|Pregnancy Travel Tips
As some of you may know, my husband and I are expecting a baby in late July. It is an exciting time for us as we get ready to welcome our bundle of joy this summer. As first-time parents, there are many things we have yet to learn about, but we are both the type of people who try not to overwhelm ourselves and learn as we go. One of the things I have taken the task to learn recently was traveling while pregnant. As it is evidently obvious, I love to travel, but as much as I love to travel, I hate flying. I am a nervous flyer. I prefer to have my two feet on the ground than soaring above the clouds. But don’t get me wrong, I will still get on a plane and go where I need to go, I just won’t enjoy it. Since I know I am a nervous flyer, I have decided not to fly during pregnancy. Although it is perfectly safe (depending on your pregnancy and stage in pregnancy, of course), I know that I will just cause unnecessary stress to the baby and make myself more uncomfortable than need be. As a result, we have decided to go on a mini babymoon to Philadelphia for the Easter long weekend, and we will be traveling by car. We have done some local traveling during my pregnancy, but this will be the first time we are going to be traveling for more than 2 hours. So here are my tips for when you decide to travel while pregnant (as always, please consult your doctor before traveling and be sure to do additional research as I am not an expert on the topic, just providing some tips that I found useful).
If you are generally a healthy person, odds are that you normally don’t consult your doctor about your travel plans. But during pregnancy, you should talk to them. Your doctor will be able to provide you with advice that is unique to your pregnancy, and other health related tips to keep in mind while you are away. If they advise you not to travel it is likely with good reason, so be sure to take their advice.
I have said it before, and I will say it again: if you can’t afford travel insurance then you can’t afford to travel. If something happens while you are abroad, and you don’t have travel insurance, you will be expected to pay out of pocket. If you are a Canadian citizen like me, and are traveling to the United States, you best be arriving with travel insurance. If you do get travel insurance (which you really should), check what it covers. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, and if something happens, odds are your insurance company will not cover your medical costs. If you have a risk-free pregnancy, and an emergency occurs, odds are you will be covered by the insurance. But to be safe, it is best to call and ask, better yet get the information in writing.
One of the benefits of being pregnant is being able to wear maternity clothing, which is oh so comfortable (I think I might extend the life of mine postpartum for those bloated days I tend to get). If you have not yet invested in some comfortable maternity clothes, this is a great time to do so. Maternity clothes can be pricey, but if you stick to the sales racks or cheaper stores like Old Navy, you are likely to save some money.
In addition to clothing, have comfortable shoes. Pregnant or not, you should always have a comfortable pair of walking shoes for sightseeing. Just remember that this is not the time to wear your new shoes in. Odds are you will get blisters and not be able to enjoy your vacation as much. Sure you want to look great for the photos, but if your feet and body ache because of uncomfortable shoes, it will show through on your photos whether you like it or not.
If you are pregnant, you don’t need me telling you how thirsty you get. Regardless of your means of transportation, be sure to stay hydrated, and especially while flying. While in the air, you are likely to become dehydrated so be sure to drink lots of water. If you know that your airline will charge you for drinks, do yourself a favour and buy a bottle of water at the duty free before you board.
Eating healthy food can be difficult while traveling, but it doesn’t have to be. I personally don’t believe that you have to eat at a restaurant for every single meal. While traveling, I like to find local grocery stores close to the hotel where I can purchase some fruits and veggies and eat them as I go. You can wash them in your hotel room, and some even come pre-cut for you so that takes the hassle off. Eating healthy while pregnant is important, so be sure that while you are on vacation, you are not also taking a vacation from your pregnancy.
Pregnancy can do funny things with your bladder and bowel movements, and there is no exception to the rule when traveling. If you have to go then go as soon as possible. Holding in can cause a UTI or constipation, and nobody has time for that while on vacation! If you are traveling by plane or train, get up and use the bathroom as needed. If you are traveling by car, keep track of the signs that indicate where the next rest stop is. If you are going to travel by bus, it is a good idea to find out beforehand if there will be a washroom on board, otherwise, you might get stuck holding it in longer than you want to.
While pregnant, you are at a higher risk of blood clots. As a result, you want to be stretching and moving as often as possible (I have read at least once an hour). Blood clots are not fun ever, let alone when you are pregnant. While traveling, be sure to get up and stretch your legs as often as possible.
If you are taking any medications, vitamins or regular, don’t forget to bring them along. If you are traveling to a country where you don’t know the language, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before leaving to find out what you can take with you in case something happens. There are many medications you can’t take while pregnant, so plan ahead.
Yup, I said it! One thing I would not recommend is traveling to the Caribbean. In fact, I would not recommend traveling anywhere that you can easily get a virus, infection, or disease. Even if you are planning to get pregnant in the next year, I would avoid this area as many reports have indicated that the Zika virus can live in men and women longer than previously believed. Whether you want to think that the Zika virus is just a government conspiracy or not, it is not something you should risk finding out about. The Caribbean will be there once you deliver so just wait it out.
Pregnancy is not a time to go all out on exploring a new city or country in a short period of time. What you might normally be able to do might not be physically possible depending on how far along you are and how your pregnancy is progressing. Our bodies do funny things to us while we are pregnant so be sure to take breaks and rest periods. I know that I personally get winded a lot faster and keeping up with my husband often results in me asking him to slow down (even with my long legs, I can’t keep up with him most of the time). Your trip will be much more enjoyable, and you will be able to see a lot more if you take a moment to catch your breath and enjoy the view.
If you do decide to travel while pregnant, that is perfectly fine as long as you are experiencing a healthy pregnancy and you have received your doctor’s approval. I have yet to travel to Philadelphia so I will let you all know how that went, but I have a feeling the tempo of our travel will be a lot different than before, which I know my husband will be happy about (I am like the Energizer Bunny when it comes to discovering a new place. I just go go go, but this time, I don’t think that will be the case).
Are there any tips or experiences that you would like to share? Please do so in the comments below.