The most wonderful time of the year is often anything but that for an expectant mother who is stressed to the max and stretched so thin that she feels she may snap at any moment. The holidays bring with them mounting expenses, high expectations and...mistakes. No one can avoid them. Mess-ups are just a part of this crazy experience we call life. The holiday season is no exception.
A mom-to-be may get her tinsel in a twist if things don't go exactly how she had dreamed they would. She may have had visions of sugar plums dancing in her head at the beginning of the holiday season, sure this would be the year that everyone would get along and every task would be done in a timely and peaceful manner. This, in and of itself, is a huge mistake. A pregnant gal can't control the weather, her in-laws, germs or the gifts her significant other chooses for her. Yes, ladies, we inevitably set ourselves up for disappointment when we expect things to go perfectly at all times.
If you are a human, you will make mistakes over the holidays. Please do not allow not living up to the exceedingly high expectations you have set for yourself be one of them. You will most likely burn something, snap at someone and eat one or twenty too many Christmas cookies. Let these things slide. They're just part of the territory when celebrating with friends and family.
There are, however, a few mistakes many pregnant women make over the holidays that may put baby in danger, but are also completely avoidable. Read on for 15 faux pas many soon-to-be mothers commit during the time when all is merry and bright.
15 Roasting Chestnuts and Such
Just as it is dangerous for an expecting mom's temperature to get too low, it is equally dangerous for it to get too high. Nothing is nicer than snuggling up next to a crackling fire with a hot drink. We aren't saying you must avoid this beloved holiday activity. It is, however, a good idea to make sure you don't get too hot.
Baby doesn't have the ability to sweat in the womb. If she gets too hot, she has no way to cool herself back down. If mom's temperature is too high for too long, serious complications for Baby could be the result.
When snuggling up next to a glowing blaze, be aware of how warm you are. Avoid piling on blankets or heavy sweaters if the room is already toasty. If you start to feel so hot it's uncomfortable, or start to sweat, it may be time to step outside for a minute to cool down, or scoot a little further away from that heavenly fire.
14 Shoveling Snow
Not to alarm anyone, but an 8-months-pregnant woman in Pottstown, Pennsylvania recently died after shoveling snow. To be fair, she did have several heart defects, but this story is still a lesson for all women to take precautions while expecting. Briahna Gerloff, 18, spent her morning shoveling snow, then headed back into her house after finishing the job. A family member found her unresponsive on the kitchen floor soon afterwards.
He shared, "I told her it probably wasn’t a good idea for her to be outside shoveling. She wanted to do it anyway. I started doing CPR," he continued. "That’s when my neighbor came over and helped with CPR and tried to revive her and then the ambulance came."
Brianna and her baby, who she named Kayliana, were both pronounced dead upon the arrival of medical help, despite the efforts of those who tried to save them. So, in conclusion, shoveling snow is out, ladies with a bun in the oven. Make someone else do it. You are not allowed anywhere near a snow shovel!
13 Hosting A Dinner Party
Hosting a dinner party is a tall order, even when a woman is not carting another human life around inside of her belly. Sure, it sounds lovely to host an event, but let someone else do it this year.
Not only is planning, shopping, decorating and preparing going to add stress to any expecting mom's tired shoulders, anyone who has ever hosted a holiday soirée, big or small, knows that the actual event, and clean-up afterwards, can be a bit on the stressful side.
Take it easy and order some take out. You can have a lovely get-together next year while your beautiful new baby gets some time with grandma. For now, put up your swollen feet and relax. No one expects you to be super human. Being the hostess for a party where you do all of the cooking, cleaning and mingling is totally doable. Despite this fact, the stress it will most likely cause you isn't worth it.
12 Trash Talking
It's not your fault. Your feet hurt and your back hurts and you're skin is stretching out and you're constantly being kicked. You're hormones are all over the place, you aren't sleeping well and it's getting harder and harder to put on shoes.
Pregnant ladies are known to be a bit brazen, easily annoyed and catty. They have a pass because they have a person inside of them punching their kidneys. Despite all of this, it may still be a bit of a mistake to tell the world your feelings.
Trash talking your sister-in-law or your partner's best friend or your boss may relieve tension and help you feel better, but remember that you'll most likely be spending time with all of these people in the very near future at holiday get-togethers. The person you vent to may not pass on your harsh words, but talking badly about others usually gets one even more riled up, and doesn't usually ease their annoyance. It's the holidays. Be nice. You can trash talk again in January.
