Pregnant Christmas from A to Z

Unfortunately there are not many doubts: Christmas 2022 will inevitably be different from all the others we have experienced so far. Of course, there won't be the same austerity as Easter, when we were in full lockdown, but we won't be able to be as happy as ever. All the fault of Covid. But there is no sweeter time for pregnant mothers. Keeping your child within yourself is certainly the greatest gift for each of them. And the Christmas holidays can only seal this great love. 

For some of you, Christmas may be the right time to communicate the good news to friends and family, perhaps after finishing the first trimester of pregnancy. Those in the second trimester will finally be able to reveal the sex of the unborn child. For all the dances (this year only virtual) of days of relaxation, carefree and family warmth begin. But you shouldn't overdo it just because “at Christmas everything is allowed”. So let's see how to best enjoy the holidays with the baby bump from A to Z. 


Let's start immediately from a fundamental point, namely nutrition. Although in the name of sobriety, it is unthinkable to be able not to give in to some small deviation from the rules. The important thing is not to overdo it and above all not to indulge in "dangerous" temptations with food or drink that could harm the child. Moderation must be your mantra: taste everything in small portions, always trying to balance the right nutrients. In the various meals there must be carbohydrates, proteins, (good) fats in the right quantities. Beware of cooking methods which, in this period, are a little heavier than usual: always choose simplicity, avoid frying, use raw oil rather than cooked. And don't forget to drink lots of water, at least two liters a day. Better to prefer the natural low mineral content and at room temperature. 


The no to alcohol must be categorical. In reality, there are permissive gynecologists who allow some, such as half a glass with meals. On this the position of the Del Paesena Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics is categorical: there is no quantity of alcohol in pregnancy that can be considered safe. And it is not true that it would hurt more in the first quarter and less in the other two: the danger is always lurking. The risks range from poor fetal growth to facial malformations, from delays in psychophysical development to vision or hearing problems, up to - in severe cases - fetal alcohol syndrome. Even at Christmas, therefore, continue to give up a glass of sparkling wine: for your child you can certainly do without it and toast virtually. 


It will certainly be one of the keywords of this tormented 2022. Since the beginning of the year, the Coronavirus has crept into our homes, our jobs, our lives. Many mothers have had to deal with the virus in the delivery room, remaining alone, without their partner, at the most anticipated moment throughout their pregnancy. Many got sick, with great concern for the fetus (we too talked about Coronavirus and pregnancy). Still others have lost someone very dear. Covid will also mark the Christmas holidays. It will not be possible to move between regions from December 21st to January 6th and not even between municipalities on December 25th and 26th and January 1st. It is recommended to be alone with family members living together and to put into practice all the precautions to avoid contagions (wash your hands, use masks, avoid gatherings). We have now understood that it is a virus that should not be underestimated: we try to remember it and also take care of those around us, like our grandparents. 


Are you already resigned to eating too many? And also getting powerful reprimands from the gynecologist as soon as you step on the scales? We try to avert this danger. How? Alternating more substantial meals with days of "detox". After dinner on Christmas Eve and Christmas lunch, the ideal is to try to "purify yourself". Reduce (however, do not eliminate) the quantity of carbohydrates and abundant with vegetables (cooked, for example with a nice soup, and raw, inventing the richest salads) or with legumes. As for proteins, prefer meat, fish or low-fat cheeses or eggs. In addition to the three main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), indulge in small snacks mid-morning and mid-afternoon, perhaps based on fresh fruit or vegetables. Hydration is very important to get rid of some toxins. Always drink lots of water and some purifying herbal tea. It is always best to ask your gynecologist which ones you can drink. Not everything natural is good in pregnancy. 


