A podcast that redefines what it means to be informed in your pregnancy and birth.
Hands up if you have noticed that the mental load ramps up at Christmas?
It is a time of joy, family, and celebration, but it can also come with its fair share of challenges.
This is the Ballarat Women’s Clinic’s version of the ’12 days of Christmas’. It acknowledges that pelvic pain, questions about your fertility and the mental load are still present, perhaps even more so, when putting the tinsel on the tree.
Here are some tips on handling big, and little, holiday hurdles with grace.
Thankfully Emergency care centres are always open. Unfortunately, they aren’t always the best place to deal with chronic pelvic pain, but that is another story for another day. Before the clinics shut and public holidays set in, make sure you have your prescriptions for pain relief in place. Keep doing self-care practices, such as gentle exercises, heat therapy, meditation and assess whether something may be exacerbating your pelvic pain like an increase in alcohol consumption or lack of sleep.
This is an insensitive question at any time, particularly for our people struggling with fertility. One strategy is to be open and honest, “We are having trouble conceiving but we are dealing with it in our own way, and we aren’t taking advice”. If this feels too blunt you could also deflect with a more light-hearted comment while still protecting your boundaries. Above all else, we hope this year Aunty Carmen realises that unless you want to share, this is your private information.
The unseen mental load! Jo at BWC reception suggests always cooking more potatoes than you need, having plenty of extra veggies and some extra cheer (wine).
This is the beauty of having a flexible approach and spreading the joy of your day with others.
Not ready to announce your pregnancy? If directly questioned, a confident yet casual response can include mentioning a recent commitment to a healthier lifestyle, a temporary break from alcohol, or simply feeling like a change for the evening. Redirecting the conversation to a different topic, such as the event or others’ plans, can also help steer away from the pregnancy reveal. It’s all about maintaining your privacy while enjoying the festivities.
Who likes a new Christmas dress? Tummy bloat by the end of a big meal or even a big day, particularly if you have endo or pelvic pain is common. The BWC team’s advice varied between getting out the shapewear or simply choose something forgiving and loose. The key is YOU being comfortable, whatever your priority is.
It is common at this time of year as we deal with increased emotional and physical stress, to have endo change our plans. This year choose you. It is ok to say no to events to prioritise your health. Reassure your hosts that you value their company and suggest an alternative way to connect when you’re feeling better. Educating those close to you about endometriosis is exhausting but it can foster understanding and support for the long term.
A ‘’little” hurdle for sure but just for fun. This is where we all know how to channel our inner actor to pull off the best “surprise” face. It is the thought that counts and if you are looking towards the positive, now you have something to give to next year’s classroom teacher. On second thoughts, they probably get 28 scented candles so please don’t. 😉
If we ever get any sun…being very pregnant at Christmas time in sweltering heat is never fun. A pregnant person should always get to sit down, rest and be waited on at big social events but even more so when it is hot! Prioritise lightweight and breathable clothing, stay indoors during peak heat hours, and keep well-hydrated with water. Fans and air conditioning are your friends and cool showers during peak heat times are wonderful. Finally, be mindful of signs of overheating, such as dizziness or excessive sweating, and take the necessary steps to cool down promptly. Of course, if you are worried, please call Dr Pat or Dr Kate, one of them will always be oncall.
If you are into New Year’s resolutions, put this on your list. Incontinence is something that can be resolved with the right advice and treatment. We are seeing patients who through a combination of viruses (hey, Covid you are still around!) and hayfever experiencing stress incontinence where they leak urine when their pelvic floor is under stress. This is something you don’t have to put up with and an appointment with our women’s health physio, Belinda Matthews is your first step.
Does the meringue of the pavlova look crunchy and dry? Yes? Then the egg white is (most likely) properly cooked and (should) be safe. It is hard to have an absolute here as the risk with pavlova is due to undercooked egg white and salmonella. The Christmas buffet can also be problematic for pregnant people. Have a listen to episode 53 of The Kick, where Brigid talks about safe food in pregnancy with food and safety expert, Gary Kennedy.
Our normal excellent eating habits can sometimes go on holidays in the holiday season. To keep your bowel habits on track, prioritise fibre-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as they promote healthy digestion. Staying hydrated is equally important, as water helps soften stool and aids in smooth bowel movements. Incorporate physical activity into your holiday routine, even if it’s a short daily walk, to stimulate bowel function. And a favourite, consider a squatty potty. Check out Belinda’s post here.
Hands up the perfectionists? When we decided on this one for our last tip, we all groaned. Yes, we have a team of perfectionists and Christmas time is stressful to nearly all of us. We have committed to being organised, putting in self-care, reading the damn book instead of letting it gather dust, delegate what is reasonable and acknowledging that we want to ‘be’ at Christmas rather than just ‘do’ at Christmas.
Christmas can be a big hullabaloo! There is so much pressure to get it right and make all the best memories. We hope there is (mostly) fun and joy this holiday season and that you have a moment to sit back with a big smile on your face to say, “what a life!”
Because that is what is all about.
Written with love from the BWC team.
We work and live on Wadawarrung land. We acknowledge Elders, past present and emerging.
Together with Brigid Moloney, we have put together a team of health professionals with expert knowledge to care for women at every stage of life. Welcome to the Ballarat Women's Clinic.