Even if you’re not pregnant, dealing with the holidays and social functions, traveling to see family, navigating the blustery New York weather, and trying to stay healthy during cold and flu season are a few of the reasons people find winter a challenge.
And the COVID-19 global pandemic makes winter even more stressful this year. If you’re pregnant, you may be concerned about how to manage all of the usual winter stressors with the added concern of keeping yourself and your unborn baby healthy and safe.
The compassionate team at Yakov Levy MD PC, with offices in Midtown East, Manhattan, and Forest Hills, Queens, wants to help you feel confident going into the winter season. To that end, Dr. Levy and the team have created this list of tips for surviving your winter pregnancy.
1. Fortify your immune system
Your immune system is working overtime to keep you and your baby healthy. Give it a helping hand by making sure to get your flu shot before the winter season is underway. Flu shots reduce your risk of ending up in the hospital by about 40%.
In addition to getting this year’s flu vaccine, make smart lifestyle changes that help keep your immune system strong, such as:
- Getting plenty of rest
- Exercising regularly
- Eating a healthy, whole foods diet
- Avoiding processed foods
- Making sure you get enough vitamin D
If you have questions about your immune system or the flu shot during pregnancy, Dr. Levy can answer them and address any concerns you have.
2. Make time for you
Holiday shopping, cooking special foods, sending cards and gifts, working, and managing your family — all of these things can leave you tired and stressed out. This winter, there’s also the added stress of COVID-19 and everything the pandemic entails.
When you’re stressed, your baby is stressed. Studies have found that sustained high levels of stress increase your chances for premature labor and delivery and having a baby with low birth weight, both of which increase the risk of health concerns for your baby.
Combat the stresses of the season by making time for you. Relaxation activities, like meditation or prenatal yoga, can calm your body and mind, and making time for naps and sleep helps you recharge. Take advantage of your support system, and pass off chores and tasks to willing helpers.
3. Don’t forget your skin
The winter air can dry your skin, and thin, dry skin exacerbates stretch marks and leaves your tummy itchy and tight. Be sure to take care of your skin during winter pregnancy. Here are a few ways to ensure your skin stays moisturized and healthy:
- Drink plenty of water, and snack on vegetables high in water content, like cucumbers
- Use coconut oil, cocoa butter, or a stretch-mark cream to keep the skin on your belly soft and hydrated
- Take cooler, shorter showers — warm or hot water drys your skin
4. Consider hosting virtual celebrations
In-person events and traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic are risky for everyone — especially for pregnant women, who may have a higher risk of contracting the virus. While virtual celebrations aren’t the same as seeing each other in person, they can be a wonderful way to safely celebrate during your winter pregnancy.
Make virtual visits even more special by getting creative. Try mailing decorations or favors, using holiday-themed virtual backgrounds, or sharing the same meal.
If you do celebrate the holidays in person with family and friends, follow CDC guidelines — wear a mask as much as possible, and practice social distancing, especially if you’re traveling.
5. Stay safe when going out
Take precautions to keep your body temperature regular, especially when you go from the brisk New York winter air into an overheated building. Stay warm outside by covering your head, hands, and neck, and keep cool inside by dressing in layers you can peel off as you warm up.
When you walk outdoors, be sure to wear the right footwear to avoid slipping on ice or snow. Use handrails when maneuvering the stairs or getting on and off public transportation to reduce your risk of falling.
Contact the Yakov Levy MD PC office nearest you for more tips for surviving your winter pregnancy, or schedule an appointment online now. We also offer telehealth consultations for your convenience.