You’re More Accident-Prone Than Usual
During pregnancy, your ligaments loosen to help your pelvis accommodate your growing bump. Looser joints can make you feel less steady on your feet than usual, so be extra careful about slippery patches.
What’s more, especially as you reach your third trimester, your center of gravity is no longer where it usually is. To understand your center of gravity, stand on one foot with your eyes closed (or imagine it, if you’re already worried about tipping over). The point that helps you find your balance is your center of gravity. When you’re not pregnant, that point is somewhere below your navel, and it should feel like it’s located deep in the middle of your body. Once you’ve got a bump, your center of gravity shifts forward and higher, which can make you feel off-balance even when you’re walking on level ground.
All this is to say, go ahead and delegate winter chores! Ask your partner to run any errands needed in inclement weather. Appoint family members (or hire someone) to shovel your driveway after a storm. Stocking up on rock salt and non-slip winter boots helps you prepare to tackle icy patches outside your home as safely as possible.
You Need Extra Moisture
It’s common to experience dry, itchy skin and sensitive nasal passages during frosty weather. When you’re pregnant, dry air may affect you more severely.
Your skin is stretching as your pregnancy continues, especially in later weeks. Ultimately, your genetics determine how likely it is that you’ll get stretch marks. Dry skin tends to be less pliable than well-hydrated skin, though, so taking care of your skin may help toward preventing stretch marks or keeping them from getting worse. Moisturizing also helps relieve itchiness and flaky skin. Drink plenty of water (aim for 10 glasses per day) and use a gentle moisturizing lotion. Fragrance-free options may be preferable, especially if you’re dealing with heightened sense of smell.
Speaking of your nose, did you know you’re more prone to stuffiness and nosebleeds while pregnant? Your blood volume goes up by about 50% when you’re expecting, to carry nutrients and oxygen for both you and your baby. That’s a significant extra load for the delicate blood vessels in your nose to carry. Winter weather increases anyone’s chances of a nosebleed, and that’s even likelier for you.
Use a humidifier in your home (and office, if you can) to add moisture to the air. This, along with being gentle about blowing or wiping your nose, can reduce nasal discomfort during a winter pregnancy.
Add Snow to Your Birth Plan
Your prenatal classes will educate you about the stages of labor and your options to manage contraction pain. Fewer classes will navigate the logistics of planning a winter delivery.
It’s common to go into labor at night, when your body’s relaxed. Depending on how quickly labor progresses, you may find yourself heading for the hospital in the dark, or during early-morning rush hour traffic.
As your due date approaches, you may want to pre-salt your driveway so icy precipitation doesn’t catch you by surprise. You should also plan a back-up route to the hospital and make sure your route doesn’t take you down small back roads that are less likely to get plowed right away.
If the hospital is relatively far from your house (more than a 20-minute drive), you may find it helpful to scout out nearby restaurants, museums, community centers, or other places you could stay for a while. Picking a comfortable “halfway point” where you can rest, walk, and wait for labor to progress before it’s time to go to the hospital can save you from having to do a long, stressful drive through a blizzard.