Surviving Winter While Pregnant

Pregnant couple in winter
Belly itchy? Feet swollen? Coat doesn’t quite fit around you? There are a few simple steps you can take during the winter to make winter pregnancy easier.


Health

Nutrition and Rest. I cannot over-stress the importance of good nutrition and plenty of rest during pregnancy. They are always important, but the implications during pregnancy reach beyond you to your child, and it is worth the extra effort to keep yourself healthy. Keep taking your prenatal vitamins, get some sunlight (Vitamin D), and eat winter vegetables, including high-nutrition leafy greens like kale. Good nutrition and good sleep will put you in a better position to fight off winter colds and flu.

Skin. Stretching your skin over a big, pregnant belly can make you dry and itchy during any season. During winter, your skin can feel dry all over. Be sure to drink enough water and moisturize your skin on your belly, face, feet, hands, elbows, and everywhere you feel dry. Pay attention to your trouble spots—if you can see them.

Feet. Along with the dryness, your feet can get swollen during pregnancy. It’s even worse in winter when your feet can get so cold. Keep them covered and keep that circulation going. Elevate your feet regularly. Scrub them a brush or a rough cloth when you bathe, or ask your husband to scrub them if you have a hard time reaching. Get a massage. This is a great time for your husband to learn the basics of massage or reflexology.


Clothes

Shoes. You’re carrying more weight than you are used to, your center of gravity has shifted, and the ground can be slippery. It’s a bad combination, and this is no time for fashionable heels. Go for practical (yet adorable) shoes with soles that will keep you steady on the ice. Then, avoid the ice.

Coat. Depending on where you are going, you might be able to get away with wearing your husband’s winter coat. That’s what I did as my pregnancy started to show one winter. If you need to maintain a professional look, though, you may need to go for the maternity coat. There are a lot of beautiful styles available. If you are a handy seamstress, you can even find great patterns for maternity coats. When I was pregnant with my second child, I didn’t find a look I wanted, so I made a pattern for a maternity coat with a matching coat for my 2-year old daughter, which helped her feel very special despite all of the focus on the coming baby.


Winter Shopping Deals

Baby clothes. If you don’t mind buying clothes for the baby before the birth, you can get some great deals on baby clothes for next winter at end-of-season clearance sales.

Fitness deals. January is prime time for fitness club deals. If you need that extra boost to keep your pregnant self in shape and keep working out, take advantage of the offers you will find. This helps after the birth as well. If you already have a membership and a habit of working out, it will be easier to get back into shape.


Relationship

Get away. If this is your first child, think of these months as your last chance to get away with your husband for a while. Even if you leave a young child with grandparents for a weekend, it’s worth the time to get away, take a deep breath, and focus on one another for a bit. My husband and I went for a weekend of massages and ridiculously elaborate meals at a little Ontario resort a few months before my first child was born. You might want to consider going south, though. As a matter of fact, grab a bikini, head way south, and show off that gorgeous round belly on the beach. Why not? Warm your feet up, get some rest, and spread some happiness to your growing baby all at once.

Image © Macsim | Dreamstime.com

Babywearing while Pregnant

If you are planning on babywearing during pregnancy, in the beginning you probably won’t notice much difference. As your belly grows, you may need to make a few adjustments for balance, type of carry, and choice of baby carrier.


Keep Your Balance

Mei tai baby carrier allows you to carry a toddler while pregnantKeep in mind the importance of balance. Depending on your shape and size and on the size of your baby or toddler in the carrier, you may need to make more or less adjustment to your usual babywearing routine.

A friend of mine who is quite thin and carries her pregnancies like a basketball out front, was pregnant with her second child when the first was only three months old. Her first baby was tiny to start with, so wearing her 3-12 month old was easy for her. Weight was not so much an issue, but her shape was. She hiked the baby up higher and wore her nuzzled in her neck in a front carry.

If your baby is bigger and you are carrying more baby and pregnancy weight shifting your center of gravity forward, it may be better to avoid side or hip carry, since you won’t be able to balance your growing front weight as well with a child on the side. If you do use a sling or other baby carrier for hip carry, be sure to switch sides often. This is what I did while carrying my 2-2.5 year old while pregnant, but I eventually switched to back carry even though that wasn’t my daughter’s favorite position. She liked to be face to face with me and hugging my belly, which was great when we were sitting but a lot of weight to carry if we were walking.

Look at yourself in the mirror from the front and from the side. Can you keep a straight line top to toe? If you can’t keep relatively straight and wear your toddler, don’t wear your toddler.


Which Carry Works Best during Pregnacy?

You may need to do more than just adjust your usual carry with your usual baby carrier. Start over by considering your needs and your child’s needs.

Ask yourself where is your comfort and where is your strength. When you just hold your older child without a baby carrier, where do you tend to want to hold her? Is there a position that is most comfortable for you? Where do you have enough strength to carry safely? Where does your older child want to be?

Once you know where you want your older child to be, then ask what carrier will allow you to hold her there.


Which Baby Carrier to Choose during Pregnancy

Chances are you will want your older child on your back rather than on your front. Choose a carrier that allows a comfortable carry high on your back.

Ring Sling

I found it easy to get a comfortable high back carry with a ring sling, and I really wanted that easy adjustability. This requires enough strength to put your toddler in the front then shift to back. By the end of pregnancy, I just didn’t have that strength. It was easier to choose a carrier that starts on the back.

Wrap Baby Carrier

Moby Wrap baby carrier can be tied under the bellyThe flexibility of a wrap baby carrier like Moby Wrap means you can make a lot of adjustment. Back carry with the ties below your belly can be very comfortable, giving that extra support most of us want below a heavy belly.

Some find that a torso carry—across the chest or even higher, as with the Tibetan carry knotted up near the collarbone—both balances a heavy front and keeps from putting extra pressure and weight where it is difficult to manage. If you have a baby pressing up and a toddler pressing down making it difficult to breathe, stop! Find another carry or don’t carry at all.

Mei Tai or Ergo

If a high torso carry puts too much pressure on your breathing, try a mei tai baby carrier with the toddler high on your back. You may be able to buckle an Ergo baby carrier above your belly as well, though the wider waist belt may make that difficult as you grow. Some pregnant mothers are able to use the Ergo with waist straps under the belly. That extra belly support might create the balance you need.


Keep it Safe and Comfortable

If wearing your toddler while pregnant is uncomfortable, don’t do it.

If you have trouble, talk to your midwife or doctor about either improving your carry or whether you should avoid carrying your child altogether.

Just remember, if you can carry your toddler, you can wear your toddler. If your toddler is already too heavy to carry, don’t wear him, especially while pregnant.