The joy of the holidays isn’t the only reason you’re glowing as the festive season approaches. Traveling to show off your baby belly to friends and family is perfectly acceptable, as long as you stay safe and comfortable.
No two pregnancies are alike, so it’s important to speak with your obstetrician about possible individualized travel risk factors before you set off on a trip. In general, however, it’s safe to travel throughout pregnancy. The sweet spot for going with the glow is the second trimester, or weeks 14–28, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). During that time, morning sickness should be behind you, and you’ll probably have more energy than you will during your final trimester.
Release Your Inner Planner
Traveling under normal circumstances takes planning, but thinking ahead is even more important when you’re going places with precious cargo. First, consider scheduling a travel preparation consultation with your physician, particularly if your destination is overseas. You might need certain vaccinations and documentation, and your physician will advise you about destination-specific precautions to take, such as avoiding tap water and certain foods.
Different modes of transportation add unique items to your pre-trip to-do list. If you’re planning to fly, particularly internationally or during your third trimester, check with the airline before you purchase your ticket to learn about possible restrictions on pregnant passengers. Beware connecting flights or sightseeing tours that use small planes with unpressurized cabins—the American Pregnancy Association recommends avoiding traveling in such planes above 7,000 feet.
If you’re planning a cruise as a last getaway before baby, speak with your physician about safe seasickness medications, and ensure adequate medical care exists onboard the ship and at ports of call. Many cruise lines will not allow pregnant women to travel after 24 weeks gestation, so check guidelines before booking travel.
Getting There Is Half the Fun
No matter how you’re traveling to your destination, the following tips can help you enjoy the trip:
- Buckle up. Always fasten your seatbelt and position the lap belt underneath your bump.
- Choose your outfit wisely. The last thing you want is to be stuck in tight shoes and restrictive clothing for hours, so select a blouse and pants that are loose and breathable.
- Pack for comfort. Stock your travel bag with snacks, as well as a pillow and any other items you need to rest and relax.
- Stretch your legs often. Take frequent rest stops during road trips to keep up adequate blood flow to your legs. The ACOG recommends limiting driving time to a maximum of six hours each day. Periodic walks are important for fliers, too; book an aisle seat, if you can, to make it easier to get up.
If you plan and pack wisely, you’ll be ready to focus on fun when you arrive at your destination, and you’ll know just what to do to make the return trip hassle free. Savor the experience because, soon, your travel party will include an adorable new member who will need all of your attention.