Baby on Board: Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

Family & Kid Travel, Health & Safety — By on August 31, 2010 at 3:00 pm

By Kayleigh Minicozzi
LG Contributor

You’re eagerly awaiting the pitter patter of little feet and a flurry of concerns are running through your mind as you anticipate the arrival of the newest family addition. Flipping through parenting books, anxiety is high about pre-natal vitamins, finding the right doctor, preparing the nursery and more often than not, globe trotting adventures are put on hold.

According to Dr. Ari Brown, a pediatrician, mother and co-author of Expecting 411: Clear Answers & Smart Advice for Your Pregnancy, this doesn’t need to be the case. Although it may feel a little nerve-wracking, there’s no need to completely limit travel expeditions because you’re expecting.

In her 2010 guide Brown, along with co-author Dr. Michele Hakakha, dishes out honest advice based on years of experience not only as a practicing medical professional, but also as a hands-on mom. One of her key messages is that sporting a baby bump doesn’t mean you need to concede to a nine month travel hiatus. Traveling for business or pleasure when you’re pregnant isn’t risky if you invest time into planning and do your homework.

Below is a list of Brown’s top pearls of wisdom for jet-setting mommies-to-be (for more info, check the Flying while Pregnant guide from Cheapflights). 

Food

Do: Packing a mommy emergency bag should happen long before your bundle of joy even arrives. Pregnant women should prepare to have an abundance of high fiber snacks on hand, especially when traveling. “When you’re on the road it often sets your digestion off balance and this is even more common when you’re pregnant,” Brown said. Her suggestion, preparing an arsenal of colon soothing snacks. Fiber bars, whole wheat crackers, and dried fruits are on the top of her list.

Don’t: Being unaware of the contents of the foods you’re eating can have health implications during pregnancy. Soft cheeses, for example, are often unpasteurized in foreign countries and would be an item you want to stay away from. Dr. Brown’s advice is to get in the habit of always asking questions. Your health and the well-being of your unborn child are too important to act timid. Plus most restaurants are willing to be super accommodating because of your appealing pregnancy glow.

Lodging

Do: The last thing you want to worry about when you’re traveling while expecting is feeling uncomfortable, especially when you need to get a good night’s rest. Ensuring that control is in your hands when it comes to room temperature will allow you to enter the battle of hot flashes and cold sweats with a weapon. Make air conditioning and heating unit control a non-negotiable when selecting a place to stay. The small luxury can make a world of difference on your overall happiness during the trip.

Don’t: Although it’s more of a concern when traveling abroad than in the states, staying in a hotel or hostel that doesn’t have a bathroom in the room can pose a challenge. Late night potty runs are obviously more frequent when you’re expecting, so needing to wait for an occupied communal bathroom or having to request a key from the main desk will make your stay more frustrating. Additionally, cleanliness and privacy drop when your location doesn’t provide a personal bathroom so be sure to put in the request when you make the reservation.

Transit

Do: There’s always the chance the unexpected can happen when on an adventure and the risk of surprises only goes up during a pregnancy. Travel insurance is an easy way to create a safety net for you, personally and financially. “There are a million things you can’t predict, like false labor causing you to miss a flight or morning sickness delaying you in a hotel,” said Brown. “It becomes difficult to get money back when you neglect to get travelers insurance.” According to Brown airlines, hotels, trains, and a whole host of other services are much more accommodating when you have insurance. The additional foresight can help you get refunds and potential salvage a trip.

Don’t:Ignoring the warnings and timelines put out by airlines and cruise ships is a huge don’t. The rules aren’t just hastily created biases against you, but rather important regulations to ensure you don’t end up giving birth in the aisle of a 747 or hundreds of miles out in the ocean. On average, cruise ship policies permit women to board their vessels at 23-24 weeks or less. Airlines have a wider range of restrictions, with some allowing you to travel 30 days before your due date and others letting you on the plane within the week of the big day. Timelines vary depending on if the flight is domestic or international and vary from airline to airline, so read up on the company’s policies before booking your ticket.

Packing

Do: One word: pillows, pillows pillows. If there’s one thing you need to make the extra space for in your luggage it’s more pillows. Pregnancy brings a different pain each day, some days your feet, others your legs, next your back and having the cushion where ever your go is a life saver. Bringing along your own gives you the option to whip it out wherever and whenever during delays in the airport or while on a long bus or train ride. Also don’t hesitate to call down to the hotel desk and ask for extra when you check into your hotel.

Don’t: Remember back in the day when you needed to check in with mom before you ran out with friends in high school? Channeling that same concept it’s crucial to connect with your doctor before you leave on any long trips. Getting a copy of your records to bring along with you and probing for any advice is a must. An additional bonus is your doctor may have a colleague referral in the location you are traveling to, which will give you added piece of mind in case of an emergency.

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