Follow these winter safety tips during your winter pregnancy to protect your heart, stay healthy, avoid falls, and be prepared for an emergency delivery.
Cold and extreme weather can pose extra risks for you and your baby. Take precautions to stay healthy and safe this weather, both during your pregnancy and in the case of an emergency delivery.
If you feel extra clumsy, that’s not your imagination. Weight gain, decreased abdominal strength, relaxing muscles and ligaments, and changes in your spinal alignment have all been found to shift your center of gravity during pregnancy and decrease your balance. This makes you more likely to fall, which is dangerous for both you and your baby.
This risk increases in winter, when cold weather reduces muscle coordination and icy surfaces make falling more likely. To avoid falls, wear flat shoes with good traction. If it is snowing or icy out, wear boots intended for winter weather, move slowly, and be careful when using stairs.
Pregnancy and heart health in winter
While you are pregnant, the volume of blood in your body can increase by as much as 50 percent. Pumping all this blood puts extra strain on your heart and may cause high blood pressure during pregnancy. Studies have found that these changes put pregnant women at an increased risk for heart attacks, even if they have not had a heart condition before.
This risk becomes higher during winter, as cold weather causes your arteries to narrow and makes it harder for your heart to work.
To lower your risk of cardiac events, see your medical provider regularly to have your blood pressure checked. You may also need to avoid strenuous outdoor activities, such as shoveling snow, during cold weather. These activities can put pregnant women at risk for heart attack, especially if you already have a heart condition.
Staying active in the winter
Exercises that improve your balance and posture can help decrease your risk of falling, and staying active during pregnancy will improve your circulation, keep your heart healthy, and help you stay strong for labor and delivery.
Because cold weather can put a strain on your heart and lungs, however, it may be safer to exercise indoors if you are pregnant in the winter. You should also avoid winter sports, such as skiing or sledding, as these increase your risk of falling and can cause trauma to your baby.
Hydrating during pregnancy
During colder months, you are less likely to become overheated or sweaty, so it may be more difficult to remember to drink extra water. However, your body uses water at a higher rate during pregnancy, creating the placenta, amniotic fluid, and the extra blood volume in your body.
Whether you are exercising or not, you should drink enough water during the day that your urine stays light yellow or clear, even during cold months. You should avoid drinks with high amounts of caffeine or sugar, such as soda.
February 01, 2018
Janet O’Dell, RN