Winter Safety When You're Pregnant

Winter Safety When Youre Pregnant
Women should always take good care of themselves, and it’s even more important during pregnancy. The winter season brings a new set of safety concerns for pregnant women, such as dehydration, falls, and flu season.

Hydration during pregnancy

We already know women need more water than the average person when they’re pregnant. It can be easier to remember to drink plenty of fluids in the summer when higher temperatures trigger thirst, reminding you to drink water. In the winter, however, you need to make more of an effort to get enough fluid into your body.

Tips to Stay Hydrated

  1. Drink 8-12 glasses (2-3 liters) of fluid a day
  2. Avoid caffeine intake
  3. Increase fruits and vegetables intake
  4. Drink enough water that your urine is almost clear

Winter Falls

Winter in Utah brings with it snow and ice. Pregnancy changes your center of gravity, balance, and weight distribution. Together, the fall risk to pregnant women increases. In general, the baby is well protected in the uterus, should you fall. If you are far enough along that you already feel baby kicking, continuing to feel kicks after a fall should be enough reassurance. We also instinctively use our arms to break our fall.

Tips to Avoid Falling

  1. Invest in a good, stable pair of shoes
  2. Avoid heels and boots without traction
  3. Work from home or avoid travel (when possible) on snowy or icy days

If you suffer a fall, visit your healthcare provider right away if you:

  • Fall in your first trimester
  • Fall and hit your belly
  • Don’t feel baby move after a fall (3rd trimester)
  • Notice leaking amniotic fluid or vaginal bleeding
  • Are in severe pain anywhere

Cold & Flu Season

When you’re pregnant, your immune system is already suppressed and you’re more susceptible to the flu and cold viruses. It can also take longer to recover from a cold if you get sick.

Tips to Stay Healthy

  1. Get a flu shot. It’s recommended that pregnant women get a flu shot in the 2nd or 3rd trimester.
  2. Rest, hydration, nutrition and vitamins. Self-care is very important during this time of year. Get plenty of rest, keep yourself hydrated, take your prenatal vitamin, and eat well balanced, nutritional meals and snacks.
  3. Wash your hands: Good hand washing is one of the best ways to avoid catching, or sharing viral illnesses. The use of hand sanitizer is helpful as well, especially if you have school aged children in your home.
  4. Avoid people who are sick. It’s ok to avoid social gatherings where others may be ill. It’s also ok to ask others not to come to your home if they’re sick. This is an important time to protect yourself from avoidable exposure. 

 

Air Quality

The air quality in Salt Lake City, Utah can be very dangerous during an inversion. Breathing the air can have the same effects we worry about with someone who smokes cigarettes. When the air is listed as having a particulate matter of <2.5 microns, it means the particulates in the air are small enough to be absorbed in the lungs and enter the blood stream.

Some studies have shown that breathing this air can have dangerous side effects to your unborn baby. These side effects include preterm birth, mental and physical developmental problems, autism and even fetal death.

Tips to Breathe Easy

  1. Pay attention to your local news. Each station provides an air quality report on a daily basis. There are also mobile apps available to help you keep track of Utah air quality.
  2. Stay indoors when air quality is bad, especially if you’re exercising.
  3. Masks: a regular surgical mask will not protect against polluted air in the Salt Lake Valley on inversion days because particulate matter is too small to be hindered by a fabric mask. If you want to get a mask, you need an N95 mask (which can cost about $15) and can usually be purchased online. 


Questions: If you have any questions or concerns, it’s best to contact your provider, or be seen in clinic or at the hospital if it’s after normal business hours.