Mother and Baby

How to navigate the office Christmas party when pregnant

Section: Christmas

During the festive season, if you are lucky, your calendar is probably packed full of parties and Christmas events with family, friends and colleagues.

However, with a blossoming bumpmorning sickness and pregnancy fatigue to contend with, parties and socialising can be a bit of a minefield during pregnancy.

The champagne is flowing and canapes full of foods you need to avoid are being shoved in your face, BUT, is it still possible to let your hair down and really enjoy yourself? 

If you follow a few of these simple tips then you might find yourself surprisingly disappointed when the disco ball finally stops spinning and everyone gets in the taxi to go home at 11 pm (we can be optimistic right?).

11 tips for Christmas parties while pregnant:

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1) Learn to say no

This might not seem like a tip to help you survive Christmas parties, however, if you have received several invites to different parties and events you need to learn to say no. Pregnancy can be an exhausting time and you don't want to sacrifice your mood and health for the sake of a party (where people will probably get so drunk they won't remember if you were there or not!). Pick the events you really want to or need to attend and make sure you have enough rest beforehand so that you can really enjoy yourself. If you have loads of energy and socialising several days a week isn't a problem then party on! You're one of the lucky few.
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2) Eat before you go

Eating regularly during pregnancy is important to keep up your energy levels that are often at an all-time-low anyway. A party buffet is likely to be full of unhealthy snacks that can make you feel sluggish and bloated. Eat a healthy and hearty meal before you go puts you in control just in case the food there isn't suitable. Certain foods should be avoided during pregnancy such as soft cheeses with white rinds, pâté and raw fish which unluckily for you are foods that are likely to be common on a festive menu or piled on top of canapés. Eating beforehand also means that if there is no food or it is served late you won't begin to feel hungry and weak.
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3) Use your handbag wisely

If you don't have a chance to eat beforehand or you do but you're still hungry by 8pm, pop some healthy snacks in your handbag. Ideal snacks are some nuts or fruit so that you can sneakily eat some to keep you going all night. Eating small amounts of food regularly during pregnancy helps to fend off nausea or sickness as well as preventing heartburn and indigestion. You can also use a handbag for any pregnancy essentials such as heartburn medication (if approved by your doctor), plasters if your party shoes hurt or breast pads in case you have some leakage.
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4) Find the perfect party outfit

Dressing while pregnant can be difficult. If you're still keeping your pregnancy secret, it makes sense to avoid tight figure-hugging clothes. If hiding a blossoming bump isn't an option, you can choose to show off your curves or keep it subtle depending on how you feel. Avoiding really tight clothes might be a good idea if you are planning to stay at the party all night as comfort is incredibly important. Check out our article on what to wear to your Christmas party when pregnant for some great maternity wear suggestions.
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5) Have a sidekick

If you are keeping your pregnancy a secret from family or friends, where possible nominate a sidekick that knows you are pregnant so they can look out for you. It can be a husband or friend who will swiftly change the conversation if it steers towards pregnancy or order your drinks for you so nobody realises your staying off the alcohol. They can also back up whatever story you choose to use! It means you'll have somebody with you who can offer you any support you might need.
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6) Avoiding alcohol

The NHS guidelines recommend avoiding alcohol completely during pregnancy. This is especially difficult during the festive season. Opt for a drink with soda water as it is good at settling your stomach and ask for a dash of lime to make it look like a G&T. Cranberry juice is also a good option if you have suffered from cystitis during pregnancy as it is often believed to have healing properties - plus nobody will know it's not a vodka cran. You can order your own drinks (or nominate your sidekick) to prevent people from buying you alcohol or tell the other party-goers that you are on antibiotics/suffering from a bad stomach and avoiding booze. Once your sidekick has drunk their flute of fizz, swap their empty glass for your full one (sneaky, eh?).
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7) Avoiding smoking

As well as alcohol, the NHS guidelines recommend giving up smoking during pregnancy. You might have given up cigarettes but to keep your precious little one safe, it is a good idea to avoid the smoking area to prevent the risks from second-hand smoke. If you’re at a party in a public space, chances are there will be smokers nearby. If you need to go outside for fresh air but find you are surrounded by plumes of smoke, ask them politely to move to prevent it blowing into your face. People will often respond well to pregnant women.
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8) Wear sensible shoes

It is hard to imagine a Christmas party without a glamorous outfit accompanied by killer heels. However, oedema/swollen ankles are very common during pregnancy so your feet might not fit into your fave stilettos anyway. If you aren't suffering from puffy feet, you are still more susceptible to leg cramps. Heels are uncomfortable at the best of times so if you want to go the distance, comfortable shoes really are the best option. 
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9) Take a seat

If you are in it for the long haul it is a good idea to scout out a comfortable spot that you can slink off too in times of need. Overheating during pregnancy is common, especially if you are on a packed dancefloor or surrounded by people. Find a seat where people can come and chat with you, ideally somewhere you can pop up your swollen feet. Although resting up is important, it is also advised that you also get up to move frequently to improve your circulation.
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10) Try to enjoy the attention

If you are in your third trimester it is likely everyone knows your pregnant and your bump is clear to see. You will probably be the centre of attention which might not be a good thing. This can mean people you barely know start touching your stomach or worse still putting their ear to it to hear the baby gurgle. Set boundaries if you can to prevent you feeling uncomfortable but learn to take advantage of your temporary celeb status. People will probably offer to bring you glasses of water, find you a seat or stuff you with canapés. Better still, people will understand that you can't join in with the conga and they will understand that you are not at your most social. Use this as an opportunity to spend quality time with good friends who have your best interests at heart.
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11) Have an exit plan

If all of our advice fails, it is important to have an exit plan. This is where your sidekick can come in handy again as you can slink away and they can cover you. Don't feel bad if you need to leave early, yours and your baby's health is the most important thing. Tell guests your partner or family have called with an emergency if you don't want to be honest.


What are your tips for surviving Christmas parties? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

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Catriona originally joined the team as an Editorial Assistant to work on the 2019 M&B Awards. As a Digital Writer, she has written and updated hundreds of articles on the site from medical explainers to celebs news and shopping galleries.

Catch her running along the Thames or eating her way around London's restaurants.


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