Pregnancy and winters: Expert-backed guide for pregnant women to stay healthy during the cold season

Expert-backed guide for pregnant women to stay healthy during the cold season&nbsp | &nbspPhoto Credit:&nbspiStock Images

Key Highlights

  • Apart from medical attention, combination of dietary and lifestyle regulations are essential to ensure a healthy pregnancy
  • The altered weather conditions might often cause discomfort among pregnant women
  • Read on to know about some expert backed tips for a healthy winter pregnancy

New Delhi: Pregnancy is a magical time for women. However, the enthralling experience comes with various lifestyle changes that can be affected significantly with alterations in the weather conditions. Apart from medical attention, a combination of dietary and lifestyle regulations is essential to ensure a healthy pregnancy. 

Times Now Digital connected with Dr Pratima Thamke, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar to understand how winters can impact the health of pregnant women. 

Winter pregnancy risks

Dr Pratima Thamke elucidated on the potential health risks that women might face during winters and said, “Winter can make pregnancy uncomfortable. Hypertension and gestational diabetes cases may slightly go up during the cold weather. Those women who are exposed to cold weather were likely to have a small baby. A wear cold weather can lead to women having low-birth-weight babies.

“Extreme temperatures can hamper the blood flow to one’s uterus, and affect fetal growth. Women may fail to get enough sunlight during the cold weather, suffer from vitamin D deficiency and joint pain,” she added. 

Winter pregnancy and diet

Diet plays an important role in ensuring a healthy pregnancy. Pregnant women should try to include dairy, legumes, fresh vegetables, and fruits in the diet. Dr Thamke suggested the following dietary tips:

  1. Eat fruits and vegetables: Opt for vitamin C-rich foods like oranges, apples, bananas that boost immunity. Also, green vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, cauliflower are a healthy option during winters. Eat Indian Gooseberry that will also help you get enough Vitamin C. Carrots, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers can also be eaten. Eat around 3- 4 servings of milk and milk products to meet the Calcium and Protein requirement. Avoid junk, processed, spicy, oily, and canned foods.
  2. Hydration is key: It will be imperative for you to stay hydrated during winters. Drink enough water, you can opt for fresh juices of fruits and vegetables, lemon water, and even buttermilk. Avoid caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee, aerated colas. Any supplement should be taken under the advice of an expert.
  3. Eat foods consisting of fibre: Pregnant women can become constipated during winter. So eat grains, pulses, cereals regularly as these are rich sources of fibre regularly. Flax seeds, Sunflower seeds, Chia seeds, Sabja, and Pumpkin seeds can also help to beat constipation.

Winter pregnancy and physical activity

Physical activity is highly recommended for pregnant women. Studies have shown how exercising can have several health benefits for pregnant women such as:

  • Improvement of sleep quality, mood, and mental well-being
  • Reduced joint and backaches
  • Enhanced endurance and stamina
  • Reduced risk of gestational diabetes
  • Increased chance of a healthy labour

Dr Pratima Thamke commented on the risk and precautionary measures that pregnant women must take to exercise safely during winters, “Indoor exercise can be a good and safe option for pregnant women. If you are walking at home, avoid having rugs, carpets, or clutter as there are higher chances of falling. Wear appropriate shoes while exercising indoors as not doing so can lead to foot injuries. Try to walk on the plain surface, and avoid slippery floors. Be careful while climbing stairs and try to use the rail handles. Do not exercise in cold weather as you may suffer from respiratory problems. Avoid going for morning walks during the chilly weather.”

Tips for healthy winter pregnancy

Here are some tips that Dr Thamke shared for pregnant women to get through the winter season: 

  1. Be winter-ready: Pregnant ladies should wear layers to protect themselves from cold.
  2. Get a flu shot: It is essential to get a flu vaccine as the immune system can be weak during chilly days. Do not hesitate as the flu vaccine is safe for expectant mothers and unborn babies. The vaccine will allow you to prevent complications that are seen owing to the flu.
  3. Maintain good hand hygiene: Washing hands can keep germs at bay during pregnancy. You can even sanitize the sands from time to time.
  4. Moisturize the skin: Dry skin, chapped lips are common skin problems during winter. So, just speak to a dermatologist who will suggest a good moisturizer for you. Apply a generous quantity of moisturizer on your elbows, hands, belly, and chest that will make your skin soft and supple. Did you know? A hot water bath can strip all the natural oil from the skin, leaving your skin dry. Therefore, go for a lukewarm water bath instead of hot water.
  5. SAD: Winters can end up taking a toll on the mental health due to a condition known as a seasonal affective disorder, aka SAD. Dr Thamke commented on the seasonal depressive condition and said, “You may feel cranky, sad, hopeless, fatigued, and have mood swings. So, exercise daily, eat a well-balanced diet and invest time in the activities that you like.”

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.