If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, you are probably prepared for a relatively uncomfortable 9 months. And if you have any plans to travel during pregnancy, it will undoubtedly be even worse. Your belly will be getting bigger, you can’t eat certain foods, hotel beds aren’t nearly as comfortable as your bed at home, and you even have to avoid certain medications if you get sick or nauseous while traveling.
So we asked some of our fellow bloggers who have actually experienced traveling while pregnant for some tips and tricks to make the experience safer and more comfortable. We hope that this post helps you to have a wonderful time away from home.
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15 Tips for Traveling During Pregnancy
1. Pack Loose Clothes
Tip from Kirsty from Travel with Meraki:
When traveling while pregnant I found it important to choose clothing and shoes that allowed for any bloating or swelling. Even when taking it easy, you tend to do more walking and spend more time in transport (like cars and planes) and all of these can cause you to swell around your feet, ankles and even your belly.
And if you are visiting a hot destination, you can also find the temperatures will make you swell more than usual. I always found loose tunics or those with an adjustable tie under the bust to be the most comfortable while still being stylish. They are also easy to layer with tights or a cardigan in cooler weather.
Shoes can be a little trickier. It is well worth splurging on good quality shoes while you are pregnant. There are some fantastic brand like Vionic that make super comfortable shoes that still look good and come with adjustable straps or elastic. And you will be sure to wear them after your pregnancy too when you have your little one to run around after!
2. Book Comfortable Lodging with Important Amenities
Tip from Leah from An Adventure is Calling:
Traveling while pregnant is rewarding but can be tiring, so be sure to book comfortable lodging that will allow you to relax while you are away from home. Consider the location of your hotel or rental and make sure that it is accessible to the attractions you’ll be exploring. Explore your transportation options and consider their accessibility to the location of your lodging. For example, is it close to a metro station or will you be required to walk 2 extra miles each way?
You will also want to consider the presence of stairs and the possible lack of elevators, as some pregnant women might find climbing 6 flights of stairs at the end of a long day exhausting. Consider which amenities are important for your needs. Read reviews carefully and study photos of the bed and sitting area to ensure that you’ll have a comfortable place to sit and sleep at night with any extra bedding/pillows that you will want.
You might also want to make sure there is a refrigerator to keep your favorite snacks (which can be uncommon in many international hotel rooms). Booking a comfortable home-away-from-home that meets your needs will help make your travels more relaxing, so this is the time to splurge on those amenities!
3. Request Extra Pillows
It’s difficult to know exactly how comfortable the bed will be in your hotel room while traveling. And the only thing worse than sleeping in an uncomfortable bed, is sleeping in an uncomfortable bed while pregnant.
You can improvise a bit by requesting extra pillows from the front desk to make it easier to fall asleep on your side. And build a bit of extra cash into your travel budget in case your bed is unbearable and you need to move to a new hotel. You don’t want to ruin your vacation by tossing and turning every night!
4. Bring Your Pregnancy Pillow
Tip from Dani of Diapers in Paradise:
When you’re pregnant, there’s nothing more important – and more elusive – than sleep. If you think it’s hard to sleep at home, imagine how tough it will be in an unfamiliar bed with extra aches and pains from a full day of exploring. To help get the rest that you need, don’t forget to bring your pregnancy pillow, your wedge, your tea… whatever it is that helps you sleep better at home!
When we backpacked through Europe for 3 weeks beginning at 34 weeks pregnant, I knew I could not live without my Snoogle. I literally shoved all of my clothes and toiletries into my hand tote bag for the whole trip, because my entire backpack was dedicated to that body pillow. And I did not regret it once because sleep is that important!
While that might’ve been a bit extreme, the point is that it’s often harder to sleep when you’re traveling than it is at home. Figure out anything that helps you catch some zzz’s before you leave, and bring it with you, at all costs!
