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Being Pregnant Over Christmas & New Year

Being pregnant during the summer months can be pretty rough, but being pregnant over the festive season comes with it’s own challenges. It can be a minefield when it comes to knowing what you should avoid doing, and what you can do to pamper yourself a little bit during the most wonderful time of the year.

We’ve had a chat with the parents over in our online community, as well as consulting the NHS guidelines, to bring our pregnant followers some top tips.

Top Tips For Safely Enjoying The Festivities While Pregnant…

All medical advice is provided by the NHS and evidence based!

Don’t drink alcohol

Some mummies-to-be are unaware that the advice about alcohol during pregnancy is now to avoid entirely; we don’t know how much is a ‘safe’ limit, and even small quantities have been attributed to complications such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, so it is safest to avoid alcoholic beverages altogether even if people you know have been ‘fine’. Instead, why not indulge in a mocktail, or an alcohol-free alternative? Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide, but it’s great to be equipped with the right information!

Find the NHS advice on this here.

Rest, rest, rest!

We’re sure that this goes without saying…

Take this opportunity to put your feet up, enjoy Christmas films with your loved ones, and unwind as much as possible. If you already have children running around and needing mummy to do things, it’s a great opportunity for…

  • Your other half to start pitching in more!
  • Starting to teach self care skills and independence to your children if they’re ready; brushing teeth and hair, getting dressed and organising their own things is a good place to start.
  • Allocating simple chores to older children; maybe offer an incentive like a sweet or pocket money?

Don’t feel under pressure to accept every social invitation

If you’re a social butterfly, Christmas is probably going to be a flurry of invitations to parties, nights in with friends, shopping trips and all manner of exciting events!

If you’re expecting a baby, it’s important to know your limits. If you’re not feeling up to it and would rather have a night in with a blanket, takeaway and pyjamas, don’t be afraid to be honest with the host who has invited you. If they’re a genuine friend, they’ll totally understand and will encourage you to enjoy the rest as much as possible whilst you still can!

Don’t overdo the Christmas shopping – that’s what the internet is for!

It’s important not to physically overdo things, something that is easily done when Christmas shopping. Instead of lugging huge bags full of goodies around town, why not consider ordering online? You may usually prefer to shop in person, but it’s just for this year and will help to prevent any physical strain.

Alternatively, send your other half out with a list!

Accept help

Don’t be too proud to ask for, or accept a helping hand!

One top tip we’ve spotted is to ask for batch cooked meals that you can freeze if anyone asks if you need any help/gifts/specific items buying for you. In all honesty, this will be a lifesaver over Christmas and during your maternity leave… it’s so much easier to be able to pull out a fully prepared dinner and shove it into the microwave or oven when you’re tired and preoccupied with baby!

Avoid food that poses a listeria risk

Festive food, especially party buffets, tend to feature traditional picks that aren’t safe for pregnant women! This, like alcohol, carries some misconceptions… The ‘old’ advice may have been that it’s ok to eat certain things but we now know the risk of listeria during pregnancy, so it’s advisable to avoid…

  • Soft cheese with white rinds (unless cooked)
  • Soft blue cheese (unless cooked)
  • Raw eggs – if they’re Lion Code Stamped, a cooked egg with a runny yolk is now advised as ok to eat. Non-chicken eggs should not have runny yolks, though.
  • All types of pâté – a high listeria risk and too much Vitamin A for a growing unborn baby.
  • Raw or undercooked meat.
  • Cold cured meats – if ready to eat, you can freeze for 4 days to kill any parasites before eating.
  • Liver, as it is too high in Vitamin A.
  • Haggis
  • Game shot with lead bullets
  • Vitamin and fish oil supplements high in Vitamin A. Take specific pregnancy vitamins instead.
  • Eat no more than 2 tuna steaks per week, or 4 medium cans of tuna.
  • Raw fish or shellfish (smoked is safe, and sushi that has previously been frozen is safe)
  • Unpasteurised dairy products – ice cream from a machine is ok if the machine has been cleaned properly and if the ice cream ingredients are pasteurised.
  • Foods with soil on them.
  • Avoid more than 200mg of caffeine per day.
  • Avoid liquorice root remedies.

Read more on the NHS website here.

Make sure you’ve had your flu vaccine

Some mummies-to-be are unsure about accepting the flu vaccine as they’ve heard some rumours about the jab. To answer a common question, no, the flu vaccine cannot cause the flu, this is scientifically impossible. If you’ve had the ‘flu’ after the jab before, chances were you’d already contracted it, or actually had a different virus. The flu can be quite dangerous to you and your unborn baby, so protecting yourself against it is important even if it isn’t 100% coverage!

Read more about pregnancy and the flu here.

Be prepared – know who to contact if you have any worries over Christmas

Your community midwife may not be contactable over Christmas, especially on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, so you should find out…

  • What gestation your local Maternity Assessment Unit/Triage will see you from.
  • Their direct contact number or extension to dial when calling your booking hospital.
  • Your maternity ward’s number or extension to dial if you’re close to or at term and think you’re in labour.
  • If having a home birth, make sure you have direct contact numbers for attending midwives.
  • If you’re not at the gestation where your MAU or Triage will see you, ask your booking hospital who to contact if you’re worried about pregnancy related symptoms such as bleeding – they may advise A&E, or give you an extension for the Early Pregnancy Unit.

Overall, it’s most important to enjoy yourself!

It may seem like there are many things to avoid during pregnancy, especially over Christmas, but remember; it’s only for one Christmas, and there are plenty of alternative treats that you can enjoy. These tips should help you and your bump to have a safe & superb Christmas – we hope you have the best one yet!

Love from Katie & Team BBY. Xx

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