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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

I have been pregnant three times now and have had the experience of traveling during each pregnancy! Why not share some of the knowledge I've learned with you? Here are my tips for traveling while pregnant!


1. Plan, if you can! If you are able to plan when you will travel then obviously before you get pregnant is the ideal time. Heck, traveling with your hubby while trying to conceive would be ideal ;) If given the option of planning a trip either while pregnant or after the baby is born, I'd always recommend choosing to travel while pregnant. While I've never traveled with a new baby, I have traveled when leaving a new baby at home...and pumping is NOT fun. Even further along in pregnancy is easier than not being pregnant and having to revolve all the travel plans around pumping. I'm sure it's also easier to be pregnant than to have a newborn traveling with you as well :)

2. Go in 2nd trimester Again, this is if you are able to plan your dates. Most of our trips we go on we haven't chosen the travel dates so I've just had to go whenever the trip was planned. I have gone on trips that require flying as early as seven weeks pregnant and as late as 33 weeks. There are advantages and disadvantages to any stage of pregnancy when you travel. Earlier on no one can tell you're pregnant so you don't get any perks and you're also experiencing morning sickness/exhaustion etc. Later in pregnancy it's OBVIOUS you are pregnant but your body is also worn out, achy, and you are more limited in what you are able to do. If I could plan the perfect time to travel while pregnant I'd say 17-20 weeks. You're far enough into the second trimester to have some energy back, you're showing a little bit so if you wear tight clothes people can probably tell, and you feel GOOD. No aches and pains yet and just more comfortable overall! As you'll notice at the end of this post I've never been fortunate enough to actually fly during this window of pregnancy haha but I have done Disney World during it and it was FABULOUS!

3. Pick Your Seat Most airlines allow you to go online and pick your seats once you have your flight booked. Pick an aisle seat. Preferably not too far from the bathroom. If you can afford the up charge and are facing a longer flight then def upgrade to the emergency exit seats or even first class (a luxury I myself have never enjoyed!). You need to be able to get up and down easily! If for some reason you aren't able to choose your seat in advance then as soon as you get to your gate go up to the check-in desk and request a change. Even if it means splitting up from your husband or travel partner, it's worth it for you to have the most comfortable seat possible. I have flown on a flight from Atlanta to Paris with a window seat and the woman on the aisle wasn't nice about me getting up to walk...it was NOT a good situation and it was a lesson I learned and will never allow my pregnant self to be put in again!

4. Dress for Comfort Even if not pregnant I'm a believer in wearing comfortable clothes while traveling...but it's essential while expecting. I recommend a sports bra or nursing tank as any other bra will get uncomfortable quickly. Also wear something tight fighting that shows your bump. People are so much friendlier and accommodating when it's obvious you are pregnant. I've gotten in the habit of rubbing my belly a LOT to make it very, very obvious to people :) Always wear layers because plane temperatures vary a lot...and so do your hormones. I like to wear a maternity ribbed tank under a light zip jacket. 

5. Compression Stockings are a Must! Buy some. Wear them. Love them. They are your best travel companion (other than your husband who will carry those heavy suitcases for you!). Make sure you buy the proper size as if they are too small they will become painful once you swell some (another hard learned lesson I've experienced!). I wait to put them on until the flight takes off and then I take them back off after landing. I loved mine so much during one pregnancy that I actually wore them at home a lot too! The stocking will help you avoid swelling while flying and will help you stay comfortable!

6. Preboard I just recently learned this trick and wish I'd known it sooner. When they call for anyone with special needs, children, etc and offer pre-boarding for them...jump in line. Getting on the plane and having your luggage near you is essential. You don't need to board the plane last and then have your carry on at the front of the plane while your seat is in the back because all the overhead bins are full. This is also a good tip if you are traveling and pumping. Preboard and go ahead and hop in the bathroom to pump before take off! Preboarding while pregnant allows you to make sure your seat will be okay for you for the flight, use the bathroom, and chat it up with the staff. The nicer and friendlier you are to everyone who works on the flight, the more perks you will receive! 

7. Water and Walk Two main things to remember on a flight: drink your water and WALK. I bring my own water bottle and refill it while at the airport. Then on the flight I always ask for TWO waters when they come by and offer drinks. I get up and walk roughly every hour (see why you want an aisle seat?!?!). The more you walk, the less you will cramp and the better you will feel. If it's a through the night flight then I will sleep when I can and walk whenever I wake. Usually every 2-3 hours. I don't recommend drinking ANYTHING other than WATER the entire day of your flight. Prior to flying and during the flight you just want to stay as hydrated as you possibly can. If you have an emergency row seat or are sitting in an area that does have a lot of room around it, then do some exercises as well. I will even do them while waiting for the bathroom. Squat, go up on your tip toes, stretch. This is wear the obvious pregnant belly comes in handy b/c you get a lot of smiles and nice comments rather than strange looks ;)

8. Bring Snacks Meals on flights can be few and far between now. It's important to have snacks and such to eat in case you aren't given food on a flight or have a delay or short lay over or any other reason why you wouldn't be able to eat! I usually bring quite a few snacks and will also spend my time during a longer lay over stocking up on things to eat at the air port. Most flights will give you the information in advance regarding any meals that may be served so be sure to check that out before traveling and plan accordingly. If your flight only has the pretzels or peanut option, don't be afraid to request two :) My husband always does and he's not even pregnant haha!

9. Location, Location, Location Where are you traveling? Ideally being pregnant is a fabulous time to take a romantic tropical vacation. You can relax. You can sleep in. You can enjoy the sun. Whether it's your first baby or your fourth...you want to savor some relaxing time while you still can! Pregnancy is not the ideal time to take a touring packed trip. You need to plan to get plenty of sleep and be mindful not to overbook your schedule. Several times I've traveled while pregnant I'm completely worn out exhausted by the last day of our trip and end up not even enjoying myself because I'm just too miserable and tired. Usually we end up spending that last day in the hotel room resting! Sleep is important at any stage in pregnancy and overdoing it will cause you to have negative memories about a vacation that should be fun!

10. Adjust for Time Change When changing time zones give your body what it needs to adjust. I've heard from many people to force yourself to get to the new time by arriving and either not sleeping if it's daytime or going straight to bed if it's night. Whatever time it is in the new time zone, go with it right away. I went to both Hawaii and to Vegas while pregnant and for both trips I slept a solid 12 hours the first night. Plan for that! Your body HAS to get adjusted! If you don't allow yourself the sleep you need, you will be starting off your trip too tired to even function. My husband and I have learned that if we are traveling to a place with a significant time difference then it's best for us to add a day to our vacation. That extra day gives us a day to adjust and rest without feeling like we're missing out on anything! 

Traveling while pregnant takes some planning and preparation but it can be done very easily and can be a wonderful experience! I love all the attention I receive about my pregnancy while traveling. It's such a great conversation starter and it's always nice to be able to share your joy about your new baby with others :) 

Here are all the trips that required flying that I've taken while pregnant:

San Diego (6 months pregnant)
Hawaii (32 weeks pregnant)
Las Vegas (28 weeks pregnant)
Bermuda (9 weeks pregnant)
NYC (7 weeks pregnant)
Ireland (26 weeks pregnant)

Do you have any traveling while pregnant tips for me for my next pregnancy? 

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