The holiday season is usually a joyful time for pregnant women but in many cases, also a time of potential stress. Not only are you preparing for family celebrations but also for one of the most important and memorable occasions of your life. As a means of enjoying this holiday season to its fullest extent, the following tips are suggested:

1. Because most medical practices schedule fewer patients and have less physicians and healthcare extenders available during the holiday season, make sure you obtain the names of physicians or healthcare extenders who will be on-call in the event of an emergency

2. Traveling is not recommended for pregnant women after 32-weeks gestation. However if you must, then please, make certain that you stand-up after two hours of sitting for fifteen minutes to reduce the chances of developing a blood clot to your legs. This rule applies whether you’re flying driving or traveling by train.

3. If you are less than 32-weeks and travel for the holidays, make certain that you have a copy of your prenatal record in the event you encounter an unexpected emergency in another town or community. Try to research hospitals in advance of your travel so that you might become familiar with their facilities, services and payment requirements.

4. Because the winter is notorious for inclement weather, try to stay indoors as much as possible in the case of bad weather. The last thing you need is to develop contractions or go into labor in the midst of a snow storm.

5. Do not lift anything greater than 10 pounds and certainly do not shovel or offer to shovel snow. The bending movements (especially in the third trimester) place you at increased risk of a having a placental separation.

6. Avoid last minute shopping if possible to minimize exposure to crowds and unintended bumps to your belly. Excessive walking can also increase the risk of developing premature contractions.

7. Prepare dishes in advance if possible to avoid all day on your feet. The pregnant uterus compresses the veins and prevents the return of blood back to the heart. This contributes to varicose veins and swollen ankles.

8. Avoid wearing heels any higher than 2 inches. Anything higher places undue stress on your back and place you at risk for encountering preventable falls.

9. Takes lots of pictures of yourself during the holiday season to capture the historical moment of your pregnancy.

10. Check out some food safety tips from CDC http://www.cdc.gov/Features/HolidayFoodSafety/