Finding out you’re pregnant means totally overhauling your daily routines, diet and plans, but there's no reason you have to give up travel just because you're smuggling an extra stowaway on board. Pregnant women can, and do, travel all over the world during nearly all parts of their pregnancy.
Nonetheless there are certain factors pregnant women should consider when deciding where and when to travel in order to ensure a healthy, enjoyable trip. Here's what you need to know:
Everyone experiences pregnancy differently, but the second trimester is widely considered the best time to take a vacation. This is because by week 14 or so most women are past the fatigue and morning sickness that comes with early pregnancy. Additionally, the risk of miscarriage decreases significantly at this point.
The second trimester is usually associated with increased energy, and less annoying symptoms. This is an ideal time to travel either abroad or domestically.
During the third trimester you will start feeling huge and your energy levels decrease which makes it harder to walk for long periods or enjoy your surroundings. Most doctors discourage air travel after a certain point in pregnancy; so consult with yours to see what their rules are.
The world is still your oyster as a pregnant woman, but there are some factors to consider when evaluating a destination for safety and ease of travel.
Pregnancy makes everything less comfortable, and can deplete your energy levels. Pick a destination where you feel comfortable and won't over-exhaust yourself. You may want to avoid exceptionally long or complicated flying days, and give yourself extra time to get over jetlag. Additionally you may find your back and feet hurt, even fairly early on in pregnancy, so this may not be the time to hike the Santiago del Camino or backpack through Europe. Also consider the climate: overheating during pregnancy is easy and unpleasant.
Finally consider health factors. Pick destinations where the food safety and sanitation levels conform to your standards. If something goes wrong you will want to have easy access to a Western-grade medical hospital, so very remote destinations might be out for right now. Zika is also a major concern and many pregnant women are avoiding areas where it's widespread.
Many women are worried about flying long distances while pregnant, but truthfully, the experience is not that much different from regular air travel. Most airlines allow travel through all 9 months of pregnancy, although some may request a note from your doctor if you are in the very advanced stages of pregnancy. Check with the airline beforehand to see if they have any restrictions.
There are a few things you can do to make your flight smoother and more comfortable: dress in layers for comfort, bring snacks so that you're not at the mercy of the airline's feeding schedule and drink massive amounts of water before, during and after flying. Request an aisle seat so that you can easily take frequent bathroom trips.
Doctors recommend moving around frequently during flights - at least once an hour, to increase blood flow and prevent foot swelling or blood clots. You may want to wear compression socks as well to keep the blood pumping in your legs. The same goes for long car or train rides.
Aside from certain strenuous physical activities (think sky diving and roller coasters), pregnant women can do almost all activities as long as they feel comfortable. Don't push yourself too hard though, listen to your body and take frequent breaks as necessary.
Finally, enjoy yourself! Take some time to pamper yourself, spend time with your partner, and enjoy your precious freedom. After all, traveling with kids is a totally different ballgame.
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Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can't sit still! Since graduating college in 2007 she has either been traveling or planning to travel. She's lived on four continents and visited everywhere from the Great Wall of China to the Great Barrier Reef. She now writes and travels full time, blogging about her adventures on Why Wait To See The World? (formerly Twenty-Something Travel). Follow Stephanie on Twitter or visit her on Facebook.
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