It’s that time of year again. Everyone is getting ready for the big holiday travel frenzy and, while it can be daunting for anyone, it can be especially tough for the expectant mother. Some may choose to keep it low-key and stay home during this special time but others want to venture out and spend quality time with friends and family. If you find yourself packing for a holiday trip, here are some suggestions to make things go more smoothly.
Talk to Your Health Care Professional
Whether you see an obstetrician, midwife or doula, speak to them before you make any plans to travel. Depending on how far along you are and your specific situation, they may have recommendations (which, unfortunately, could be to stay close to home). Ultimately, it is your decision but it’s good to have some advice from an experienced professional.
Don’t Sit for Too Long
The general public is advised to avoid sitting too long (especially on airplanes) in order to prevent blood clots in the legs. This is very important for pregnant women as they have increased blood volume. It’s also just a good idea to stand up, walk around and stretch on a regular basis so your muscles don’t get too stiff.
Plan for Bathroom Breaks
If there’s one thing expectant mothers are known for it’s having to use the bathroom often. This tends to be true throughout pregnancy but can be most pronounced in the first and last few months. If you are driving, make sure everyone understands you will need to make frequent pit stops on your road trip. If you are flying or traveling by train, be sure you will fit comfortably in those tiny bathrooms and get familiar with their location as soon as you are seated.
Respect the Guidelines
This one can be a bit tough for some but most airlines have policies about how far along a woman can be in order to fly. You may feel perfectly fine and it might be frustrating to be declined a ticket but understand that the airlines and on-flight attendants only have limited resources to help you if there is an emergency or if you go into labor. It’s better not to take the risk.
Honor Your Limits
If you are feeling tired, if this has been a difficult pregnancy, if you are in your last trimester or if you simply are not feeling up to traveling, it’s okay to say no. You know your own limitations and you, alone, should decide whether a holiday trip is an option. Don’t push yourself because if you end up miserable or having some other issues, you will regret not respecting your own instincts.
It can be really rewarding to continue traditions, even during pregnancy but the bottom line is that you need to make yourself, and your growing baby, the priority. Don’t be shy about ensuring your comfort and knowing when to draw the line. Nine months will be over before you know it!