Our community of Casper, Wyoming, in fact most of the state and the Rocky Mountain region, has been hit with significant frigid weather this winter – and more is on the way before Christmas! Pregnant women have a few pros when it comes to winter temperatures, primarily in the form of keeping warmer, but there are also many cautions a mom-to-be should be aware of.

Here are some tips for pregnant women dealing with winter’s icy temperatures and slick conditions:

  1. Invest in good footwear. Snow and ice can make anyone tumble, but a pregnant woman is more off-balance due to her center of gravity is shifting. So, think low heels, rubber soles (traction is critical!) and shoes with a secure fit… and invest in a pair of good snow boots for the season.
  2. Get a flu shot. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends pregnant women should have a flu vaccine. Flu can be a very serious illness for pregnant women so if you’re pregnant, make sure you get a flu shot.
  3. Boost your immune system. A pregnant woman’s immune system isn’t as effective as someone who is not pregnant. Therefore, wash your hands frequently and eat foods rich in Vitamin C such as broccoli and oranges to bolster and protect yourself from the colds, sinus infections, and other illnesses common during the winter season.
  4. Consider a humidifier in your home or bedroom. Like many people, pregnant women can be susceptible to nose bleeds during the winter months as the air is drier. By restoring moisture to the air you breathe with a humidifier, vessels are less prone to bleeding and can even take the edge off of respiratory problems like asthma. Be sure to keep the humidifier clean and change the water and filters frequently to avoid mold growth. This will be a must item for when baby arrives, so you’ll be ahead of the game having this household item.
  5. Dress in layers. A pregnant woman’s body temperature is about two degrees warmer than normal, so dressing in layers helps moderate the cold and warmth. Bundle up before going outside, and don’t forget to protect fingers and toes! Clothing layers not only keep you warm while outside, but will make it easier to strip down when you come back inside so that your warmer-than-average self is comfortable, not roasting.
  6. Continue to exercise, both indoors and outdoors. If you enjoy being outdoors in winter, you don’t have to give up outside activities, just be wise: no downhill skiing but cross-country and snowshoeing are okay. However, hand the snow shovel to someone else!
  7. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Essentially a pregnant woman should consume on average half her body weight in ounces of water. For example if she weighs 200 pounds, she needs to drink 100 oz of water (or about 3 ½ quarts) daily. The more hydrated a woman is throughout pregnancy, the healthier she and baby will be.

Following these tips will help make the winter more tolerable, healthier, and safer. Find a “winter survival guide” for pregnant women from Parents Magazine by visiting this website: http://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/pampering/winter-pregnancy-survival-guide/.

Stay warm and safe, everyone!