11 Driving In Dangerous Conditions
Sometimes staying away from dangerous driving conditions during the holidays is impossible. Storms may arise mid-road-trip, and the weather can be unpredictable. All we are saying here is avoid driving in bad weather whenever possible.
If the worst happens and you slide off of the road and are stranded, or, even worse, get injured in an accident, baby is obviously at risk of being harmed as well. Luckily, vehicles get safer every year and are equipped with cutting edge seat belts and airbags to help minimize injuries.
Being stuck in a storm is dangerous because it may take time for help to arrive. Stock your vehicle with food, water and extra blankets in case you get stranded in a storm. This will help you and baby stay safe until help arrives. If you must travel in bad weather, do so with caution and try not to stress. Be prepared and know that if the worst does happen, you're ready.
10 Scheduling An Induction
Yes, having a baby on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day may be slightly inconvenient. Plans may have to be shuffled and baby may forever more have a less-than-ideal birthday. Some moms due around the end of December may be tempted to schedule an induction in order to keep some semblance of control. The holidays are full of traditions, parties and togetherness.
A soon-to-be mother may not want to miss out on any of the festivities, or may she feel she will be inconveniencing others if she happens to go into labor in the midst of Aunt Petunia's annual rendition of "Silent Night" performed on the ukulele.
Think long and hard before scheduling an induction in order to accommodate the holidays. Being induced isn't always as easy as it sounds, and there are many risks involved. Inductions carry with them an increased risk of the need for a C-section, infection, uterine rupture, umbilical cord problems, bleeding after delivery and many other possible complications. Many inductions go off without a hitch, and a woman who has been told by a medical professional that an induction is what is safest for her and her baby is a different story. Women who have a choice in the mater of whether or not to be induced will reduce possible risks by allowing Baby to arrive when and where she desires, even if it's in the middle of carving up the holiday ham.
9 Eating For Two
Food, glorious food! Everywhere! It stretches as far as the eye can see. It's at work. It's being delivered to your doorstep by friendly neighbors, even the guy ringing the bell outside of the supermarket is handing out free candy canes. Make it stop!
It's hard enough to control pregnancy cravings when getting sustenance requires cooking, or at least taking a trip to the nearest eating establishment. When delectable treats are being shared freely all over town, it may be tempting to use the little rationalization that you are "eating for two."
You are, and you should treat yourself to a few tasty treats, but remember it's good for you and for baby not to overdo it. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can cause complications during and even after baby's delivery. We're not saying you shouldn't indulge, just be aware of what you are putting into your body. Whatever you eat, baby gets too. Eat some gingerbread men, but get some fruits and veggies in there as well.
8 Being Out In The Cold
Baby, it's cold outside. Unless you are lucky enough to hail from Miami Beach or somewhere in Arizona, the weather outside is most likely a bit frightful during the holiday season.
Babies can't regulate their own temperatures like Mom can. If a pregnant woman's body temperature gets too low, it can be quite dangerous for baby. Of course you can still venture outdoors. Just be sure to bundle up, and don't spend long periods of time outside, as it increases your risk of getting chilly and putting Baby in the danger zone.
Along with the risk of getting too cold, winter weather causes icy conditions. Take as many precautions as possible to avoid slipping on icy terrain. Falling could be very dangerous for you and for your little one. Find a kind soul to link elbows with you as you walk in a winter wonderland. Enjoying the beauty of the season with a friend makes it even more magical.
Yep, babies are damn expensive. Sorry. It's a little demoralizing, but true. In fact, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average cost for parents to raise a child to the age of 18 in the United States is approximately $245,340. That's pricey.
In the past, you may have splurged during the holidays, not really stressing if you go into the red a little. This year, you are shopping for two, as un-glamorous as that sounds. Every bit you can save before baby arrives will help to relieve financial stress after giving birth.
Instead of buying your bae a Cartier watch, consider getting him a chocolate Santa. Yes, he may be a bit bummed, but remind him how savvy you are being and he'll love you all-the-more for it. Trust us, you're going to want to start saving ASAP. Babies are cute, but they cost a pretty penny.
6 Neglecting Me-Time
You, my dear, need to take care of yourself. Everyone does not need a perfectly-wrapped homemade gift. No one needs cherry chip cake made from scratch. In fact, those who love you will be thrilled if you take it easy this year.
It's a mistake to get so caught up in the stressful hussle and bustle of the holidays that you forget your most important job right now: taking care of yourself, and your unborn little bundle of joy.
