Whether you’re planning a short vacation just before your bundle of joy arrives, a critical work trip or even a short four hour drive, make sure to prioritize your comfort and health while on the go. With some simple planning strategies, you can reduce your travel anxieties and get the most out of your time.
Check out these tips for taking a trip when you’re expecting.
1. Choosing Your Destination
Select some place that doesn’t involve a lot of travelling as long flights can be uncomfortable during pregnancy. Ideally, try to choose somewhere within a two-hour to three-hour flight. It’ll also help if there isn’t a long transfer from the airport. It’s much easier to relax and enjoy your holiday when you know that there are good shops and medical facilities nearby, so do a little research online before you go. It is best to avoid travelling to areas where vaccinations are required during pregnancy. Also, avoid travelling to areas where there is a risk of catching a mosquito-borne disease, such as malaria, dengue or zika. Steer clear of cities with extra high altitudes and avoid high risk activities like skiing, snowboarding, skydiving. Maximize your time in a new destination with brisk walks, low-impact swims or relaxing yoga on the beach.
2. Always Plan Ahead
A little forward thinking can help you make the most of your time away. Make a list of all the things you want to take with you, just to be on the safe side. For most women, pregnancy comes with nausea, discomfort and fatigue. Take advantage of the second trimester when you are likely to overcome morning sickness and increased fatigue is yet to arrive. Try to avoid traveling after 36 to 38 weeks of pregnancy. Allow plenty of time for travel. Arrange everything in advance, including your seat assignment on an airplane (an aisle seat works best for frequent trips to the bathroom) and carry a travel pillow to help relieve your back on hard chairs, or for use as a headrest if you have a long wait.
3. Carry a Copy of Your Prenatal Records
No matter where you decide to go, always bring along a copy of your prenatal records and medical notes. And while you’re planning your trip, be sure to determine where the nearest hospital or medical facility is located. Should you need treatment from a local doctor during your trip, your records will provide an essential starting point for a medical professional to understand the circumstances of your pregnancy. If you have health insurance, keep proof of insurance with you at all times.
4. Do Not Compromise on Nutrition
Pregnant women should drink 8 to 12 glasses of water per day in order to prevent dehydration and ensure that their amniotic fluid is renewed and breast milk production is on track, among other health benefits. When you’re packing bites to eat, Include as many fruits and vegetables as possible. This will give you plenty of vitamins and minerals, and can also help you avoid constipation. If you’re not sure about the safety of the water where you’re staying, avoid raw vegetables and fruit that you can’t peel yourself. You might want to avoid saltier foods which can contribute to retention of fluids and can cause your swelling to get worse. Dried fruit, cereal bars and wholemeal biscuits are all great options.
5. Pack Sensibly
Staying comfortable is even more important when you’re pregnant. The right clothes, shoes and accessories can make a real difference. If you’re likely to do lots of walking, take comfortable shoes or trainers. You may also want to take some blister pads because even comfortable shoes can rub if your feet swell up. If you’re going to be away for more than a few weeks, make sure you pack clothes that have room for your bump to grow. Pack a range of clothes to help you stay cool on hot days and use light layers to stay comfortable when the temperature dips.
6. Take Regular Breaks
Getting plenty of rest will help you feel better and give you enough energy to enjoy your holiday to the fullest. Try to plan several breaks a day, in places where you can relax with your feet up. Give yourself time to sit still, absorb the atmosphere, and recharge your batteries. Make the most of this special time and ensure that your comfort is the top priority. Try to do some simple stretches every hour or so to help minimise swelling, heartburn and leg cramps. If possible, get up and wander around often. If you’re driving, try to take a break at least every hour and a half. You can also wear compression stockings to help keep your circulation moving on long journeys. If your back aches, try placing a cushion or rolled-up jumper in the small of your back when you sit down.