Parenting, travel

Tips for travelling when pregnant

Four years ago, we’d just booked tickets to go travelling for three months (you can read all about it here, if you want) when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter… Not perfect timing, I’ll admit, but actually it wasn’t that bad at all.

Here are my tips for travelling when pregnant:

1. Talk to your midwife (or doctor)

I spoke to my midwife about our plans and discussed what we should do. I was advised not to carry anything heavy (so my husband had to carry two suitcases, lucky him) and to go for a check-up as soon as we reached an English-speaking country, which would be nine weeks into our trip.

If you’ve had antenatal care in the UK, you’ll know that you’re supposed to carry your medical records relating to the pregnancy around with you everywhere. We took these with us, so we were able to hand everything over to the doctor when I went for a check-up in Australia.

I was lucky that I had a very low-risk pregnancy (mid-twenties, normal blood pressure, no previous miscarriages) so my midwife was happy for me to travel and go for nine weeks with no antenatal care, but this might not be the case for everyone.

2. Take precautions

We were travelling in Asia (thankfully just before the zika outbreak, otherwise I’m not sure we’d have gone), where some mosquitos carry malaria. When you’re pregnant, you basically can’t take any medicine other than paracetamol, so anti-malaria tablets are off the cards. I wore mosquito-repelling trousers and long-sleeved tops when I was in the areas where malaria was a risk. At times I was uncomfortably hot, but I didn’t get a single mosquito bite.

Me looking a bit too hot but mosquito free 😉

I also took extra care not to get food poisoning. I didn’t eat any meat, fresh fruit or salads while we were in India – except for bananas that I peeled myself. I drank bottled water and even used it to brush my teeth. In Japan, I didn’t eat sushi. This might seem a bit OTT, but better safe than sorry. And now I have a reason to go back to Japan!

3. Take care when flying

Flying when pregnant is not much fun. I know, I’ve done it a lot. It’s a bit uncomfortable, you get even more dehydrated than normal and it can be risky. I had a belly armor band to go around my bump, which is supposed to block radiation from the aeroplane and from X-ray machines at security. It’s a bit sweaty and completely hideous and I don’t know if it works or is strictly necessary, but my mother-in-law insisted! I also wore compression socks and went for regular walks to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis, which definitely does work.

4. Listen to your body

Travelling is hard work even when you’re not growing another human. If you’re tired or dizzy, you need to take a break.

On our travels we went to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. It was incredible and I was able to go up a few of the temples, but by the end of the day I knew that I should just enjoy the view from the bottom and let my husband explore by himself.

5. Don’t overpack

We only took 10kg of baggage each for 14 weeks of travel, which meant that my husband was able to carry both suitcases when he had to!

I basically lived in maternity leggings for 3 months.

I took loose-fitting clothes that I wouldn’t mind getting rid of if I had to. At about 16 weeks pregnant, some of the clothes I’d taken with me no longer fitted, so I left them behind and bought some new maternity clothes (God bless the omnipresence of H&M Mama).

6. Travel in your second trimester if possible

You’re less likely to have morning sickness after 12 weeks (although with my son I had it until 18 weeks…), the tiredness is more manageable and you’re more mobile than in the third trimester, so you can enjoy yourself.

We set off one day into my second trimester (not planned in anyway, just good luck) and my morning sickness ended right on cue. Apart from being slightly hormonal and having to be more careful about not getting poorly, being pregnant didn’t really hinder us at all.

7. Enjoy it!

I am so, so grateful we went travelling before having our children. It was hard work and tiring, but we loved it. We saw amazing things, met fantastic people and had the most wonderful time.

You can, of course, travel with children, but it’s more complicated and, let’s be honest, a bit less fun!

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