Winter is settling in around the world, and depending on where you live, the colder temperatures, drier air, and less sunlight can be excruciating when combined with the side effects of pregnancy. Winter pregnancies can be complicated as they face many other issues related to temperature, hydration, hormonal changes, and nutrition. Because of this, we’re here to offer tips for keeping your pregnancy healthy during winter.
How The Cold Can Impact Your Winter Pregnancy
For some, the cold can make their pregnancy uncomfortable in some significant ways. During winter, it’s more common for pregnant patients to experience depressive symptoms, higher rates of gestational diabetes for women who conceived during winter, and a higher risk of hypertension for women who deliver their newborns during winter. While some of these statistics need further research to conclude, there are more specific problems pregnant women can face during the winter months beyond the usual colder temperatures. These include:
- Less Sunlight: During winter, there is less sunlight because the northern hemisphere moves away from the sun, causing the sun’s rays to travel further to reach the earth’s surface. Due to this, pregnant women exposed to less sunlight will face a higher risk of preterm births and other pregnancy issues.
- Vitamin D Deficiency: Vitamin D deficiency is a recurring problem during pregnancy, and the winter months can cause issues with getting enough vitamin D due to poor sunlight exposure. As an essential nutrient for maintaining calcium levels and bone growth, it can lead to bone-softening diseases in newborns and poor bone density overall.
- Poor Hydration: Hydrating during the winter can be harder to manage, especially because most people don’t feel as thirsty when the temperatures drop. The body has to work harder under heavier, warmer clothes and the sweat more easily evaporates in the cold, dry air. Pregnant women face these same challenges, as hydration is essential for developing the amniotic fluid around the fetus and promoting better nutrition circulation.
- Weakened Immune System: Winter is also the season of the flu and cold, where viral illnesses spread more rapidly in the winter months. Pregnant women, especially those with auto-immune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, can face trouble keeping themselves safe from illnesses that impact their newborn’s health.
Our Tips For Managing Through A Winter Pregnancy
These risks impact all pregnant women during winter, including those with fetal complications. However, wintertime problems can easily be avoided if you follow your fetal medicine clinic’s instructions and take safety measures for your care. Some tips to help ease the struggles of winter include:
- Drinking at least 8 to 12 cups of water a day
- Wash your hands regularly and frequently
- Take vitamin D supplements as instructed by your OBGYN
- Spend time outdoors during winter for sunlight exposure or invest in light therapy
- Get your annual flu shot to protect you and your developing baby
For more tips on managing your winter pregnancy and ensuring your prenatal care is checked, make an appointment with your local fetal medicine clinic for more information.