When I discovered I was pregnant earlier this year with my second child, it was very early days – only around six weeks – and I was due to go to France the following week for a road trip around Burgundy (read here about our stay) – home to fine wines, soft cheeses and deliciously tempting cured meats…
Travelling While Pregnant – My Experience
Although I was determined to be careful, going away meant that in some instances, I couldn’t resist. In Reims, for example, I did have a small glass of champagne, and I also ate beef which was more on the rare side. But I allowed myself to be fairly relaxed for several reasons, the main one being that it was only by chance I discovered my happy news early, I could have found out after we had returned, by which point I wouldn’t have been any the wiser and would have sunk a barrel of wine by the end of our trip.
Later in the year we also went to Italy (read here about our stay), and by this time I was coming out of the first trimester and the horrible sickness/tired phase and starting to sport a small bump. So it worked really well for me in terms of how I was feeling. In Italy, I was energised and raring to go – so being on my feet and exploring really wasn’t a problem.
And since the summer we’ve been on several weekends away. Being pregnant hasn’t stopped me travelling by any means but I’ve had to cancel some plans. I was due for a child-free trip to Berlin with a group of friends as well as a long weekend to Europe to visit the Christmas markets, but it dawned on me that I wouldn’t be able to fly so close to my due date.
Essential Guide For Pregnant Travellers
My own experiences have spurred me to share some tips for women who still want to continue travelling during their pregnancies. With a little planning, it should be a doddle. Here is an Essential Guide For Pregnant Travellers…
Decide where to go
Of course, this is completely down to personal choice – but if you’re thinking of travelling to exotic far-flung destinations then bear in mind the need for immunisation and whether you can have them. Meanwhile, Malaria is a whole other issue. There is a host of medical advice online about the dangers of travelling to malaria-prevalent countries, while DEET is not recommended to be used before three months into the pregnancy. Which is why you need to go for a health check (below) to make an informed decision.
You may also not want to fly long-haul as sitting in one position on the plane for a long time could be very uncomfortable, or go somewhere searing hot – I know that my legs and feet were terribly swollen in the heat!
Go for a health check
To be on the safe side, check with your doctor or midwife you are fit to travel. They will also be able to check what vaccinations you may need, or any medications that you can and cannot take. Or go online to find more health information.
Check your insurance
All travel policies do differ – so it’s essential you check the finer details of your cover. If you’re travelling to Europe, most policies will cover you if you’re enjoying a trouble-free pregnancy. Just make sure you take your hospital notes with you, just in case.
Check airline policies about when you can fly
Most airlines put restrictions on pregnant women in their third trimester and the restrictions vary depending on whether you are flying long or short haul. Check the requirements before you book. In Europe, the cut-off point is 36 weeks for a single pregnancy but if you’re past 28 weeks, some carriers ask for a letter from your doctor or midwife confirming your due date and that there are no complications with the pregnancy.
A little forward thinking goes a long way. If you are travelling long distances in the car, factor in plenty of toilet breaks and make sure you make a list of all the items you need to take with you to make your journey more comfortable – such as special pillows to relieve back pain or to help you sleep. I couldn’t do without mine and it meant I slept much better while I was away.
Food and drink
For me this is was the hardest part of my pregnancy both at home and abroad – as I am such a wine and food lover! Being in both France and Italy was hard for me in terms of not being able to eat and drink what I wanted! Things like not being able to eat tiramisu because it’s made from raw eggs, or parma ham. On the whole, though, I found most restaurants and establishments were accommodating and I only had to restrict myself to a few things (things that I adore!).
You want to avoid food poisoning at all costs – so drink from bottled water and only salads from places you trust. The rule of thumb is if you’re not sure, then leave well alone. It’s better to be cautious.
Also, pack plenty of healthy snacks in your hand luggage for the journey. That way you’ll always have something tasty on hand, regardless of delays.
Try to relax!
No matter what type of trip you’ve opted to go for, try to take it easy. Get plenty of rest, and take lots of breaks. You’re allowed to! And, even though you still may want to be as active as your pre-pregnant self, you may have to avoid deep-sea diving or bungee jumping! I still did plenty of hill walking and exploring while we were away on our adventures. If you feel at all uncomfortable, then stop and listen to your body.
Enjoy the attention
I’m not a big fan of strangers addressing me about my bump or trying to touch it – but there is something about being pregnant abroad that attracts attention from well-wishers. After my initial dismay, I found that when I just went with the flow, it was much easier to accept offers of help and kindness from people I didn’t know. I suppose this is one of the perks for pregnant travellers!