Whether you’re visiting family, taking a vacation or jetting off to a work conference, traveling while pregnant shouldn’t be taken lightly. First and foremost, get the green light from your doctor. During your first trimester, you might be dealing with morning sickness, heavy fatigue and a slew of other fun hormonal side effects. Nearing the end of your pregnancy, you’ll want to avoid sitting for long periods or putting unnecessary pressure on your back. Traveling during the third trimester is usually not recommended for health reasons and for logistics (what if you went into labor?). There are few things you can do to make sure traveling is as breezy as possible.
By land: If you’re in the car, you have the opportunity to adjust the timing of your pit stops to accommodate your squished bladder and swelling feet. Give yourself enough time to stretch your legs and move around. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends driving no more than five to six hours per day.
Make it easier: Recline the seat and add a rolled towel behind your lower back. You can also raise your legs up by resting your feet on a bag or box, just a few inches. Be sure to wear your seatbelt properly with both the lap and chest straps in place. You can also move the rolled towel under your tailbone. Stop at least every three hours to stretch and walk around. Blood clots and fluid retention can result from long durations of sitting.
By air: Airline seats were not made for the comfort of pregnant women, let’s face it. Expect narrow seats and aisles. Most airlines will not allow passengers past 36 weeks gestation to fly. The ideal period is between 14 and 28 weeks.
Make it easier: If you can book an aisle seat, that would be ideal. You can get up easily and move to stretch your legs. Bring plenty of snacks, like apples, nuts, a sandwich, and avoid any gas-producing foods like beans and dark greens. Click here for trusty travel snacks approved by Skinny Mom. Have water on hand to stay hydrated, something often missed when traveling. If you have to book a layover, give yourself between 90 minutes and three hours to assure you don’t need to sprint to your next gate in case of a delay and so that you have time to stand, stretch, move, rehydrate and refuel.
>> Read more: How to Eat Healthy While Traveling
By sea: Going on a cruise or having a riverboat dinner? Consider the likelihood of you experiencing motion sickness. Find out about the medical care on the ship or how the boat crew would be able to react in case of emergency.
Make it easier: Ask your doctor about motion-sickness medication. Dramamine is usually approved for pregnancy. If you’re on a cruise, be aware of the norovirus, a viral infection of the GI tract that spreads rampantly through cruise ships. It causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea for a couple of days. You can make sure the ship passed a recent health inspection by CDC to be sure. (It’s OK to be that person – you’re a mom now!)
>> Read more: How to Avoid Getting Sick While Traveling
Leaving the country: If you are leaving the country, make sure you’re up to date on your vaccines. Ask your doctor about what foods you need to be cautious of during your time in another country. You can also ask your doctor to prescribe anti-nausea medication to you for the travel period and any jet lag you may experience. Avoid tap water and ice; drink bottled water instead. Fruits and vegetables should be washed and scrubbed unless they’re already cooked.
Take it easy. You’re going to experience fatigue more than usual and your body doesn’t really have a comfortable position. If you’re traveling alone, take plenty of breaks and expect the travel to take longer than it would with the non-pregnant you. It’s OK! If you have a traveling companion, make sure they’re supporting your breaks and understanding what it is you need. Most people aren’t mind readers, so communicate with them as best you can. Finally, if you really don’t need to travel, just video chat with loved ones or Skype into your work meeting. Your health and baby are your priority now.
>> Read more: “Baby Traveling Tips for the Clueless Chick” Review