Have Baby, Will Travel

Everything about pregnancy is an adventure. There are the obvious physical changes—hello, belly!—coupled with an endless stream of emotional roller coaster rides. It can be enough for any woman to want to get far, far away. And why not? Travel is a great distraction from all the changes and stress that show up long before your baby.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises that the best time to travel is in the second trimester, or between 14-28 weeks. By this stage, you will have higher levels of energy and likely be past the stage of morning sickness. Once you've received the green light from your doc, you need to consider how you're going to get where you're going.

Flying the Friendly Skies

The American Pregnancy Association reports that many airlines allow pregnant women to fly through their eighth month, though policies will vary by airline. Here are some tips to make your journey smoother:

  • Aisle, please. Choosing an aisle seat provides two-fold help. It allows you to stretch your legs occasionally and allows easier trips to the restroom if you need.
  • Under, not around. Always wear your safety belt when you're seated. Remember to place it below your abdomen, not around it, as that location could harm the baby in an accident.
  • Get comfy. If your flight is lengthy, bring a neck pillow or a great pair of headphones with your favorite music. Pregnancy can make an uncomfortable situation worse, so be prepared with something to help take your mind off of it.

The Wheels on the Bus

Travel by bus can be a great way to get from A to B. Bus travel is generally cheaper than flying, and it can be more relaxing for all involved because someone else does the driving. Plus, bus lines usually don't have restrictions for pregnant women. Be prepared for your bus journey:

  • Built-in footrest.  Many pregnant women suffer from swollen ankles. Use your carry-on bag as a footrest to ease that problem. Also, make sure your most needed products (ear plugs, toothbrush, etc.) are in that carry-on, as your main luggage will likely be under the bus.
  • Layer up. Bus temperatures (and flights) can fluctuate from frigid to sweltering. Be prepared with a light jacket over layers.
  • Bring your munchies. The list of food items a pregnant woman should avoid is vast. There may not be great food options during your trip, so bring your own healthy snacks.

Cruisin', not Woozin'

For those that love ocean travel, pregnancy isn't a deterrent—and it shouldn't be. Many pregnant women enjoy cruises in all stages of pregnancy.  Once your doc clears you for navigating the seas, remember these tips:

  • Is this morning sickness? Even though you may be long past morning sickness, the constant rock of the boat through water may bring it back full force or exacerbate what's already there. Be prepared with seasickness wrist bands or medications that are approved by your doctor.
  • Ports of call. Review the cruise itinerary to identify what types of medical facilities are available on land should you need them. You might even discuss with your doctor how to handle medical issues (such as international medical care), should they arise.
  • Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize. Diarrhea viruses are a common issue on cruises, and they travel lickety split in close quarters. Wash your hands after using the restroom and bring your own hand sanitizer for in-between times.

Traveling is a wonderful way to enjoy those last months before Baby arrives, while making memories that last a lifetime. If you plan carefully and always keep your health a priority, you can have a wonderful time and be rested and relaxed when baby time arrives!

Kim Antisdel is a writer, interior designer and sales rep. Her favorite place to write is curled up on the couch with her two rescue cats and two rescue dachshunds fighting for a spot on her lap.

As always, please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns. 

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