Being pregnant—at any time of year—is, in the immortal words of Forrest Gump’s mama, “like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Pregnancy is a fun little grab bag of surprises: Will you sail smoothly through each trimester with the proverbial glow? Will you barf every time the wind blows and retain water like a parched sponge? You won’t know until it’s actually happening! So much fun!*
*Definitions of “fun” may vary.
Adding to the joys of pregnancy are external factors: namely, the weather. If you live in a place with four distinct seasons, you know that each has its perks and pitfalls, even when you’re not growing a human. When you’re knocked up, though, those benefits and drawbacks can be intensified even more. So what can you expect (seasonally speaking) when you’re expecting?
The Pros: ‘Tis the season for bulky sweaters, heavy coats, and lots of layers. This is great for a couple of things—number one, disguising your growing belly if you don’t want questions from strangers, and number two, hiding any body part that feels fat. Pregnancy-induced double chin got you down? Cover that shit with a scarf! And since you’re not going to be wearing shorts or a bathing suit in subzero temperatures, you don’t have to shave as often, including those hard-to-reach places (well, at least not until the next appointment with your OB/GYN. You don’t want your doctor to require a machete to gain access). Bonus: You’re always hot, so while your non-pregnant friends are shivering to death, you’ll be nice and comfy.
The Cons: You will literally feel like a porpoise on skates every time you venture onto a potentially slick patch of ground. Falling on the ice sucks bad enough when you aren’t pregnant, but it’s much riskier when you are. You might think you’ll get better traction in a pair of boots, but if your feet are swollen? Fuhgeddaboutit. Also, winter is prime cold and flu season, but you’re not allowed to take anything stronger than Tylenol. Blah.
The Pros: From a temperature standpoint, spring is one of the best times to be pregnant (I mean, it isn’t baby animal season for nothing. The wildlife knows what’s up). The weather is finally starting to get warm, but it’s not sweltering hot yet. No more ice and snow means you’re no longer confined to the house by the fear of being downed like a beached whale, so it’s easier to get some exercise. If you’re in the early months of pregnancy and feeling nauseous, nobody will yell at you for opening windows to get fresh air.
The Cons: Cankles don’t look great in capri pants. And actually, that’s pretty much the only downside.
The Pros: Two words: Maxi Dress. These heavenly garments are a boon to huge pregnant bellies everywhere. Comfy and forgiving, they’re like wearing a nightgown everywhere, only cuter and more socially acceptable. Plus they allow for maximum ventilation, thus assisting with the profuse sweating in the crotch and upper-thigh area, a condition known as “swamp ass.” Another good point to being pregnant in the summer? It’s a good excuse to find a nice, cool swimming pool and stay there in its soothing weightlessness, floating those aches and pains away. If your feet look like footballs, flip-flops are your best friend.
The Cons: Heat. Obviously. It leads to all kinds of uncomfortable situations, such as gross sweat under your boobs and in other undesirable places (see previous paragraph). There’s chafing, and prickly rashes, and a general feeling of “please don’t make me do anything that involves movement.” Not only that, but everyone from the meter reader to the mailman will feel the need to express their sympathies over your unfortunate circumstances—and you’ll start to wonder just how many polite smiles you have left to give.
The Pros: Like spring, the weather in fall is much more tolerable. But the best part? Fall holidays have added bonuses when you’re expecting. Pregnant bellies make for spectacular Halloween costumes (thank you Pinterest!), and the “eating for two” excuse was practically made for Thanksgiving—plus, all your pants are stretchy.
The Cons: If you usually host the aforementioned holidays, you’re going to be 10 times as exhausted. Stock up on antacids, because more food equals more opportunities to be gassy—as though you needed any help (besides, it’s chili weather!). And speaking of weather, fall can be a fickle time. Summerlike warmth one day and frosty air the next means that you’ve got to have a variety of maternity clothes to cover either condition, and that can get pricey. If you’re unfortunate enough to suffer from gestational diabetes, all the off-limits Halloween candy will have you saying “boo.” And if the baby is due in late fall or winter, you’ll have to bundle your bundle in extra layers, so add like 10 extra minutes to your routine.
While pregnancy is overall a beautiful thing—and the end result is well worth any sweaty crotch or swollen feet—there’s going to be something to gripe about, no matter what time of year you’re in. Just keep reminding yourself that it’s only a little while in the grand scheme of things, and whatever seasonal miseries you endure are going to make excellent guilt trips when your kids are older. (My mom still enjoys reminding me about her discomfort during the record-high temperatures surrounding my late-August birthday, and I’m 35.)
See? Everything has an upside.