They have been telling us this for months: we must keep physical distance as much as possible to avoid the spread of the virus. Never like this year so the most comfortable and safe shopping is what you do online. All you need is a credit card or a prepaid card. It is true, perhaps e-commerce goes a little to the detriment of small and medium local and artisanal distribution, but it is undeniable that it allows you to make your purchases in total safety. However, it must be considered that, aware of the great potential offered by online, almost all companies now have an e-commerce section on their sites. In addition to the safety aspect, especially if you are pregnant, there is another one that should not be underestimated: stress. Going in and out of shops is tiring for a woman with a big belly (and no less for those who accompany her, forced to carry bags and packages). Buying on the internet, receiving the goods at home, also solves the problem of tiredness and "shopping stress".


It is a classic of the Christmas tables, but it is also a perfect hunger breaker for a future mother. Taken in the right quantities (ie always without overdoing it), walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pine nuts have many virtues that make them real allies for health. In fact, they have a high content of "good" fats, ie unsaturated and polyunsaturated ones. They are the famous Omega-3 and Omega-6 that you have surely heard of and that help to lower "bad" cholesterol in the blood. Furthermore, dried fruit has good quantities of water, proteins, mineral salts, vitamins (B and E with high antioxidant power), low sugars and no gluten (so even those with celiac disease can eat it). Beware of pistachios and peanuts: salt is often added. A different argument should be made for pulpy dried fruit (so far we have talked about the oily one), that is figs, apricots, plums, dates, raisins. This also has many properties (for example, a good amount of fiber), but it is very sugary and caloric. Take it easy. 


It's okay that the Christmas period is also about relaxing, especially if you are a working mom not yet on maternity leave. But this does not mean getting lazy and "bivouacking" on the sofa served and revered. Remember that the gynecologist is ready to turn into Doctor Nowzaradan and make you regret what you ate for the holidays, putting you "on the spot". In addition to controlling your diet, drinking a lot and dedicating yourself to the detox days, what you need is a little physical activity. It is not necessary to sweat seven shirts, but to make constant movement. Gyms closed all over the country don't help, but they're not essential. For example, take a walk of at least half an hour at a brisk pace, possibly every day. It will give you many benefits: it improves blood circulation, lowers heart rate (especially in the case of tachycardia during pregnancy), relaxes, trains the muscles, burns calories. But you are too cold to put on your tracksuit and leave the house, we have the indoor solution for you: the fitness section during pregnancy in the MyModernsParents app. A future mother like you has developed an interesting and very useful exercise program to stay in shape with the belly. 

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Is there a better time than Christmas to communicate urbi et orbi the pregnancy or the sex of the baby on the way? Absolutely not! There are many ideas to surprise future grandparents or uncles. If you have recently taken the pregnancy test, you can pack it in a box or hang it on the Christmas tree without saying anything to anyone, waiting for someone to notice. Pink or blue pacifiers and personalized bibs with the name can also make perfect little gifts to give the good news. Instead of the usual greeting cards, make a photocopy of one of the ultrasounds you have done. To announce gender, wear a T-shirt that says "It's a boy" or "It's a girl". If you want something more in style, you can have a cake prepared in the pastry shop with the filling colored differently depending on whether a prince or a princess arrives. 


As subdued as it may be, there is no Christmas without presents. When you are pregnant everything is already projected towards the future and the baby that will be born. In short, personal gifts are always very welcome, but even those for the newborn are fine during pregnancy. However, to avoid running into duplicates or gifts that are not particularly useful for your needs and tastes, there is a very convenient solution: the birth list. Creating a list of items and accessories that are needed for the newcomer has a lot of advantages and makes life easier not only for those who are to receive a gift, but above all for those who have to do it. Often you do not have very clear ideas about what you can really like or you risk buying things you already have. The birth list solves these and other problems. Do not be afraid to communicate that you have done it: no one will feel obliged. But be careful to include products of various price ranges, so that anyone can buy something according to their economic possibilities.


