Eight smart strategies for pregnant travelers

Eight smart strategies for pregnant travelers

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1. Reduce stress

There's one sure way to avoid travel stress while pregnant – stay home for nine months. But what fun is that? With some simple planning strategies, you can reduce your travel anxieties and get the most out of your time on the road, even when raging hormones leave you ready to scream or cry.

First, arrange everything you can in advance, including your seat assignment on an airplane (an aisle seat works best for frequent trips to the bathroom), any special meals, and accommodations at your destination.

Next, travel light. Ideally, pack only what you can roll on wheels or carry easily with two hands. That way, you won't be stuck if you can't find a porter or a kind stranger, and you won't risk injuring yourself by lifting a load that's too heavy.

Bring a carry-on bag with vital supplies, including medications and your phone or tablet, a headset for music, or a good book.

When you're ready to go, allow plenty of time to get to the airport, bus, or train station. If you're traveling by car, give yourself ample time for your journey so you don't feel rushed. That leaves a margin for error when inevitable delays occur.

Finally, don't forget your patience and sense of humor – they may come in handy when you get stuck on the tarmac or caught in traffic.

2. Conserve your energy

Just because you're pregnant doesn't mean you can't enjoy an active vacation or take a productive business trip. You can still pursue many of your normal activities, whether they include hiking, visiting museums, or dining out.

Just keep in mind that you'll probably tire more quickly than you did before you were pregnant, so don't expect to maintain your usual pace. And remember to make downtime part of your daily schedule whenever possible. Taking a bath, napping, putting your feet up, reading on the beach, and even spending a quiet evening in the hotel and ordering room service can keep you feeling rested and energized throughout your trip.

3. Eat and drink smart

When you're pregnant, it's doubly important to eat healthful meals regularly. Pack plenty of portable snacks in your carry-on because your eating schedule may be disrupted on the road. Smart choices include nuts, dried fruit, and whole grain crackers with cheese.

If you're flying and your airline offers meals, call ahead with any special requests, such as a fruit plate or an option that's gluten-free, diabetes-friendly, or vegetarian. Carry bottled water and drink it regularly, especially on long flights. It's crucial to avoid getting dehydrated, which can be a real challenge in dry airplane cabins.

When you arrive at your destination, eat at regular intervals and choose nutritious, well-balanced meals with plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, and protein. (If you're traveling to a foreign country and aren't sure about the water quality, drink only bottled water. Also remember to avoid uncooked vegetables and eat only fruit that you've peeled yourself.)

Always carry healthful, energy-boosting snacks and bottled water in your purse or day pack for when hunger or thirst unexpectedly strikes.

If you're having trouble keeping down full meals, or certain foods or smells now turn your stomach, try eating five or six small meals a day. They may go down easier than three big ones, and eating light meals frequently also lowers your chance of heartburn.

4. Prepare for pit stops

As an expectant mom, you're probably running to the bathroom three or four times more often than usual. Airplane facilities are cramped and public restrooms can be dirty, so take advantage of a clean, comfortable bathroom whenever you happen upon one. Even when the facilities are less than luxurious, it's best to play it safe and go with whatever's available because you never know when or where your next opportunity might be.

Try to plan ahead as much as possible. Take advantage of highway rest stops or time before boarding the plane to make a preemptive pit stop. When planning your car trip, factor in plenty of time for frequent bathroom breaks.

No matter where your trip takes you, it's a good idea to be prepared. Some women find it helpful to pack emergency toilet paper, sanitary wipes, and antibacterial hand sanitizer (with at least 60 percent alcohol), for when soap and water aren't available.

When flying or taking trains or buses, take the aisle seat so you can get to the restroom without having to climb over other passengers. Seats near the front or rear of the plane are usually closest to the restrooms.

5. Pamper your feet and legs

Sitting for long periods of time can make your feet and ankles swell and your legs cramp. When you're driving, take breaks every hour to stretch and walk around. If there's an empty seat next to you on a plane, train, or bus, go ahead and put your feet up.

When flying, take off your shoes and put on a pair of thick socks or slippers that you can walk around in. Elevate your legs by resting your feet on your carry-on luggage under the seat in front of you. Wear comfortable footwear because your feet will probably swell whether or not you take off your shoes.

