A style guide to your first pregnant Christmas
No stranger to a festive bump herself, Chrissie Russell advises expecting mothers how to get through the Christmas season - what to drink, what to eat, and what to wear...
From heartburn-inducing selection boxes, to frocks that make you feel like a glitter ball - Christmas can be a tricky time for the mama to be. Just as Bridget Jones found out as she got to grips with the Christmas tree in 'Bridget Jones's Baby', having a bump on board during the festive season can rule some of the Christmas faves out. But luckily we've pulled together a festive preggers guide to keep the Yuletide bright.
What's out: Going to see the big Christmas blockbuster
What's in: Staying in
When you're pregnant, everyone seems obsessed with telling you to do stuff 'while you can' and one of these 'must dos' is going to the cinema. I say forget it, you'll get hot and bothered, the smell of plastic nachos will make you retch and you'll almost definitely need to pee several times during the film, missing crucial plot details.
Far better to cosy up on the sofa and get friendly with Netflix. They've loads out this month including original films, documentaries and TV series (and they've also put 'Home Alone' on there too). Christmas viewing sorted.
What's out: Strapping yourself into an LBD and dancing on the tables at the Christmas work do
What's in: Rocking your 'pregnancy swag'
Thanks to Kim Kardashian and co making 'pregnancy swag' a thing, it's actually okay to flaunt your bump in body-con if that's what you want to do. But if you fancy something a little more comfy, it doesn't have to be a Princess Di smock or dungarees.
Fashion has finally realised that mothers-to-be still want to look like themselves in maternity wear. Leading the way are Asos.com with their range of stunning maternity party wear. In particular they've a stylish embellished skater dress, above, (€87), which is also suitable for nursing, meaning more wears per buy post-pregnancy.
Pippa O'Connor's POCO range stocks the 'Mama To Be' jean (€85) a skinny fit, light blue wash in really soft, comfortable denim that's plenty smart enough to get you through the party season.
New Look have a gorgeous metallic dress, below, (€29.99) that is fashion forward without breaking the bank. They also have fab festive jammies (€14.99) if you would rather embrace the Christmas spirit without leaving the house.
What's out: Eating with abandon
What's in: Exercising a bit of caution
Not only is the whole 'eating for two' thing a myth, but there's also a fair bit of festive food that's best avoided when pregnant. Christmas favourites like pâté starters and fancy mould ripened cheeses carry a risk of listeria. Game might contain traces of lead, while shellfish is best cooked.
On the canapé circuit you might be best sticking to veggie options to be safe regarding pasteurisation, and you have well-cooked issues with meat and eggs. Don't risk stuffing yourself with fatty foods and chocolate - they're big culprits for pregnancy heartburn. The good news is that Christmas dinner is safe and Christmas pud can stay on the menu (it's baked so don't worry about the booze). Ginger ale helps fight nausea while still feeling vaguely Christmassy.
What's out: Knocking back booze with abandon
What's in: Going zero proof
From the 12 pubs of Christmas to champers on Christmas day, booze often seems to be an essential part of making the season jolly. Except actually, even the non-preggers world seems to be realising that alcohol-free doesn't have to mean dull. With more people jumping on the booze-free bandwagon, the drinks industry is catching up - they've even stopped calling it 'alcohol free', preferring the more trendy 'zero proof' tag.
Use your drink-free December to try something new like Seedlip Garden 108 with Fever Tree Tonic, which is hailed as a delicious alternative to a headache-inducing G&T.
What's out: Teetering around the party circuit on sky-scraper heels
What's in: Sparkly flats and non-slip shoes
Even Victoria Beckham has admitted that donning her Louboutin heels while preggers was a fashion blunder. But guess what? Flats are in! 'Vogue' recently dedicated an entire feature to the best sparkly flats, and lurking in among the pricey Manolo Blaniks and Gucci pumps, was a pair of pumps from Zara.
From frill details to bows, studs and faux-fur slingback ballerinas, (€49.95, pictured above), the high-street favourite is your pregnancy shoe friend. To make your existing footwear wardrobe snow and ice safe (you're carrying precious cargo) get online to order YakTrax, currently on offer at caulfieldindustrial.com at €15.99 (down from €22.31).
What's out: Normal conversation about Christmas
What's in: Smiling and nodding until you can scarper away
"Ooh, it'll be all different for you this time next year!" "You better enjoy your Last Christmas of Freedom!" "You'll be buying princesses and action heroes for the next 18 YEARS!" etc, etc.
Co-workers, relatives, catching up with old friends - every scenario offers a fresh opportunity for someone to remind you that life is about to change. You know this. You're growing a baby. The best thing is to nod and smile while secretly altering words to 'Fairytale of New York' in your head ("The boys of NYPD choir were singing 'Go Away'"). I'm also a fan of retaliatory tummy rubbing.
What's out: Hitting the high street
What's in: Online shopping
Puffy feet, irritability, lethargy - and that's just the hoards of Christmas shoppers. Forget town and hop online for this year's gift list (you may get used to it since you'll never be leaving the house again, apparently.)
Or buy all your gifts from the one shop near you, whatever that may be (remember that episode of 'Friends' when Joey and Chandler got everyone air fresheners and condoms from the garage?) People will forgive you, you're pregnant.
Actually you can get away with most things when you're pregnant - peeling spuds, helping decorate, going to events you don't want to, having to stay awake… maybe being knocked up at Christmas isn't too bad after all...