Welcome to the second session of the Traveling Parents' Forum! I'm so happy to be chatting about traveling while pregnant with Frankie, Amy, and Roshan. Throughout the series we'll be sharing our tips, favorite products, and looking to each other for advice to make traveling with little ones easier. If you have any questions or would like to share your experience please write it in the comments below! Also, if you have written a post(s) on a similar topic feel free to add the link in the comments. You can also join our group Pinterest board to post your own articles or ones you've found helpful. Just follow our Pinterest accounts and message me to add you to the board. The more information we have the better we can travel - at least that's what I think!
We'll be chatting about a new topic on the third Monday of every month. Today's topic is 'Can you travel while pregnant or with a baby?'
October 19: Traveling while pregnant
November 23: Road trips and public transportation with a baby/child
December 21: Flying with a baby/child
January 18: Child jet lag
February 22: Items to make travel easier
March 21: Traveling without your child
April 18: Moving/living abroad with your child
I travelled a lot during my first and second trimesters. In just 8 weeks alone I took 7 long haul flights. We travelled from Africa, to the Middle East, Europe and the United States so it's safe to say I covered a lot of ground.
Flying isn't easiest at the best of times, but when you're pregnant it can be extra challenging. If you've got a flight to take whilst pregnant I can recommend the following tips for making your flight more bearable. Make sure you book an aisle seat. Even better, get one next to the toilet if you can choose. It might not be your first choice, but trust me when that little critter is dancing on your bladder you don't want to climb over a sleeping stranger. Neither do you want to find yourself at the back of a long line when nature calls. This might also come in handy if you're suffering from morning sickness! An aisle seat gives the added benefit of allowing you to easily get up to stretch your legs (DVT is an even bigger risk for you now, pregnant lady!), but makes it easier to get into your seat as that bump grows! Another good tip is to pre-order the fruit plate for your in flight meal. This pretty much guarantees you won't be presented with foods from the pregnancy no-no list, while having the added bonus of being less likely to induce nausea. It's also a great way to hydrated which you're going to need to be extra careful about during the flight. Normally, I'd read during a flight, but when pregnant I kept my book in my carry on and caught some shut-eye. Trust me, you're not getting enough sleep as it is, so don't waste this wonderful opportunity to do nothing but rest. If you're feeling sick still, save your caffeine ration for an cola when the stewards come round. It's a quick and easy way to soothe a sick tummy when you've got no other options available. Make sure you have crackers in your hand luggage too. They don't make for the best in flight cuisine, but they are perfect as a quick solution to rising feelings of nausea. They're also really handy in the event of delays.
As for your actual trip, whether it's for business or pleasure, I would suggest you take it a little easier than you might normally. You might want to fit in as much sight-seeing as possible, but you'll only burn out if you do. Schedule rest stops during the day - a great way to make sure you try local food and experience must visit venues - and try to get to bed at a reasonable hour. We went to NYC at the end of my first trimester and the jet lag combined with pregnancy fatigue was pretty killer. I made sure I was in bed by 9pm every night so that we could really make the most of our days. That said, every woman experiences pregnancy differently so if you feel up to it don't feel you need to hold back and act like a delicate flower. I had a tough time throughout my entire pregnancy, so took full advantage of the perfect excuse to make travel a bit more laid back. More than anything though, these days are precious. Travelling whilst pregnant felt really special to me because it was frequently on my mind that the next time we visited a place we'd have our little one with us. So my biggest piece of advice is to savour those moments.
Amy has a 15 month old and is joining us from London, UK. You can find more about her life in London onInstagram and Pinterest.
I talked a lot about travelling while pregnant in last month's post as I have limited experience travelling with kids - my little one is still under 3 months - but I did do quite a bit of flying while I was pregnant and I was surprised by how tired it left me so my number one tip for pregnant ladies is picking sensible flight times so you're not knackered before you get on the flight because the chances are that you will be once you arrive. With this in mind, don't plan too much for your first day after arriving in your destination. The same goes for your return flight. I also did special antenatal yoga throughout my pregnancy and found the breathing and relaxation exercises I learned really came in handy when I was trying to sleep on a plane or just trying to chill out when my flight was delayed. My other tip is travel light! You'll be amazed how much harder it is to drag luggage around when you're pregnant, even in your first and second trimesters when you're not that big.
Frankie has an infant and blogs about Amsterdam, travels, and writing on As the Bird Flies and Travelettes. Frankie is writing from Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You can find more from Frankie on her blog, Twitter, Instagram,Pinterest, and Facebook.
In Australia, everyone goes on a Babymoon- which is a trip you take with your husband while you are pregnant before you have your baby. I went to Singapore and Malaysia for mine. Singapore would not be recommended as it was so hot, but Tioman Island was lovely as we stayed at a beach resort and I just swam weightlessly for a week.
Roshan has a three year old and blogs about her travels at Roshan's Ramblings. Roshan is writing from Australia. You can find more from Roshan on her blog, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
When I was pregnant I traveled internationally probably once per month until 35 weeks at which point international flights were not allowed. During the first 1.5 trimesters I had terrible morning sickness (that lasted all day - what a misnomer!), so that really limited what I did while traveling. For example, I spent a week in January hanging out with my parents who were there for work. I felt so ill and tired that I hardly left the hotel and was only able to see the Colloseum and Roman Forum. For this trip (and all other trips) I really had to minimize what I wanted to see and do to a very limited list. Despite this, I wouldn't have chosen to stay home and stop traveling altogether. I'm so happy to have visited Budapest, Rome, Paris, Tallinn, Athens, and Connecticut.
My advice to anyone else traveling while pregnant is to do what feels most comfortable to you and to get travel approval from your doctor first. Personally, that meant either starting the wanders later in the morning or coming back our accommodations early so that I could rest more. I also preferred to stay in AirBnBs to hotels, because I could use the kitchen to prepare what I wanted to eat rather than always having to eat out. It also meant that if I woke up frequently in the night I wouldn't have to disturb J. My trips to Rome and Tallinn were both solo (though I met up with my people when I arrived), so I had to be sure that my luggage was light enough for me to carry easily. This was particularly important when I went to Tallinn as my back was starting to get very painful at that point.
When traveling to Athens and Connecticut I was very obviously pregnant (past the point of 'did you just eat a big meal?') and found that I was allowed to skip the metal detectors (which I did throughout my pregnancy by just asking). Additionally, I was allowed to go through the priority lines when going through security. This may depend on the airport (or airlines?) but be sure to ask! Also, when traveling to and from Connecticut - because I was so far along in my pregnancy - I got a permission slip from my doctor saying that it was safe for me to travel to show the airlines if questioned. I never had to show this document, but I figured it was better to be on the safe side.
I have an infant and I write from Vilnius, Lithuania on In Search Of. You can find more on Twitter, Instagram,Facebook, and Pinterest.
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Don't forget to stop by on November 23rd to talk about public transportation and road trips with little ones!
Join the conversation! Have you traveled while pregnant? What worked and didn't work or you? Do you have any questions?