How to have a safe pregnancy in the winter months

alt="baby in womb" Five steps to a safe pregnancy (Image: Sandhya Raghavan)

As the days get colder, you grab on to your sweater a little tighter, wondering whether your little one is also feeling snug inside of you.  The arrival of winters is a thing of joy. However, it’s also a crucial time for expectant moms, especially if the pregnancy is through IVF. Colder months can take a toll on pregnant women and consequently, on the babies.

“Pregnancy is the most exciting and delightful journey of a woman’s life. Moreover, if a woman is pregnant through IVF then there is anxiety and yearning to have a safe and healthy pregnancy and outcome,” says Dr Rajeshwari Pawar, Consultant, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Motherhood Hospitals, Kharadi, Pune.

Dr Rajeshwari Pawar
Dr Rajeshwari Pawar (Image: Motherhood Hospitals)

Read on as she lists down the five important steps for a happy and safe pregnancy in the winter.

Swollen feet during pregnancy: What you can do about ‘sausage tootsies’

Don’t forget to drink water

That’s right. Hydration is not only for summers. In the colder months, one tends to feel less thirsty and hence drink less water. The result is dehydration. The cold winter air can also rob you of precious moisture.

“Many pregnant women can get dehydrated in winter. Winter air is dry. When you are going home, you will probably find yourself hot and sweaty. So remember to drink more water as recommended by the expert,” says Dr Pawar.

You can also get your hydration from soupy foods like broths and succulent fruits in the winter months. Cut back on foods that have a diuretic effect, like coffee and tea.

Stay safe from flu

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu is more likely to harm pregnant women. Pregnancy can cause changes to the immune system, heart and lungs, leaving them more vulnerable to more severe forms of flu.

Flu can also be harmful for the developing baby. Prenatal vaccines can help the mom pass on the anti-flu antibodies during pregnancy.

Uterine fibroids: When to see a gynecologist

“Get your flu shots,” recommends Dr Pawar, “…and don’t miss them at any cost.” Winter months leave you susceptible to influenza. “So keep your distance and wash your hands.  Speak to your doctor before getting a shot,” she says.

Exercise every day

Pregnancy is not an excuse to shirk physical activity. If anything, you should be more active during these nine months. “Staying physically active will help you enhance your overall well-being. Exercising will allow you to ease pregnancy aches and pains,” notes the doctor.

Cold weather should not be an excuse to skip exercising. “You can work out at home. Do some light exercises suggested by the doctor. But, avoid the rigorous ones,” Dr Pawar adds.

Take care of your skin

Remember the intense itchiness in the winters? Cold air leaves the skin dry and itchy, especially on the extremities. “During pregnancy, itchiness around the belly can be unbearable,” says Dr Pawar.

The doctor recommends avoiding hot showers and using a good moisturiser during these months.

Eat a well-balanced diet

What wellness list is complete without diet? In the winter months, expectant moms should load up on immune-boosting foods and cut down on spicy, oily processed food, says the doctor. A few ingredients should always be a part of your winter wellness diet. “Spinach, ginger, gooseberry, almonds, yoghurt, garlic, milk, red bell peppers and broccoli,” says Dr Pawar.