An XL baby bag, overflowing with nappies, bottles and blankets is an essential for any parent looking to travel. But, for now – since the only extra baggage you’re carrying is that bundle of joy - you hardly need to account for increased weight. If you’re planning a baby-moon – and let’s face it, you should probably make the most of your freedom – then your priority is health and safety first. So, before you start, Googling the local restaurants and (non-alcoholic) cocktail bars, take a look at our top tips for pregnant travellers:
Choose a relaxing destination:
It can be tempting to pack your bags in search of the most exciting experience you can find. You want a distraction from all the baby talk, traumatic stories and antenatal classes: "PUSH” (Ah, shut up for crying out loud) - you’ve heard it all! But, you can reel in those vacation fantasies in a more relaxing environment for both you and the baby. Stay closer to home and you’ll benefit from safer drinking water and medical care you can trust. If you want to venture outside the UK, stay clear of high-risk activities while pregnant. Scuba-diving, jet skiing and snowboarding are a no-go. Always wanted to skydive? This is not the time to be considering jumping out of a plane, OK? But, that shouldn’t stop pregnant women from staying active when away from home. Make the most of your time abroad with low-impact exercises: brisk walks, a dip in the pool or perhaps yoga on the beach?
Keep hydrated and eat healthy foods:
A 12 hour flight with cabin air and screaming children doesn’t exactly leave you feeling hydrated. That’s without accounting for hormones and your pregnant body’s needs. Throw that into the mix with a baby drop kicking you from the insides, and I’m sure you’ll be heading for the emergency escape. While it’s important to drink lots of water during pregnancy, it’s especially important during travel. Make sure you put some money aside for drinks inflight; all that extra water can be used to wash down periodic snacks. When you’re looking to pack a few snacks to keep you (and bump) going, consider healthy foods that are part of your usual diet. Whole grain granola bars, fruit bags and sliced carrot are fun sized and travel friendly alternatives.
Timing is important:
It’s perfectly normal when pregnant to feel sluggish, sickly and unattractive. But, the good news is that these symptoms usually don’t last for the full nine months. Take advantage of the second trimester when the morning sickness has passed; it’s best to schedule your travel between 20-30 weeks. If you find it impractical to travel at this time, for whatever reason, then it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor before booking – some women with high risk pregnancies may be discouraged from travelling.
Take a break:
You remember those childhood days of fighting for the window seat? Yes, they’re over. That hydration tip (see above) means regular trips to the ladies. A seat closer to the aisle will not only guarantee you easier access to the toilet, but will allow you to take regular walks and stretch your legs. Pregnant women are more susceptible to blood clotting, and this condition will only get worse by sitting for long periods of time.
Dress for comfort:
The plane will be hot and then you’ll suddenly get the shivers. You may feel cool now, but your destination is sure to be hot. Packing a few extra items of clothing can make for a comfortable flight and a relaxing holiday. If you feel chilly before the flight, why not bring a loose cardigan, tunic or lightweight jumper? These items can be easily bundled into your carry on case. Other items to consider: comfy socks (and/or slippers), flip-flops to change into when landing and a blanket to use as a pillow.