Christmas Eve dinner. Lunch on the 25th. Santo Stefano brunch… Every occasion is good to celebrate and eat. And sometimes the stomach and intestines say stop! Belly pain, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, a sense of heaviness are a bit classic Christmas ailments and during pregnancy they can occur more frequently because the body, already called to a super job to promote the growth of the fetus, could be affected by lunches and more abundant dinners than usual. The golden rule is always to not overdo the quantities and to control yourself a little. Another thing is the disorders caused by food poisoning or by seasonal viruses. The former can be caused by poorly stored foods (for example outside the refrigerator in a hot environment), by contamination in the kitchen (it is always essential to wash the hands and the utensils used) or by various parasites (salmonella in raw eggs, anisakys in raw fish, listeria in unpasteurized milk). The most common symptom is diarrhea, sometimes accompanied by vomiting, fever, malaise. In itself, diarrhea in pregnancy is not dangerous. However, dehydration caused by excessive loss of fluids must be avoided. If you feel unwell, call your gynecologist. 


In this complex of 2022, grandparents are the category to be protected the most because unfortunately the virus has the worst consequences on the elderly population. If you are in contact with many people for work, you need to be cautious. Make short visits, wear a mask, always sanitize your hands and still avoid physical contact. It's true: maybe loneliness is even worse for the elderly, but don't risk it. If you already have children and want to show them their grandparents, use video calls. Even people of a certain age are now very “smart”, much more than we think. We therefore use technology to its best potential. And let's hope that next year is better and that we can finally be together. 


At Christmas it can happen to indulge in some "luxury" a little more particular than usual, also thanks to the fact that food shops stock up on more refined foods and drinks. Oysters, for example, are often found, but in this period it is easier to see them on the fishmonger's counters. Resist the temptation, moms! During pregnancy, anything that is raw (except fruit and vegetables which must be washed with utmost care) is not recommended. In fact, cooking is able to kill most of the bacteria or other microorganisms that are responsible for food infections which, with the belly, are potentially dangerous. And what to do with sushi? This is a controversial topic. There are gynecologists who allow you to eat it, but paying attention to different aspects. For example, it must be ensured that the fish has been killed correctly, that the origin is safe and that all the main rules of hygiene are respected in the room. But are we really sure we can't give up for 9 months so as not to put our little one at risk?


Let's talk about fashion! Good argument, right? Let's immediately dispel a false myth: it is not true that a pregnant woman is "condemned" to dress only in overalls, long sweaters and leggings. Just take a quick spin on the Web to realize that there really is a world of maternity fashion with really beautiful garments. So why not think about the perfect party outfit with a belly? There are many specific clothing lines for Christmas, in which red, gold, comfortable and warm fabrics - from velvet to wool - are the boss. They range from wide trousers with a more or less elegant cut to more or less long skirts up to dresses that enhance the new and soft shapes (do you know the empire-style dresses, cut under the breast? They are perfect to show with mother's pride the wonderful baby bump). If you're the type, even go for something bold, like a nice sequined and sequined sweater. And indulge yourself with the accessories! Even for shoes you have "free space": you just have to feel comfortable. And this doesn't necessarily mean wearing flat shoes which, on the contrary, often cause annoying back pain. Better therefore to opt for a medium heel. The very tall ones may not be the best in comfort, but there are mothers who would never give up on them for the holidays. 



Despite the restrictions imposed by Covid, restaurant lunches are not prohibited, albeit in compliance with the rules. There is no shortage of precautions you need to take, which are in fact only the same ones you take every day with your diet during pregnancy. First of all, avoid raw foods: meat, fish, eggs and even vegetables are better because you don't know how they have been washed. Find out about the ingredients of the dishes you choose. For example, ask if the Russian salad mayonnaise is packaged or fresh (in the first case, don't worry, in the second, forget it). Prefer the simpler preparations, without overly elaborate cooking or heavy seasonings. If you are a lover of foreign food and want to treat yourself to a Chinese or a Japanese, the golden rule of prudence always applies: make it clear that you are pregnant and ask for information about each dish. Pizza is also allowed. The only thing to consider are the cured meats (raw ones must be cooked in the oven before consuming them) and some cheeses (such as gorgonzola) which are not suitable for sweet waiting. Avoid - if you can - fast food: the so-called "junk food" is not exactly a cure-all, especially due to its high salt and fat content. 