Snuggle up by the tree and watch a holiday flick. Get a pedicure, take a bath, read a good book or go see a movie. Don't rush around until your back is aching and your feet are on fire and your eye is starting to twitch. Me-time is crucial for pregnant women, especially for those who are dealing with the arduous task of being great with child during the holidays.
5 Eating Risky Foods
Holiday celebrations are often centered around food, food and more food. Many parties are pot luck, meaning everyone brings their favorite dish. Be aware of what you are eating. Foods that may be dangerous for your baby may be lurking in the divine-looking dip Tom from accounting just put on the table.
Foods that have been deemed best to avoid while expecting include ham, turkey, roast beef, hot dogs, soft cheeses, raw fish, bologna, prosciutto, pâté, salami and pepperoni. If indulging in one of the meats on the list above, be sure to heat it thoroughly before consumption. This limits the risk of contracting listeriosis, caused by consuming the bacteria known as listeria that may be present in the aforementioned list of foods.
We know this one is a major bummer. Remember, pregnancy won't last forever, and carrot and celery sticks are totally safe. Kidding, kidding. Have a Christmas cookie, or three. We won't tell.
4 Making Too Many Plans
Everyone wants to see you during the holidays. Holiday parties are fun and wonderful, but it's important to avoid over-scheduling celebrations to the point where you aren't getting the rest you need. Remember you are growing a human. It's exhausting and overwhelming and you need some down-time every once in awhile.
Prioritize the functions you decide to attend. If you don't make it to every singe party, your loved ones will understand. If they don't, they aren't being very merry and you shouldn't take it personally.
We aren't saying you shouldn't enjoy the holiday functions you always have, maybe just avoid partying until three in the morning at one bash, then meeting another group of loved ones for a holiday brunch. Leave time in your holiday schedule for rest and relaxation so you have the energy you need to be the life of those parties you do decide to grace with your presence.
Of all the years to put off purchasing gifts for your entire family tree until Christmas Eve, this is not the one. Planning in advance can save you and your imminent arrival from a world of unnecessary stress and angst. This is the year to buy gifts online. Let someone else brave the crowds and the weather and drop them safely at your door.
If you've cut it close, it's much better to keep things simple than to try and make up for it with a 12 hour shopping spree full of pushing, pulling, hurrying crowds. Put things off until the last minute? No one is going to frown at a gift card.
In fact, you can even send popular gift cards like those to Starbucks directly to a loved one's email from the comfort of your own home. If someone tries to complain that you took the easy way out this year, feel free to point to your bulging belly with your middle finger.
It's a fact that possibly nothing is more stressful than the holiday season. Sure, everything is decked out in twinkling lights and Christmas music is sweetly wafting from every corner of the world. However, neither of these occurrences changes the fact that you are most likely going to spend time with family, which can, at times, be...challenging. On top of the awkward conversations that await you at your mother-in-law's house, the pressure of giving the perfect gifts to those you love can be another stress-inducer that could send anyone over the edge.
The holidays are stressful for everyone. Pregnancy is stressful for everyone. Combining these two intense experiences creates what we like to call the juggernaut of stressfulness.
It's most assuredly more easier said than done, but limit stress whenever and however possible. Throw on some Kenny G and thread some cranberries for the tree, make out with your man with the movie It's a Wonderful Life playing in the background, or go throw some snowballs at your mailbox. Basically, whatever calms you down, do that.
It's sad, but true, that the favorite holiday beverage of many may be a mistake to drink while expecting. Most brands of store-bought eggnog are safe, because they are usually made with eggs that have been pasteurized.
Homemade eggnog is a different story. It is often made with raw or unpasteurized eggs. Both of these increase a woman's chances of being infected with the bacteria Salmonella if consumed. When a pregnant woman is infected with Salmonella, the diarrhea, intense vomiting, dehydration and high fever that result could cause pre-term labor, miscarriage or even death.
Party-goers often spike eggnog with a little something to get everyone at the party a bit tipsy. If unsure whether or not the nog bowl has been tampered with, steer clear. Alcohol isn't good for baby either. Research is unclear on how much alcohol can do serious damage to a fetus. In this case, abstaining is probably your best bet. Soy nog can be purchased at most major grocery stores, and is totally safe for preggers peeps. You can chug that stuff without any worries and remind yourself that pregnancy, along with all of its restrictions, will not last forever. God bless you, pregnant mamas. God bless you, every one.