Your Autumn Pregnancy

Dress for the season

The good news is that during pregnancy you’re likely to feel warmer than usual so you might not feel the cold as much. As the season gets cooler you may find that you start to feel the chill a bit more, so start experimenting with what you already have in your wardrobe before heading out to buy more.

Layering is key for warmth, and for eking out your normal clothes a bit longer. You don’t need to buy a wardrobe full of maternity tops straight away, but some long maternity t-shirts or vests could be helpful. Try stretchy fabrics as a base layer to keep your bump covered and cosy, and simply layer on top.

Coughs and colds

In the Autumn/Winter months, the air is cold and dry, and we tend to spend more time indoors in close proximity to other people. This provides an ideal situation for cold, flu and coronaviruses to spread.

During pregnancy the immune system – the body’s defence against infections – is weakened. This makes pregnant women more susceptible to infections and are at a higher risk of complications from the flu or coronavirus.

What can you do?

  • Make sure you wash your hands regularly.
  • Clean surfaces like your keyboard, telephone, and door handles regularly to get rid of germs.
  • Try to keep your distance from people with coughs or colds.
  • Get vaccinated

It’s not clear whether it’s safe to take any type of decongestant if you’re pregnant, so you should only use them if told to by a healthcare professional.

Decongestants that come as tablets, liquids or powders that you swallow are not recommended if you’re breastfeeding.

Some decongestants that come as nose sprays or drops are safe to use if you’re breastfeeding, but check with a pharmacist or GP first before using them.

Vaccinations

The NHS recommends that all pregnant women should get the flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is safe any time during your pregnancy, whether it’s your the first few weeks or your expected due date. The risk of flu increases in the later stages of pregnancy and it’s never too late to get vaccinated.

The vaccine is usually available between September and January or February.

COVID-19 vaccines are recommended in pregnancy. Vaccination is the best way to protect against the known risks of COVID-19 in pregnancy for both women and babies, including admission of the woman to intensive care and premature birth of the baby

Having a vaccination will always be your choice – your GP/Midwife/Doctor can answer any questions or concerns.

Skin care

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to dry and itchy skin. And changes in temperature, like when you switch between chilly autumn air and warm central heating, can make the skin worse.

As your bump grows the stretching of the skin over your tummy might cause itching. Wearing loose clothes may help prevent it, as your clothes are less likely to rub against your skin and cause irritation. You may also want to avoid synthetic materials and opt for natural ones, such as cotton, instead. These are ‘breathable’ and allow the air to circulate close to your skin.

A cool bath or applying lotion or moisturiser can help soothe itchy skin. Some women find that products with strong perfumes irritate their skin, so you could try using unperfumed lotion or soap.

Mild itching is not usually harmful to you or your baby. But it can sometimes be a sign of a more serious liver condition intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), also known as obstetric cholestasis (OC). Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy needs medical attention.

Let your midwife or doctor know if you are experiencing itching, particularly if you notice it more in the evenings or at night. They can decide whether you need to have any further investigations.

Vitamin D

It’s recommended that all adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, consider taking a supplement of 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day.

Vitamin D helps maintain a healthy body and immune system. It forms in our skin in response to sunlight.  Women with pigmented skin and pregnant women are at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency. A dose of at least 25 micrograms of vitamin D a day is recommended in women who might be at high risk of vitamin D deficiency. This includes women with darker skin tones or those who have less sunlight getting to their skin.

Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with a risk of gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, small for gestational age and low birth weight infants. Vitamin D is found in foods such as oily fish, eggs, fortified margarines, and some breakfast cereals. But as vitamin D is found only in a small number of foods, whether naturally or added, it might be difficult to get enough from foods alone.