Festive ones are always a bit special days when it can happen a little later in the evening. And if you have to get up early to go to work the next day or if there are other children at home, you will lose your normal sleep pattern. In pregnancy, it often happens that you don't sleep well at night. There are the thoughts that inevitably whirl in the head, the disrupted hormones that cause insomnia, the stomach that clutters, the back pain that makes itself felt. And sometimes it even takes the little guy to kick just when you want to fall asleep. In short, sweet dreams? Maybe! The holidays then must serve to recover some lost sleep, listening to those who suggest (in a mixture of love and psychological terrorism) "sleep now, then when the baby is born you can forget it!". Take a nap when your body asks for it. If you suffer from insomnia, however, avoid sleeping in the late afternoon: in the evening you may have difficulty. Take some relaxing herbal tea, but ask your gynecologist for an opinion on the substances it contains. As we have already had occasion to say, not everything that is natural is good for a future mother. Herbal teas based on chamomile, mallow, fennel are safe. 


Christmas does not mean “free everyone) from toxoplasmosis, an infection that during pregnancy can have very serious consequences for the unborn child, especially if it is contracted in the first trimester of pregnancy. Even before getting pregnant, the doctor prescribes the Toxo-test, a very simple blood test that allows you to find out if she has already had it or not. Those who are not immune to Toxoplasma Gondii know that they must follow very precise rules of hygiene, nutrition and food preparation. We list them again: wash raw fruits and vegetables very well; do not consume raw meat (including cured meats such as salami, speck, bresaola, pancetta, raw ham, capocollo); wash your hands very well after handling raw food; use gloves for gardening and cleaning the cat litter box (if you can, delegate someone else for you). To learn more about toxoplasmosis (good information is always needed) we recommend Toxoplasmosis in pregnancy: risks and prevention.


A few small Christmas “unscheduled” items, such as an extra slice of panettone or a slightly heavier roast, can strain the kidneys. The urinary system works at a brisk pace during pregnancy and is particularly delicate. Urinary tract infections are in fact more frequent, such as cystitis, an inflammation of the bladder caused by viruses, fungi and, much more often, bacteria. Symptoms are urgency to urinate, need to pee often, burning and pain, malaise, concentrated and / or cloudy urine, feeling of incomplete bladder emptying, difficult urination, abdominal pain, fever. In many cases, however, cystitis is asymptomatic. This is why the urinalysis is essential to make the right diagnosis and start the most correct treatment. In fact, the treatment depends on the type of agent responsible for the infection. Treatment almost always consists of taking antibiotics. 


The first vitamin that is prescribed in pregnancy (actually already during conception) is B9, better known as folic acid. It is of fundamental importance at least for the entire first trimester, but gynecologists have it taken until delivery and often also during breastfeeding. Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects, in particular the so-called spina bifida, and is very important in the processes of cell proliferation, for example in the first weeks of pregnancy, when organs are developing. Never forget this, even in this period when you are most distracted by the holiday season. It is not uncommon for gynecologists to also prescribe multivitamin complexes to provide mom and baby with all the most important substances they need. Nutrition also plays its part in this. However, cooking destroys most of the nutrients. 


Last but not least - it really should be said - let's talk about sugars. Christmas represents their apotheosis and, unless you like sweets, it is really difficult not to succumb to the thousand tempting temptations of the period. Pandoro, panettone, nougat, regional delicacies, there is truly spoiled for choice. But how do we put it with the belly? In some cases, sugars are strictly forbidden. For example, if there is a problem with high blood sugar or gestational diabetes. If not, don't overdo it in any case. Instead of eating dessert for lunch and dinner, let's stick to just once. We make small portions, also based on what we have already eaten during the rest of the meal. If we are at the restaurant, we choose something a little less caloric, like a fruit sorbet instead of the Sacher. Let's always keep an eye on the scales. The extra pounds are difficult to dispose of and are not even good for your health. 

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