September 14, 2017

Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

As summer comes to an end, the travel planning wheels in my head have already started turning with new ideas and destinations for the year that lies ahead. 

We have Alaska coming up in the fall, with thoughts of a joint Iceland/Scotland venture in the near distant future. I'm also currently dreaming of these luxury homes in Italy. Oh, Italy. How I would love to go back.

Traveling to Europe While Pregnant

Our family trip to Italy two summers ago was one for the memory books, and one that will be hard to top. For many reasons.

We ate, we drank, we laughed, we relaxed, we took in the sights. And, I did it all pregnant. (Ok, minus the drinking part.)

You may not know it by looking at my vacation photos, but I was hot, I was uncomfortable, I was irritable, I will slightly nauseous, and man, oh man, was I tired. A “total trooper”, as my mom called it.

Traveling to Europe While Pregnant

Despite being in my first trimester on my family’s vacation to Rome, Napoli and the Amalfi Coast, and despite not being able to drink all the wine, enjoy all of the cappuccino and devour all of the meat and cheese, being pregnant did not affect my experience or the amazing memories made.

Tips for Traveling to Europe While Pregnant

Just because you're pregnant doesn't mean you need to pause your travels. Here are some things to consider when traveling while pregnant.

Before You Go:

Talk to your doctor.

First and foremost, be sure to talk to your doctor before booking your vacation. Zikka, malaria and other viruses with fancy names are all things to consider. Your doctor will know if you require vaccinations based on the country you're visiting, what medications you can and cannot take while pregnant, what foods to avoid and what to do in case you run into issues.

Check your health insurance.

Ensure your health insurance plan covers out of country medical, in case you need take a trip to the clinic. If not, purchase an additional package so that you are covered. 

Select your seat.

Flights to Europe are long, and plane seats are uncomfortable. If the budget allows, upgrade your seats to one with more leg room, or opt for an aisle seat which will make it easy for you to get up and down to the bathroom and to stretch throughout the flight.

Pack light.

You’re already going to be tired, so the last thing you want is to lugging a heavy carryon and suitcase around the airport and to and from your destination. Make a packing list and check it twice. Chances are you won’t need all of that stuff anyways. It’s always helpful to lean on your travel buddy to assist when needed. 

Get some rest.

When flying from North America to Europe, flights are typically overnight. And if you’re anything like me, that doesn’t mean I’m able to sleep. Despite the pregnancy fatigue. Make sure you get plenty of rest in the days leading up to your trip. 

Traveling to Europe While Pregnant

Travel Day:

Drink lots of water.

Not consuming enough water while flying often leads to nasty side effects such as cramping, swelling, fatigue and jet lag. Prepare ahead by consuming plenty of water before you board (with a pit stop at the washrooms). Bring your own reusable water bottle and fill it before you board the flight. That way, you don’t need to rely on the flight attendants for a small glass of water whenever you need a drink.

Bring snacks.

Being hungry on a plane is the last thing a pregnant woman needs, so load up on snacks before going to the airport. Protein bars and dried fruits and nuts are good options. Also prepare for nausea. Since I could not take my old reliable Gravol or Dramamine, candied ginger was helpful for me. 

Give yourself lots of time.

Some cities (such as those we experienced along the Amalfi Coast) have many, many stairs. Take your time. You don't need to set a personal best. Everyone in your party will understand if you're a bit slower, or need to stop more often. Giving yourself time also includes sneaking in a few extra bathroom breaks. 

Request a pat down.

The TSA says that body scanners, which use imaging technology with low levels of radiation are safe for pregnant women. However, if you are hesitant, instead ask for a pat down from a female guard when going through security. 

Remember to stretch your legs.

Flights to Europe are long ones and plane seats are not comfortable. So, don’t forget to get up every once in a while to stretch your legs, whether a trip to the bathroom or just a quick stretch in the aisle.

Traveling to Europe While Pregnant

During the Trip:

Wear comfortable shoes, and clothes.

The best way to see Europe is via your own two feet. Which means you need good walking shoes. 

Don’t over schedule yourself. 

Wake up when you want and go to bed early. Limit yourself to one activity per day to minimize the amount of stress on your body. Don’t be a hero. If you can’t fit everything on you ‘must see list’ into your trip, Europe will always be there. Planning in activities in advance of your trip will help with this. Your body will thank you. 

Stick to bottled water.

You may think it is silly avoid tap water in certain countries. But these counties may also have different standards and regulations when it comes to drinking water than we do in North America. Bottled still and sparkling water are the safer bet.

Avoid certain foods. 

When you spoke with your doctor about your travel plans, they should have alerted you to what you can and cannot eat. Alcohol, unpasteurized cheese and cured meats may be tempting, but are best to avoid (especially alcohol). When eating out, ensure you know how to communicate your pregnancy with the wait staff.

Listen to your body. 

The most important thing to do while traveling pregnant is to listen to your body. You know it best. Rest when you need to rest, eat when you need to eat and drink water when you are thirsty. Go with your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, take a break or visit a local clinic. 

Have fun!

Did I miss anything? Do you have any tips for traveling while pregnant? I'd love to hear!

*To & Fro was provided compensation in exchange for this post. All opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for your continued support!
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