5. Schedule a Layover
Tip from Penny at Globe Trove:
Flying when pregnant is daunting but there are definitely ways to make the journey easier. One of the tips that I definitely advocate for is breaking up your journey. This means that you can get out and stretch your legs, catch a bite to eat and maybe even chill in a lounge in-between flights.
The first time that I traveled long distance was in my first trimester. The first four hours were daunting, especially with all the different food smells that wafted through the cabin. With morning sickness and the food aversions both kicking in, I was glad for my long layover in Kuala Lumpur.
Stretching my legs and walking around also helped reduce my risk for deep vein thrombosis which is one of the main threats that pregnant women face while flying. In addition to that, getting into the priority lounge meant that I had a shower (which felt sooo good!) and a short snooze. It helped to take the edge off.
6. Buy Compression Socks
Tip from Jessica of Bring The Kids:
There are a few things in life that are absolute game changers when pregnant, and compression socks are one of them! When you’re pregnant, your circulation isn’t very good. And if you’re sitting still for a long time, like you would on a plane ride or a road trip, your circulation will be even worse. When this happens you’ll find that your feet, ankles and even legs can get incredibly swollen (which can often last through the duration of your pregnancy).
To avoid this, wear compression socks whenever you’ll be traveling or sitting for long periods of time. They will help to not only improve your circulation and prevent swelling, but they will also help your legs feel more rested on travel days. With my first pregnancy, I didn’t wear compression socks and after a road trip, my feet stayed swollen for 2 months straight! With my other 4 pregnancies, I wore compression socks while traveling and never had significant swelling problems again.
What kind of compression socks work best? Honestly, I’ve tried several different (and often expensive kinds) and the best compression socks I’ve found are compression trouser socks that you can buy at your local drugstore for about $10 USD per pair.
7. Move Around
Even if you invest in a pair of compression socks, it’s still a good idea to stay active during your pregnancy. Most pregnant women experience swelling during long flights because they are sitting for so long. But if you make a point of getting up to walk the aisle or stretch, you’ll keep the blood circulating.
It’s a good idea to choose an aisle seat on a long journey so you can move around during your flight. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll need to use the toilet every 30 minutes so you’ll be much happier if you don’t have to bug your neighbors to move every time you need to go!
8. Bring Healthy Snacks
Tip from Matilda of The Travel Sisters:
Even before I got pregnant, I always packed some snacks along during my travels because you never know when there might be a delay. When traveling while pregnant, however, bringing healthy snacks became an absolute must. During the times that morning-sickness strikes, having some healthy snacks within easy reach that you know agree with your stomach can be the difference between a good travel day or bad.
You can’t always rely on airports or train stations to have healthy snack options so it is best to be prepared. Even in-flight meals can be hit or miss. They tend to be loaded with sodium and as every pregnant woman knows, that can lead to bloating. I’ve found the most portable and healthy snacks that worked for me included bananas, apples, nuts, hummus, and trail mix.
9. Avoid the Heat
Tip from Leona of Wandermust Family:
When I was pregnant I was adamant that I wouldn’t stop traveling, but my number one tip for traveling while pregnant is to choose your destination wisely!
During my pregnancy, the heat affected me massively so I would recommend that you avoid travel destinations that are extremely hot. Traveling somewhere relaxing where you can lay on the beach all day, reading books, and indulging in some you time is perfect but not if it is too hot.
We took our babymoon in the Middle East but waited until the shoulder season to travel to make sure we missed the worst of the summer weather. Be sure to check average temperatures for your time of travel before booking to make sure it is a temperature you will be comfortable with.
If you are traveling somewhere hot then I definitely recommend packing a small handheld fan to help keep you cool especially if you want a more active break exploring cities or going hiking.
10. Pack a Cooling Towel
Tip from Diana of The Elusive Family:
Traveling when pregnant is an adventure in itself! Particularly when traveling in heat as pregnant women tend to get much hotter not only during the day but also at night. A cooling towel is one of those must-have items that is a relief for pregnant women who will be traveling in hot climates.
