A bun in the oven? Top five travel tips for pregnant women
Planning a trip while pregnant? Whether it is an essential family visit, a critical business trip or just mind-clearing ‘baby moon’, the idea of traveling when you are pregnant can be nerve racking. Thoughts such as how to manage a plane or a strange hotel room when it is hard to get comfortable in your own bed, will likely pop in your mind.
Although it is usually safe for women with low-risk pregnancies to travel as long as they prioritize their comfort and health while on the go, there are some tips you should take into consideration before you squeeze into your over-sized maternity outfit and head out on that trip.
- Time it Right
The best time to travel while pregnant is in the second trimester between 14 and 28 weeks — when medical emergencies related to pregnancy are least likely to occur and -for most women- morning sickness has lessened.
It is also a time when many moms-to-be have the greatest amount of energy and still feel energized about doing normal activities. However, regardless of how you feel, ensure you consult with your doctor before setting out, as women with higher-risk pregnancies may be discouraged from traveling. Most airlines and transport companies require a note from your doctor if your expected due date (EDD) is within 30 days.
2. Stay comfortable
It is important to do all you can to stay comfortable throughout the trip. Most important is your clothing. When you are pregnant, your body does not regulate its temperature quite as well as usual, be sure to pack a variety of clothing for your trip, and dress in layers.
Being able to easily put on or take off a cardigan or jacket will help keep you feeling snug. Steer clear of strappy sandals; instead, choose soft fabric flats or sling backs, which are easy on the heels and appropriate for swollen feet.
Remove jewelry before flying, be sure to give your feet room to stretch and try to get an aisle seat which is close to the front of the plane as this will make boarding and disembarking easier.
Other little things to make travel easier include propping a small pillow behind your back, wearing loose clothing and checking in online to lower your chances of having to stand in line for a prolonged period of time.
3. Stay Hydrated and Eat Wisely
With the limited amount of food available on the road or flight, it is important to make sure you carry nutritious, protein-packed snacks to keep you going.
Dried fruit, cereal bars, whole meal biscuits, mini-boxes of raisins and pre-cut carrots are other tasty, travel-friendly options to consider; this way you will always have something delicious on hand regardless of delays.
Be extra careful with your choice of food, pick fruits and vegetables with thick skin, wash them well, and make sure that the water is potable. If you are not sure about the safety of the water, avoid raw vegetables and fruit that you cannot peel yourself. Also, it is especially important to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and nausea. Always carry a bottle with you and take sips throughout the day.
4. Stay Safe and Healthy
Pregnant or not, no one wants to get sick when they are traveling. It is important to take certain precautions to reduce the risks of illness or an accident.
Always wear your seatbelt in cars or airplanes, wash your hands often as your immune system is weaker during pregnancy and so you are more susceptible to bacterial and virus which cause infections and diseases on the road, pack a tube of hand sanitizer for when there is no sink or soap nearby. Ensure you get your flu vaccine, and ensure you bring your identification, travel insurance documents, medical or maternity notes and a list of important contacts.
Finally, try your best to scale back your activities, use common sense and avoid anything strenuous.
5. Speak up and enjoy the attention.
You are pregnant, embrace it!
Let the world know you are pregnant, that way you can enjoy all the perks that come with it; including extra assistance with luggage, easy check-in and seat upgrade on your flight, extra pillows for your hotel room and many more.
Accept offered seats and opened doors, and do not be afraid to enjoy any help you get as they all add to making your trip comfy. Try not to get embarrassed as well when you find people addressing your bump rather than your face as many people generally mean well and are excited for you.
**I first published this article on August 17, 2015