My family and I travel while I run my company Purveyor of Geekery
Hey guys, IHeartFamilyTravels teamed up with Marriott Hotels to give all of our Mommy-to-be readers some insight into traveling while expecting.
When it comes to traveling, many expectant parents, especially moms, find themselves wondering what types of trips are appropriate, what to pack and how to feel comfortable away from home with a baby on the way. Whether you are an avid traveler for work or leisure, planning a baby moon, or have a wedding or special event that you can’t miss, there are plenty of tips you can follow to keep your mind at ease and make yourself feel comfortable.
What to know before you go
First and foremost, make sure you talk with your doctor to see what types of travel are safe depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy and the nature of your pregnancy. Your doctor can also tell you what destinations should be avoided and what types of medications you may need while away.
Once your travel plans are doctor-approved, keep in mind the following tips to ensure a more relaxing experience:
- According to Parents Magazine, the best time to travel, especially by air, is during your second trimester, about 14 to 28 weeks.
- You’re pretty much fine to go anywhere by car, but consider having your partner drive so you can maintain a comfortable, relaxed position.
- Factor bathroom stops into your travel time if you are traveling by car. Just because you’re taking a vacation doesn’t mean your overactive bladder is.
- If you can, purchase travel insurance. You never know when something unexpected may occur.
- Try to plan your travel around your prenatal test schedule so you don’t have to miss or postpone any important appointments.
- Stick to a balanced diet just like you would at home.
Making sure to bring all of your important pregnancy comforts, as well as all of your pregnancy necessities, is also crucial for having an enjoyable experience. Below are some things to remember to put in your suitcase, whether you are traveling for a couple days or an entire week:
- Health insurance card
- Medical records and any doctor-approved travel documents
- Your doctor’s phone number (which you probably already have in your cell phone)
- A copy of your prenatal chart, especially if you’re further along
- Your medications and vitamins
- Your comfort snacks – these could range from grapefruit to Oreo cookies. No one is judging.
- Anything that you use to relax and feel comfortable, such as body pillows, heating pads and back rests, both during the daytime and while you sleep
- Comfortable shoes
Rule to Remember: ALWAYS discuss your travel plans with your doctor. All of the tips in the world won’t do you any justice if your doctor doesn’t give you the go ahead to get away.
Travel by Land
As mentioned before, you are pretty much good to travel anywhere in a car. If you are in the third trimester, definitely make your travel mate drive so you can put your seat back and relax. In terms of factoring in rest breaks so you can stretch your legs, plan to do so every 90 minutes to alleviate discomfort. However, don’t be surprised if unexpected bathroom urges arise. If you can, wear comfortable clothing and make sure you have snacks handy. And, while this should seem like a given, make sure to ALWAYS wear your seat belt no matter how big your belly is. Make sure the bottom part of the seat belt fits under your belly rather than across for optimal comfort and safety.
If you want to travel by train or bus, keep in mind that the spaces may be smaller, but you will likely have access to restrooms. Buses tend to be the most challenging since the aisles are small and the rides are bumpier. Trains are a little smoother, have more leg room and more bathroom space. Just make sure you stay buckled up while you are seated.
Rule to Remember: According to the American Pregnancy Association, it’s best to limit your land travel to between five and six hours. Anything longer can get really uncomfortable for you and the baby.
Travel by Air
If you the thought of sitting in a car for six hours makes you cringe or is simply not an option, air travel is the best way to go if you know the regulations and listen to your doctor. The following are the general guidelines put forth by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:
- Occasional air travel is generally safe, and most airlines allow women to fly up to 36 weeks of gestation. Make sure you check with your airline to find out individual policies. These should be listed on the website, but you can also call and speak with an airline representative if you have more questions.
- Air travel is not recommended at any time during pregnancy for women who have medical or obstetric conditions that may be exacerbated by flight or that could require emergency care. Pregnant women should be informed that the most common obstetric emergencies occur in the first and third trimesters.
- In-craft environmental conditions, such as changes in cabin pressure and low humidity, coupled with the physiologic changes of pregnancy, can result in increased heart rate and blood pressure, the potential of blood clots and a significant decrease in aerobic capacity.
- Always wear your seatbelt when seated.
Rule to Remember: Check with your doctor and your airline before booking air travel. If possible, work with the airline to make sure all of your needs are accommodated, including guarantee of the most ideal seating arrangements (aisle seats away from the emergency exit) and allowance of special equipment.
Travel by Sea
Although recent events have made many potential passengers skeptical, cruises still remain a popular travel idea. If you plan to take a cruise while pregnant, make sure you take extra precautions to familiarize yourself with water safety and the safety measures taken by the ship. Where are the life vests and life boats? What is the emergency plan? How will you handle motion sickness? More importantly, make sure you check a cruise ship’s guidelines to see if you are even allowed to board while pregnant. Royal Caribbean, for example, will not allow pregnant women who have entered their 24th week of pregnancy. Many cruise lines will also require you submit a fit to travel statement from your doctor prior to boarding.
Rule to Remember: If you are in the clear, a cruise can be one of the most relaxing vacations you could ever plan while pregnant. Like all travel, just make sure you have the appropriate medications and comforts you need to ensure a pleasant experience. As a side note, watch out for the unhealthy options that come with all-you-can-eat dining and stay away from sushi at all costs. It might be tempting to indulge, and it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat yourself, but maintaining a healthy mix of foods is going to be the best thing for you and your baby.
Enjoying the Journey
If you’re expecting your first child, vacations that you take while pregnant might be the last trip you will have alone or with your partner, so remember to embrace the experience and enjoy the ride. If you are traveling with children and they are preparing to become a sibling, make sure to take the time to see special things that they would like to do and let them know that they are loved and will be loved just the same when the new baby arrives. No matter what their age, make sure you document the experience and remember this time you had with them before your family welcomes a new addition.
For more tips and advice, Baby Center has a variety of articles about the different aspects of traveling while pregnant.
This blog post was provided by Marriott International, which operates more than 3,700 hotel accommodations representing 18 brands in 70 countries.