Summer heat can be incredibly intense in some places, particularly Africa and Europe when there are heatwaves. Air conditioners can be few and far between, and even then, many do not work properly. A cooling towel is a foldable towel that can be run under cold (or warm) water and placed on your feet, head, or anywhere else for instant relief. The towels retain the water temperature and help cool you off. This was one of my top tricks to survive traveling in the heat.
Having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep in the heat is a big problem for pregnant women, but a cool towel is extremely beneficial and will be very helpful in helping you to have a good nights rest.
11. Take it Slowly
Tip from Loredana of Earth’s Attractions:
When I was pregnant I traveled to the mountains and to the seaside. And since I didn’t have an easy pregnancy (quite the contrary), I had to adapt to the new situation and modify my traveling habits. I usually like to walk everywhere and see a lot each day, but things were quite different when I was pregnant.
The first thing I did on my travels was to take it a lot slower. Taking more breaks and finding a place to sit for a while was vital. Obviously, I’d do and see a lot less in a day but taking care of myself and the baby had priority. And this is my most useful tips for pregnant women – take it slowly and adjust your travel style to your pregnancy.
I also made sure to keep a bottle of water with me at all times and stay hydrated.
I also made sure to choose travel destinations that I knew would recharge my batteries. As the pregnancy was a challenge in many ways, I only went to places I knew I would enjoy. I also chose to only travel by car during the pregnancy rather than taking buses or trains so I knew I’d be comfortable. And I avoided travel during the last 2.5 months of my pregnancy.
12. Leave Time to Relax
Tip from Stephanie of Sofia Adventures:
So many people cram their itineraries with too many activities when they travel. While I think this is a mistake on any trip, this is especially true if you are pregnant while traveling. Instead of having your day packed from morning until late in the evening, leave large chunks of your schedule as time to relax.
And if you find yourself with more energy than you expected, you can go out and do something right away. But if you find that, like me, travel makes you a little extra exhausted, then you’ll be happy to have extra beach time or time for an afternoon nap.
If you do have a tour booked or if you prearranged reservations and you are just way too tired to go, then cancel! This is your vacation and you need to be able to enjoy it! And getting enough rest and relaxation will allow you to do just that.
13. Pamper Yourself
Not only should you leave some time in your schedule to relax and recharge, but you should also pamper yourself while traveling! Book a massage or a facial with your hotel or make reservations at a fancy restaurant. You are making another human being and you deserve to treat yourself like a queen for these 9 months.
Besides, when you pamper yourself, you’re also pampering your baby!
14. Get a Flu Shot
Tip from Shalini of Eager to Travel Official:
Getting a flu shot should be compulsory for you while traveling. Catching the flu is very common and prevention is encouraged during pregnancy since taking medicines is generally not wise. Make sure to get your flu shot two weeks before traveling as it takes time for the immunity to develop. Generally it is safe for pregnant women to get a flu shot in any trimester although you should always consult a doctor.
15. Check Your Insurance
Tip from Kaylie of Happiness Travels Here:
If you are traveling when pregnant be sure to check the fine print on your travel insurance policy. The restrictions around traveling when pregnant are constantly changing and updating so even if you were covered for a prior pregnancy it may not be the case this time around.
While some policies will cover emergency treatment throughout your pregnancy, others will only cover up to a certain date, such as 28 weeks. Typically a normal delivery is not covered unless there are complications. So if you happen to be on a babymoon and baby comes a few weeks early you will be footing the hospital bill.
Most insurance companies won’t cover a newborn baby in the first few weeks of life. If baby arrives early and requires treatment in a neonatal intensive care unit this can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. So be sure you know what your insurance policy will and will not cover prior to jetting off on your exotic getaway!
We hope these tips help you have a wonderful and comfortable trip!
Expecting a little one? Check out our favorite travel-inspired books for kids!