by Michelle Duffy
Many women travel for business or pleasure while pregnant. If you are generally in good health, have no known issues that may cause complications, and your doctor has approved your plans, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take that trip.
To make your journey a huge success, you should be conservative in judging your physical capabilities. If you haven’t biked or hiked before, now is not a good time to start. If you’re planning an adventurous trip, consider all that you might encounter. A backpack may be too heavy to carry when balancing a baby bump, a cramped bus or train can be nauseating, and you really do need your sleep–for you and the baby.
For flights, try to book an aisle seat to make the many potty breaks you’ll need a little easier. Use frequent-flier miles to upgrade, so you can have additional legroom. Keep in mind, however, that pregnant women are not permitted to sit in emergency exit rows.
Whether you are already pregnant or there’s a possibility you may be pregnant by vacation time, it’s worth keeping the following considerations in mind when choosing a destination and activities for your vacation.
Timing Your Trip
Travel is easiest and safest during the middle trimester. During this time, you can usually do everything you would do if you weren’t pregnant, except maybe some riskier sports, such as scuba diving and downhill skiing. You may be more tired than usual, but that means you have an excuse to plan more lazy days to enjoy the company of your spouse, partner, or other children. And there are plenty of alternate activities that can make up for the things you can’t do. For example, you can see almost as much marine life at a good snorkel spot as you would in full scuba gear.
Pregnancy, Travel and Your Small Child
If you are pregnant and traveling with a young child, you’ll need to plan activities carefully. I ventured to Melbourne, Australia, with my husband and three-year-old son when I was in the first trimester of my second pregnancy. A pregnant mom and a jetlagged preschooler do not mix well. Pregnancy (in addition to jet lag) makes you tired, but you cannot ignore the small child who depends on you to look after him. On the positive side, traveling with a small child forces you to take things more slowly, and that will probably suit you just fine.
In addition to good prenatal care, the easiest way to ensure a healthy pregnancy is to eat healthy foods, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, get lots of exercise, and remember your multivitamins and folic acid supplements.
Unfortunately, getting beneficial foods can be difficult while traveling. It helps to know some healthy recommendations before you go. The popular book, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel, and the website What to Expect provide lots of information on eating well while pregnant. Alternatively, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) offers the pamphlet Nutrition During Pregnancy on their website.
* * * * *
Michelle Duffy is an IT professional who, after 10 years in the dotcom world, left Amazon.com to spend more time writing, traveling and being with her family.
With her natural passion for travel, she and her husband left Dublin, Ireland in 1995. After exploring much of the Western U.S., they settled in Seattle with their two boys. Parenthood did not preclude Michelle’s intent to wander far and wide. She has traveled extensively in the U.S., Europe, South and Central America with her family. Her children have so far: visited Machu Picchu, explored Mayan Mexico, enjoyed the view from the Acropolis and marveled at the kangaroos in South Australia – as well as visiting many other fun destinations worldwide. Michelle is currently planning 15-month round-the-world trip with her family.
Michelle is the co-author of Wanderlust and Lipstick: Traveling with Kids.