Pregnancy puts a strain on your circulatory system, which can leave you susceptible to thrombosis (the formation of blood clots) and varicose veins. Sitting for hours in transit when pregnant further increases your risk of clots.

Don't stay stationary for extended periods of time – keep your blood circulating by strolling the aisle or getting out of the car every hour and doing some simple stretches every 30 minutes or so. Try this: From a sitting or standing position, extend your leg – heel first – and gently point and flex your foot to stretch your calf muscles. Then, while seated, rotate your ankles and wiggle your toes.

If you're prone to varicose veins, wear graduated compression stockings (available at most pharmacies) or maternity support panty hose, which relieve swelling and aching in your legs by strategically compressing the veins to keep blood flowing.

For the traveling mom-to-be, nothing is more important than wearing comfortable, supportive footwear. The best shoes or sandals have a contoured footbed to help prevent aches and a thick, skid-resistant sole for good traction and support. Sneakers built for high-impact aerobic sports fit the bill; strappy high heels and mules don't.

Bring an extra pair of shoes to give your feet some variety as well as blister pads because even broken-in footwear can rub your feet the wrong way.

6. Find out about vaccinations

If possible, don't go anyplace during your pregnancy where the threat of disease is high, the quality of local healthcare is unreliable, or the safety of food and water is questionable. If you do plan to travel to a country with these circumstances, first talk to your healthcare provider about what vaccines to get. Do this long before your trip – and preferably before you're pregnant.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that pregnant women have a prenatal screen for rubella (German measles) and hepatitis B as well as a prenatal assessment for varicella (chicken pox).

Generally speaking, pregnant women shouldn't receive live vaccines, such as those for varicella, measles, mumps, and rubella. Because live vaccines are made from live viruses, they could potentially infect you and your unborn baby with the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says there's been no reported harm to a fetus from accidentally getting one of these live vaccines. But information is limited, so the CDC also says it's a risk that expectant moms shouldn't take.

Once you know which vaccines you need, get live vaccinations at least one month before getting pregnant. Also discuss the benefits and risks of vaccines with inactivated viruses with your healthcare provider.

Some other vaccines, such as those for hepatitis B, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough), are considered safe and are recommended for pregnant women at risk of getting these diseases. Pregnant women who travel to areas where the risk of yellow fever is high should be vaccinated. But the safety of the yellow fever vaccine during pregnancy is unknown, so get it only if travel to an endemic area is unavoidable.

For more information, see the CDC's chart listing safe and unsafe vaccines.

7. Prevent yeast infections

Pregnancy makes you susceptible to yeast infections, and yeast grow best in a warm, humid environment.

To discourage yeast infections, wear lightweight, loose-fitting, breathable clothing, including all-cotton underwear. Leave the tight jeans and pants at home. After a swim, change out of your wet bathing suit as soon as you can.

Before you travel, talk to your healthcare provider about bringing along antifungal cream, just in case.

8. Steer clear of risky activities

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women avoid contact sports as well as those that put you at high risk of falling. That means no snowboarding, skiing, ice skating, horseback riding, waterskiing, or surfing while you're on vacation.

Falling is not the only risk – avoid activities that could potentially cause any trauma to your abdomen.

Scuba diving is also out because dangerous air bubbles can form in your bloodstream as you surface. Waterslides and many amusement park rides are risky as well – forceful landings and sudden starts and stops can harm your unborn baby.

Also, avoid hot tubs because they're usually too hot for pregnant women to use safely. According to ACOG, exposure to high heat and humidity during pregnancy (from sources such as hot tubs and saunas) is linked to a higher risk of neural tube defects.

But you don't have to spend your vacation sitting on the sidelines. If you're a healthy woman with an uncomplicated pregnancy, your doctor will probably advise you to stay active and get regular exercise during your trip.

A final note about traveling: Listen to your body. If you feel overtired, overheated, or just plain uncomfortable, stop what you're doing and take a break.

Watch the video: Tips for Traveling Pregnant. Qu0026A (June 2022).


  1. Damerae

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  2. Digore

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  3. Logan

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  4. Scur

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