It’s common to consider all the major life changes to come when pregnant with your first child. Some of the things most integral to our identities must begin to change in order to begin the transformative journey from woman to mother. I think for me, it was important to have the experience of traveling while pregnant. It was necessary for much of what made me change in order to become a parent. This can terrify even the most excited parent. Nevertheless, I was assured that the part of me that longed for adventure didn’t have to disappear. That’s the beautiful thing about traveling – the trip can be tailored to YOU – whatever YOUR needs are – to still have a great experience. Here’s what I know now about traveling during pregnancy.
1) Consult your Doctor First
Of course, before traveling any distance away from your hospital, make sure to consult with your doctors. Let them know what your plans are and how long you expect to be gone. Getting the okay to travel from your doctor should leave you feeling assured that your little one will be safe. It also means that you’ll be more willing to stay in place long enough for you to properly enjoy your trip with peace of mind.
I had a lot of fears when I began to plan a trip to Denver, CO when I was 8 months pregnant. A few of them were not being allowed to go on an airplane, getting kicked off of an airplane, or, even worse, going into labor on an airplane or far away from home. If you plan on flying consult your doctor first (of course). Depending on how far along in your pregnancy you are, flying might not be recommended for a variety of reasons.
If you do get the “O.K.” to fly pregnant, I would suggest asking for a doctor’s note stating that it’s safe for you to fly. Different airlines have different restrictions on when pregnant women are allowed to fly. Make sure you check the airline’s website or call their customer service hotline to double check before buying your tickets. Here is a link to an article that lists 14 major airlines, and each of their policies on flying while pregnant.
2) Get a Head Start Traveling During Pregnancy
Despite what some may think, early pregnancy is a great time to travel. It’s the last bit of time you have before experiencing the whole new challenge of learning to travel with a baby – so trust me, you’ll want to take advantage of it. Not everyone feels the best during early pregnancy. Personally, I was sick most of the time. I even had trouble keeping water down some days. However, there are ways to plan your day around the quirks of pregnancy to still enjoy your trip. For me, scheduling things for later in the day was key. It would give me time to relax while the morning nausea subsided. I’d also get to have a little bit to eat before starting our activities. Taking this time in the morning made being active for the rest of the day much easier.
3) Don’t Forget Snacks and Water
Typically, traveling means long days of walking and sightseeing, so it’s important to keep yourself properly fueled. Depending on how far along in your pregnancy you are, you may need to be taking in a higher number of calories than usual. Small snacks throughout your day and plenty (and I mean PLENTY) of water can help you to stay feeling energized and nausea-free (… or less nauseous, at least). Protein shakes were a great portable option for me. Here you can find a list of protein-packed snacks, perfect for pregnant mommas!
4) Find What Works While Traveling During Pregnancy
Another helpful tool to have on hand were hard sour candies. I know it might sound weird, but candies like Ice Breakers Sours were a real lifesaver when it came to morning sickness! It’s common for hard sour candies and mints to be helpful for pregnant women with nausea. Even if it’s something strange, every pregnancy is different, so find what works for you.
5) Get Comfortable
After I double checked with my doctor, I flew with no problems. The only restriction was that I wasn’t able to sit in an exit row. This is because of the amount of weight I was allowed to lift while pregnant. Another important suggestion – if you can, get an aisle seat. That way you don’t have to stress out about asking others to move so you can squeeze your belly down the narrow rows and seemingly more narrow aisles to the restroom. Plus, getting up and moving around during your flight is important. This lowers the risk of blood clots when in the later stages of pregnancy.
Don’t forget to bring a pillow! Being pregnant is uncomfortable, there’s no question about it. To help ease some of this, bring a small pillow to support your neck and/or your back. This can make a huge difference when trying to get some rest on the road or in the air.
When your pockets are stuffed with snacks and you’ve got ample time planned for naps, you should feel relaxed. That’s because you’re now confident in having all the tools you need traveling during pregnancy. With any new experience comes challenges, but with a little bit of planning, traveling pregnant can be just as exciting and fulfilling as any other trip!
by Sara Sands