Traveling and Pregnancy: 6 Tips for Staying Comfortable
Despite all the creature comforts of home, Americans are still traveling in their billions, both domestically and abroad. According to the U.S. Travel Association, travelers spent over six hundred billion dollars for leisure travel alone in 2015. Of those travelers, many were pregnant women. If you are expecting but plan to go on vacation with your family, you may be concerned about how to maintain your level of comfort. Traveling while pregnant can be daunting, but there are ways to stay comfortable in the air and on the road.
1. Plan Carefully
Pregnancy comes with a variety of discomforts that can include nausea, swollen hands and feet, fatigue, and in some cases, increased blood pressure. Fortunately, not all of these problems occur at the same time, so it is best to plan your trip in during your second trimester, after your twentieth week but before the thirtieth. During this time, the worst of your nausea should be behind you and you might have increased energy, and swollen feet and ankles should still be quite a few weeks in your future.
As you approach your twentieth week, consult your doctor and discuss your plans with him or her to ensure you are healthy enough for travel, as each pregnancy is different. Go over your itinerary together so your health care professional can clear you for each activity you have planned.
2. Wear Support Hose
If your trip requires long hours of sitting in a plane or a car, you will need to care for your legs and feet. As a pregnant woman, the risk of blood clots can increase, especially if you sit or stand for extended periods. If this is a must for your trip, then consider investing in several pair of support hose or compression socks. These garments can help improve blood flow and may lower the risk of deadly blood clots. Remember to pair these items with a pair of comfortable shoes that are simple to slip off and on.
3. Drink Plenty of Water
While you might be visiting the restroom more often these days, limiting your water intake during travel is not something you should consider doing. Staying hydrated can help balance your blood sugar and keep your amniotic fluid healthy, so be sure to pack your carry-on or travel bag with plenty of bottled water. If you are flying, consider choosing an aisle seat so you can get back and forth to the bathroom without disrupting your seatmates.
4. Bring Comfort With You
Because you cannot count on every airport lounge or rest stop to include the comforts of home, especially when you are pregnant, it is a good idea to bring some of them with you. Carry a fleece or soft throw to cover your legs when you feel cold and carry a neck travel pillow in your carry on to help keep your spine aligned and your neck free of kinks when you want to nap.
While carrying portable creature comforts may require a bit of extra packing, you might be glad you have these items on hand during layovers, delays, or if you get stuck in traffic.
5. Take Frequent Breaks
If you are traveling by car, then you may want to include time in your itinerary for frequent rests, especially if you will be sharing the driving duties with someone. Not only will you need to include bathroom breaks, but you should stop at least every hour to ninety minutes to stretch and take short walks to increase your circulation.
When you plan your trip, try to plan for stops that are fun as well as restful. For example, if there are scenic byways along your route, plan to stop at roadside shops or locations where you can stop and eat. This will make stopping to rest fun instead of an inconvenience.
6. Carry Snacks
Low blood sugar can be a definite risk when you are traveling and pregnant, and this can cause you to feel sick, dizzy, or very irritable. However, carrying a variety of healthy snacks with you, such as apples, oranges, or unsalted mixed nuts can help you avoid low blood sugar and keep you feeling full until your next meal. Avoid sugary treats, as these might raise your sugar levels and cause headaches and fatigue later on in the day.
Pregnancy and traveling can be a challenging mix. However, with a bit of planning and an understanding of your body’s needs, you can remain comfortable and happy until you return home.