Tips for Weathering the Winter Pregnancy Blues

Surviving pregnancy can be a challenge in any season as your changing body and fluctuating hormones present daily opportunities for frustration. However, you may feel even more anxious and irritable in winter, when shorter and darker days do little to lift your sagging post-holiday spirits. 

While your feelings may simply be a reaction to cold temperatures and gray skies, ongoing depression, anxiety, or sadness can increase your risk of C-section, gestational diabetes, and premature birth. So it’s important to address your feelings and work to turn around your disposition, regardless of the weather. 

You can make the most of a winter pregnancy by maintaining a recommended schedule of prenatal exams and testing. Pregnancy specialist Shaurin Patel, MD, of ObGyn Care of Oklahoma, provides expert prenatal care for every aspect of pregnancy, from preconception counseling to delivery. The caring staff offers the support and guidance you need to overcome challenges so you have the best chance for a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

Our staff at ObGyn Care of Oklahoma shares these tips for weathering the winter pregnancy blues.

Eat healthy foods

While you can enjoy a little indulgence, don’t succumb to the temptation of calorie-loaded comfort foods on a regular basis. Healthy foods help replenish the energy you’re lacking without the post-carb crash. Choose whole fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and an overall balanced diet that will make you feel good about eating well for the two of you. Eat smaller meals to keep blood sugar at even levels.

Follow the light

Look for ways to expose yourself to natural light in any weather. Bundle up and walk outside on a sunny day despite the cold. Doing this first thing in the morning can give you a mood lift for the entire day. 

 

If you’re stuck inside, try light therapy. The treatment involves sitting or working in front of a lightbox, a desktop box that mimics natural light, for 15-30 minutes every morning.

Socialize

Being alone when you’re feeling blue can make you feel worse. Connect in person with a friend or family member to get the encouragement and support you need. They can help you realize that pregnancy isn’t a lifetime condition, and your feelings of frustration are likely temporary. Chances are you’ll be outside building a snowman next winter and introducing your child to all the cold-weather season has to offer. 

Exercise

Fight the temptation to sulk away your day on the couch or at your desk. Instead, get up and move around. Exercise boosts your levels of endorphins which are brain chemicals that make you feel more upbeat and alert. Use online or streaming prenatal workouts to try different techniques without the worry of navigating icy conditions to get to the gym. Make sure you ask us before starting any new exercise program during your pregnancy. 

Meditate

Take time out to meditate. Find a private, quiet space and sit there for 10-15 minutes. Focus on your breathing as you notice any thoughts that occur, but don’t filter or judge them. Just two months of daily meditation for 30 minutes a day can significantly lower anxiety and depression symptoms

Indulge yourself

Pamper yourself with a massage, a mani/pedi, or a trip to the hair salon. Plan an arts and crafts project or try something new. Doing the things you enjoy helps boost your endorphins, which can relieve pain and help you feel better. It also helps redirect your attention instead of concentrating on the weather.

Seek medical advice

It’s natural for anyone, pregnant or not, to feel sluggish and down in the winter. However, if you’re also experiencing depression, anxiety, sleep problems, or intense mood changes, you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that affects about 10 million Americans. This disorder typically occurs at the same time each year, often beginning in the fall and continuing into the winter months. Women and young adults are particularly susceptible, so you may have experienced it before pregnancy. 

Whether you have minor symptoms of the winter blues or the more intense SAD, don’t delay in seeking medical attention. With appropriate prenatal guidance and care, you can have a happy, healthy pregnancy at any time of year. Schedule online or call one of our Oklahoma City offices for an appointment.

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