The holiday season gives us all an opportunity to connect with gratitude. I can’t think of there anything to be more thankful more than being pregnant during the holiday season Think about it: You’re having a baby. Right now, a little one is growing and developing inside of you. S/he is tucked snugly underneath your heart and waiting to meet everyone who loves them and is waiting for them on this side of the Earth. Of course, here’s more to the holiday than being grateful for the bun in your oven. As we count our blessings, let’s also think of ways to stay comfortable while pregnant during the holidays.

Autumn and Thanksgiving 

Who doesn’t love autumn? If you’re lucky enough to watch the leaves change color, begin to fall and crunch underneath your feet count your blessings. As the air cools, many people start to think of football and turkey legs. Of course, not everyone loves football, but the season brings us a new kind of cozy nesting time, so similar to pregnancy for many women.

In my house, Thanksgiving brings the season together. I love the scent of pumpkin pie in the oven. I find extra whipped cream to be a necessity when you’re pregnant. Around here, we think that the perfect pie crust can only be formed with copious amounts of love and butter? Personally, I think pumpkin pie should be eaten year-round, but the appeal of it and the scent that is evokes as it wafts through your family’s house as soon as you walk through the front door on Thanksgiving is hard to beat. It screams “Hey, autumn and football and turkey legs are here!”

Pie aside, Thanksgiving dinner is a thing dreams are made of. It’s sumptuous. It invites everyone to congregate, laugh and revel in the splendor that is heaping piles of mashed potatoes, perfectly browned turkey skin and gravy covering it all. Don’t forget the stuffing. In some sects, it may be better-recognized as dressing. Whatever one calls it, there’s never a better excuse to eat a bunch of gravy-soaked bread than Thanksgiving time.

When you are pregnant, thanksgiving dinner brings some great opportunities and a few challenges. Here are things to love and ways to stay comfortable at your thanksgiving feast:

Stretch Pants

Loosened belt buckles and unbuttoned pants are among the hallmarks of thanksgiving. Those people have it rough. They might be able to loosen the grip their jeans have on them long enough to squeeze in one more slice of turkey or helping of green bean casserole, but that’s all.

The pregnant woman gets to bring her best pair of maternity leggings to the dinner table and enjoy as many helpings as she wants. Seriously, this is the only time it’s going to be acceptable by your entire family that you want seconds and thirds. Go for it. No one will say a word. Best of all, your pants won’t cut off your circulation.

Word to the wise, if heartburn and indigestion plague you, eat slowly. Graze all day if you must — as much as one can graze on mounds of fluffy whipped potatoes. Eating a few papaya enzymes before you indulge can be helpful, too. But mostly, it’s the stretch pants.

Nap Time

You know that folktale about Thanksgiving being the perfect day for the men to stuff their faces and fall asleep watching football?, It’s no folktale. Turkey contains high levels of tryptophan, which makes us sleepy. You get to be one of the boys this year. After all the protein and pie

your little heart and big belly desires, feel free to slip away and lie down for a bit. Mommas-to-be need their rest! You have the perfect excuse.

One of the Boys

For better or worse, in traditional American family, most of the women end up in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day removing gizzards and preparing a feast fit for all the kings waiting in the family room watching the big game. This year, take a load off. It’s not great for your circulation or baby to be on your feet all day like that. Take a breather and catch up with Dad and your favorite uncle. If you do find yourself in the kitchen, make sure your focus is on taste-testing for the other ladies in your family more so than it is peeling potatoes and basting meats.

If horseshoes and turkey frying are part of the equation, take that belly outside and enjoy the crisp air that immediately puts the kibosh on your estrogen-fueled hot flashes. Alright, maybe steer clear of the turkey fryer, but lend a hand when it’s time to test the skin for the perfect crispness. Take to Pinterest and find yourself a mocktail recipe that will make you fit right in with your beer guzzling relatives.

The Experienced Mom

If this isn’t your first pregnancy, delight in the fact that you are big and pregnant and it’s hot in this house. Step outside and take a walk. Leave the little ones with Dad and grab a break for yourself. Let them enjoy playing with cousins and grandparents, aunts and uncles. In other words, let everyone else keep an eye on your kids. That’s part of what this holiday is about. If your supermom cousin just had her first, make sure to pass on the tradition and let her know.

If this is your last pregnancy, dig in! Dig into the food, sink into the comfy sofa, and fall in love with autumn and football and Thanksgiving. Baby will be here soon and you’ll be longing for a day when you got to eat your food hot. Next year will be a completely different story!

Written by Danielle Bosley; edited by Donna Harel Kirschner