Winter Pregnancy Guide – 15 Precautions to Stay Safe & Healthy - Part 2
The second part of our two-part series blog on Winter Pregnancy Precautions. Continuing our previous article, here are a few more tips on how to stay safe and healthy during winter pregnancy.
Common Winter Pregnancy Questions
- What should a pregnant woman wear in winter?
- What to eat during pregnancy in winter?
- How do you prevent dehydration in the winter?
- How to stay active during a winter pregnancy?
- How to prevent dry winter skin?
- How to get rid of chilblains during winter pregnancy?
- Should I get a flu shot during pregnancy?
- How to keep your room warm during winter?
- What activities can you do during winter pregnancy?
- How to beat seasonal depression naturally?
- Why is it important to wash your hands?
- How can you prevent slips and falls in winter?
- How can you prevent exposure to pollution?
- What to do when air quality is very unhealthy?
- When should you contact a doctor?
6: Protect Your Feet From Chilblain
Poor blood circulation during the cold weather can cause you chilblains, a painful skin condition that causes itching, swelling, blistering, and red patches on your hands and feet. To avoid this:
- Keep your feet well warm, covered, and protected.
- Cut down on how long you stay on your feet to reduce lower leg swelling.
- If you are already suffering from chilblains, dip your feet in warm water to soothe pain and discomfort.
A relaxing massage can also work wonders! Do not hesitate to contact your doctor.
7: Get Your Flu Shot
Your immune system goes for a toss during pregnancy and the cold winter months make you more susceptible to getting infections such as coughs, colds, and the flu. It can also take longer to recover from a cold if you get sick. Therefore, particularly in the second or third trimester, it is advisable to get the flu shot as an extra precautionary measure to avoid catching seasonal infections.
A quick poke in the form of a vaccine helps you prevent any health issues or pregnancy complications that could happen due to cold and flu. It reduces the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection in expectant mothers and protects your little one against flu for up to six months after birth. Don't worry! The CDC has declared that the flu vaccine is safe and advisable for pregnant women and unborn babies.
8: Keep Your Home at a Comfortable Temperature
If the weather is too cold, you can consider using a heater, blower, or radiator to keep your home warm and toasty. Also, place a bowl of water or use a humidifier in the room to counteract the dryness generated by the heating device.
If you're prone to nosebleeds during pregnancy, using a humidifier can be particularly helpful as it helps lubricate and moisturize dry membranes inside of your nose. Remember to clean both heating devices and humidifiers to keep them free of harmful mold and bacteria.
9. Winter Activities to Avoid During Pregnancy
Pregnancy not only loosens ligaments and joints but also changes your center of gravity. Hence, it's best to steer clear of certain winter activities and sports to avoid the risk of falling and injuries. These include:
- Ice hockey and ice-skating
- Snowmobiling and snowboarding
Also Read: 8 Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy
However, you can try other pregnancy-safe winter activities, such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking.
10. Ease Seasonal Depression
Grey skies, shorter days, and frigid temperatures can affect your mood negatively. For minimizing the risk of seasonal depression, there are several things you can do:
- Get adequate rest and sleep. Aim for at least 8 to 9 hours of sleep every day and try to regulate your sleep cycle by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
- A 20 to 30 minutes nap taken after lunch can do wonders for both you and your unborn baby. However, time your naps carefully as napping too long or too late during the day may interfere with your sleep at night.
- Even if the sky is cloudy, get out of the bed, clad yourself appropriately into proper winter maternity clothes and appropriate footwear, and step outside to get some fresh air and sunlight. It will lift your mood instantly, and you'll also get the required amount of vitamin D, which strengthens your bones and muscles, regulates your mood, and boosts your immune system and neuromuscular system.
Additionally, you can also try breathing exercises and simple stretching to fight off the winter pregnancy depression.
11: Follow Good Hand Hygiene
With the winter comes cold and flu season, and pregnancy makes women vulnerable to germs and infections. The best way to avoid getting infected is to wash your hands regularly and maintain personal hygiene.
Despite the cold weather, remember to wash your hands properly with a good soap or hand wash after every bathroom break, running errands, meeting someone, and before eating anything. Keep sanitizer handy for times when there is no soap, water, or wash basin available. Also, maintain a safe distance from people who are sick or unwell.
12: Avoid Winter Slips and Falls
Your center of gravity, balance, and weight distribution changes during pregnancy, and ice and slush during the winter increase your risk of slipping and falling. Even when it isn't icy outside, follow these tips to avoid slipping and falling during winter pregnancy:
- Walk and move mindfully and slowly.
- Be careful while navigating slippery sidewalks and parking lots. Watch out for patches of ice, potholes, and sidewalk cracks.
- Wear flat, well-gripped, rubber-soled footwear. Use crampons if you live in an icy area. Steer clear of high heels!
- Take adequate care to avoid slipping and falling in the bathroom.
- If you fall and hit your abdomen, call your health care provider to ensure everything is okay with you and your baby.
13: Avoid Exposure to Pollution and Smoke
Air pollution is quite common in many urban areas during the winter season, and breathing the polluted air has the same effects as being exposed to cigarette smoke. Some studies have shown that breathing smog in pregnancy can be very harmful to the unborn baby. These adverse effects include preterm birth, autism, physical and developmental problems, and in rare cases, fetal death. Try these simple ways to improve the quality of the air you breathe:
- Always wear an N95 mask whenever you step outdoors.
- Stay indoors when the air quality is poor. Pay attention to your local news to keep track of air quality in your area.
- Avoid breathing burning wood or tyre smoke.
- Ditch harmful pesticides.
- Switch to non-toxic household cleaners.
- Make your home a smoke-free zone.
- Use an air purifier and pot some indoor air purifying plants.
- Look out for the lead, heavy metals, and Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) exposure from paint.
14: Stay Indoors as Much as Possible
Pregnancy makes your body more sensitive and vulnerable to diseases. Therefore, it is advisable to stay in the comfort and warmth of your home as much as possible to avoid exposure to extreme weather conditions and germs. Your sensitive body may face difficulty adjusting to the changed atmosphere of chilly winds outside after leaving the warm and cozy house.
Avoid going out frequently and if possible, consider postponing all outings until the weather improves and it becomes safer for you to head out. If you ever have to step outside for some reason, wear enough winter pregnancy clothes to stay warm and comfortable. And if you think you're getting bored staying at home, indulge in some light activities for recreation like:
- Watching your favorite movies
- Reading motivational and maternity books
- Getting your nursery ready for the baby
- Shopping for you and the baby online
- Trying out different recipes
- Working out at home
Altogether, staying indoors when it is severely cold outside is wise as it protects you from getting sick and allows you to do things that you really need to get done.
15: Get Treatment If Required
Despite taking all these precautionary measures, if you suffer from a cough, cold, flu, or fever for more than three consecutive days, you must consult your doctor immediately. Trust your doctor, and they will prescribe you the best treatment for your condition. Say no to self-treatment or any over-the-counter medicine as it could be dangerous for you and your baby.
Just because the weather is chilly outside doesn't mean you can't enjoy your pregnancy. Winter pregnancy can be fun if you take care of yourself and follow the above-mentioned preventive measures. So don't let the winter weather get you down. Instead, think of all you have to look forward to after a long, harsh winter, and surviving the colder months will become much easier for you. Keep warm, stay safe, and have a happy, healthy pregnancy through winter!