Christmas is a time of merriment and goodwill, and regardless of whether you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you can still enjoy a wonderful festive season with friends and family. If you focus on your health and take the necessary precautions, it will ensure you and your baby remain safe.
Queensland can be exceedingly hot and humid around Christmas, so remember to keep up your fluids, whether it’s with water or a recommended hydration drink. This is particularly important if you are in the middle of an IVF cycle. With our state’s beautiful weather, it can also be tempting to soak up some sunshine by the pool, at the beach or out and about at social gatherings. However, remember to stay Sun Smart by wearing a suitable hat and a high SPF sunscreen. This will protect your skin and minimise overheating which can lead to dehydration.
We always encourage exercise in pregnancy, particularly running and swimming. However, it is best to avoid bike riding and contact sports like netball, touch football and kickboxing. It is also wise not to let your pulse rate exceed 140bpm. If you wish to do intense exercise, make sure you limit it to 15 minute phases with a 10-minute warm-up beforehand and a 10-minute cool-down afterwards.
While overseas travel is out of the question in the short-term due to COVID-19, holidays around Australia are positively booming! However, if you are driving long distances by car, we recommend you mobilise every four hours. This involves stretching your legs and doing calf exercises to reduce the risks of deep vein thrombosis, which can sometimes occur when people sit for prolonged periods of time. This is particularly relevant if you are currently undergoing an IVF cycle. It is also important to wear a seatbelt that fits firmly (but not too tight!), and to have the lap part of the seatbelt under your baby bump and lying across your hips.
While catching up with family and friends, you might also be visiting people you don’t normally see, so abiding by COVID-safe practices is key. This includes regularly handwashing and maintaining safe distancing. If you are inadvertently visiting a hotspot or a location with a high density of people, it’s also worth wearing a mask. Fortunately, pregnant women have not been at high risk during COVID, which was a concern for medical professionals in the early stages. However, pregnancy is a time of suppressed immunity, so it is vitally important that you do as much as you can to avoid being in contact with the virus.
Eating And Drinking
Christmas is a time of celebration with friends, family and food of course! Most foods are safe to consume, however you should avoid those that can put you at risk of listeriosis, which can be a major risk to an unborn baby. These include uncooked seafood, soft cheeses, sushi, sashimi, foods served in salad bars, sandwich bars and smorgasboards. We also recommend that you completely abstain from alcohol if you are planning a baby or during pregnancy, and limit coffee to two cups per day.
Christmas is a time of festivity, but it can also be a time of stress and isolation for some people. Always remember that your mental health is as important as your physical health for a good pregnancy outcome. Be sure to maintain contact with family and friends, and if you have concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor. We can be of help, but we do need to know if you have concerns. This is the world’s first COVID Christmas and there may be some new challenges as a result, but you should still be able to have a safe and enjoyable time.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!
Dr Terry Sheahan