One of the biggest and most important things you need to do when planning to travel while pregnant is to mentally prepare yourself. This is especially true if this is your first pregnancy. You can use that old Jedi mind trick from Star Wars on yourself by mentally going over things that will be happening, and how they might effect your normal approach to traveling. Your body will be changing a lot, along with your mood, your wardrobe, your opinions of pregnancy, and many other things. So here is a list of things to think of depending on where you are in your pregnancy.
The First Trimester
The main difference during this trimester isn’t going to be in your center of gravity, but in the way you feel. If you are anything like me, you need to think about travel in relation to morning sickness, tight jeans, and round ligament pains. Hard candies (especially mint or ginger) can be a great solution for an on the run morning sickness situation, and a belly band is a great way to ease your bulging midsection before you are ready to switch to maternity pants. As for round ligament pains, you can carry a reusable instant heat pack that can be boiled and reused at a later time (like this)… just make sure you don’t actually put it over your uterus. Place it directly on the area of your ligament that hurts. You also need to anticipate complete exhaustion as your body is working overtime to multiply all of those cells into a baby. Make sure you give yourself at least an extra half day arriving and going if you are going to be traveling a significant distance, although a complete day would be better.
The Second Trimester
If you’ve survived the morning sickness and are finally starting to feel like your old self again, be careful! Remember that even though you are feeling great (and I hope you are) that you are still pregnant and you still need to be cautious. You need to make sure that you don’t overdo it because you will be extremely sore if you do. Also remember that as you become more pregnant, relaxin is causing your joints to become more flexible (which you will be thankful during delivery!) and this makes you more likely to have clumsy accidents you wouldn’t normally experience. In both of my first pregnancies I sprained my ankle multiple times doing normal things like walking. Any prolonged sitting or standing may be uncomfortable, so if you are going to be on a plane, train, or in a car, make sure to take every opportunity to get up and move around a bit.
The Third Trimester
Ok, get ready because this is the end of your pregnancy marathon. Something I have to keep reminding myself when I am exhausted from traveling to the grocery store (hey, it still counts as travel at this point) is that soon, I am going to get a baby out of this! I can hear Obi-Wan now, “You will survive this pregnancy… you can perform normal every day tasks like tying your shoes.” You need to make more deliberate choices about traveling, and if you can avoid planning anything over 6 hours of travel time, that is best. If you do have to travel long distances, make sure to get them cleared with your doctor. The most important mental trick for traveling during your third trimester is to anticipate that everything you do will be harder, take longer, and that is ok! I cannot even begin to guess the number of times I have told Travis, “You are walking too fast!” over my three pregnancies, but I just have to remind him, and he slows down. It’s not a big deal, as long as we leave room in our schedule for my slow waddle. It is good to keep in mind where you will be making potty stops, because you could have to go as frequently as every 20 minutes. There also has to be a decompression period after the traveling to recuperate. This is especially true if you have normally manageable injuries that are aggravated by your pregnant state (like the bulging disc in my back).
So that is my introduction on how mental preparation can positive affect your pregnant traveling. “You will have a fun and successful pregnancy…”