generous hosts get so excited about stocking the bar, they forget the non-drinkers.
Additionally, if you’re drinking soft drinks like lemonade or tonic, take a discreet look at the label. It is better to opt for full-sugar drinks rather than those with saccharin in. It’s hard to avoid sweeteners altogether, but aspartame does appear to be preferable to saccharin. For more information, read Sweeteners and Fizzy Drinks.
You could also try the non-alcoholic wines and spirits from a fab company called LoNo.
As stuffed as the turkey
It might be your favourite meal of the year, but don't make Christmas lunch a reason to over-fill yourself. Throughout pregnancy, eating smaller meals more regularly is going to be a lot easier on your digestive system.
If you are visiting, don’t be afraid to ask for your plate to be filled more lightly. A passing reminder that you’re pregnant should allay any fears that your host’s cooking wasn’t sufficiently tempting. You can always reassure the chef that you might well be nipping back off to the kitchen between meals to get a snack when your energy levels are running low.
You’re pregnant and you need to keep your food supply going, so don’t be afraid to ask for nibbles. Better still, if you're out visiting, it might be a good idea to take along some fruit, nuts or other snacks you know suit you. Even in the early stages of pregnancy, you know better than anyone what satisfies your hunger or your cravings.
And bear in mind that buffets filled with ‘ready meal’ treats from supermarkets should be approached with caution. Food that has been left to cool down or has been sitting around for some time is more likely to upset you when you’re pregnant than when you are not, even if you usually have a ‘strong constitution’. For more information, read Foods to Avoid in Pregnancy.
The grand tour
If you’re doing a lot of travelling over the holiday, whether by train, plane or car, make sure you take plenty of opportunities to get up and move around. On long motorway journeys, make a couple more service station stops than you usually would. Now more than ever, holding on for a loo-break rather than going when you get the urge is not a good idea, and stretching your legs to stimulate circulation is advisable, at least every couple of hours.
Depending on how far into pregnancy you are, it is a good idea to get into the habit of carrying your hospital notes around (just in your suitcase – not under your arm!) in case you need to see a doctor whilst away. In the early weeks, put the number of your midwives team from back home into your phone or notebook. Sometimes just a quick call to the duty nurse will help explain a worrying twinge or two.
In a car, when you’re heavily pregnant, make sure the lap-strap of your seatbelt is below your belly. For more information, read Safe Travel in Pregnancy.
Time out on your time off
Although it’s not true for everyone, it’s increasingly common to get a few extra days off between Christmas and New Year. If you and your partner are off together, make the most of being at home and use the festive spirit as a good excuse not to fill the time up with household chores.
If your ‘nesting’ instincts get the better of you and you fancy changing the spare room into a nursery, make sure you’re not the one doing paint-stripping, and give paint fumes a wide birth. Any excessive odours can be upsetting at best.
Instead, it’s far better to use the time together to relax. Do something which isn’t taxing but does get you out in the fresh air for a while, and enjoy the peace of being able to finish a magazine or a book. You won’t have that luxury for much longer!