Trident Health System December 14, 2016

North Charleston, SC - Summerville resident 30- year-old Leslie Miller is counting down the days until the birth of her second child. With only three weeks to go before her due date she says it takes a little more energy to get things done.

“I can definitely tell my energy level isn’t near what it is normally. I try to pace myself during the day, but with work and a six-year-old it’s still a very active schedule.”

Neonatologist Art Shepard, MD, who’s also the Chief of Staff at Trident and Summerville Medical Centers, says Leslie’s story is all too common, especially during the holidays. “This time of the year with all of the expectations of Christmas and obligations that often come with it regarding family, friends, social events, and for many travel it can be very stressful for women who are pregnant. My advice to them is to slow down. It’ll be good for them and for their baby.”

For women who are in their third trimester during the holidays Dr. Shepard says it may be helpful to remember the important milestones in their baby’s development. “There is rapid brain development during this period. There’s also continued bone development so it’s important to eat calcium-rich foods. The digestive system is preparing to work on its own after delivery and the baby’s senses are nearly completely developed. As with all stages of pregnancy it’s important for women to be diligent in taking care of themselves and their still-developing baby.”

A few good health habits done consistently during the holidays can help a women enjoy the holidays without ignoring her care and the care of her unborn child. Dr. Shepard says, “Staff of your feet when you can; stay hydrated always; and rest at frequent intervals. These are tips that don’t cost anything, but have a big value.”

Miller says she’s not eating all of the foods she’d normally eat if she wasn’t pregnant and she cut back on the number of decorations she put up for this year’s Christmas. She’s also thankful her husband is doing a lot of the cooking. “For women who may be experiencing their first pregnancy during this time I encourage them to focus on celebrating the upcoming birth of their child and make that the most important event they prepare for. It’ll be a present they’ll never forget.”