Here's how to have a healthy, happy pregnancy during winter.
Let's get real: When you're pregnant in the dead of winter, controlling your weight is no piece of cake, although you'd probably like to eat one—and then another.
Fact is, dreary weather can dampen your will to work out, and the lack of sunlight can toy with your brain chemistry, triggering the blues and even depression, as well as cravings for high-fat and sugary foods. When there's a bite in the air and a baby in your belly, you're probably not dying for a spinach salad.
And yet, maintaining a healthy weight is essential for your baby's health and your own, research confirms. Packing on more pounds than national guidelines recommend (go to fitpregnancy.com/weightgain) can predispose your child to obesity and type II diabetes while raising your own risk of pregnancy complications, including gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and the need for a Cesarean section, and priming you to become an overweight mom.
In fact, in a 2011 British study that followed more than 2,300 women for 16 years, those who gained too much weight while pregnant were three times as likely to become overweight years afterward. Pregnancy, the authors concluded, "provides a window of opportunity to prevent health problems later in life."
OK, but what if, when that window opens, it's dark, gusty and 20 degrees? One word: Winterize! Just as you equip your house to prevent furnace breakdowns and plumbing freezes, you can equip your body and mind to avert comfort-food binges, inactivity and prenatal depression.
Read on for tips and inspiration to keep you eating healthfully, working out and feeling upbeat during these chilly months.
Check out the rest of our Winter Series: