I’ve decided to write this post to remind me of what I am sure will be one of the most amazing memories of my life… being pregnant. It is my first pregnancy, and it’s come at a difficult and turbulent time for the world. The Covid-19 pandemic began at the start of my pregnancy and I have spent a good portion of it under lockdown. This has all been for our safety; but being a traveler, I’m a little disappointed that I can’t experience flying and traveling with my bump!
It is fortunate however, that by the start of my third trimester, the Covid-19 situation improved in Malaysia. Even though international travel is still barred (at the time of writing), the government has been encouraging local travels. So my bump and I are allowed to go on road trips! That being said, traveling while pregnant has been sort of a different experience for me. I’m still as energetic as ever; but I get tired easily, have pains occasionally, and just can’t do as many things as I usually can.
And so on this post, I’m writing about my experience traveling while pregnant. It’s a list of things to remember, things to look out for, and just some tips for the traveling bump. Different people experience pregnancies differently, but I do hope this helps the mom-to-be travellers out there!
1. Consider the Time to Travel and Your Condition
I believe this to be the most important point of all. The best time for traveling while pregnant is usually during the second trimester. This is when you’re over the more vulnerable first trimester and before you move into the heavy third trimester. Unfortunately, I was stuck at home during my second, and travel only opened up during my third. So I made it a point to monitor the condition of my body and how I felt before I decided to travel. I wanted to continue doing what I love, but my growing body didn’t always allow for that to happen. And so I listened.
2. Take it Easy and Don’t Overdo It
As much as I want it to be, my body isn’t as strong as it usually is. I can’t walk for hours on end, and I can’t overexert myself with adventurous activities. And so, I knew I couldn’t plan a trip where I would have to do any of that. Easy does it, and I don’t want to put myself and my little treasure in any danger. And so as to not overdo things, I chose places that were not too far away, planned simple one day trips, and made sure they were all easy and stressless getaways.
3. Always Make Sure You’re Comfortable
My pregnancy trips were all road trips, and so I always made sure that I was comfortable on the journey to my destination. I brought pillows for my back and neck, and I always wore loose clothing and comfortable shoes. I knew that if I wasn’t feeling snug and in a comfortable position — my body will be aching, my emotions will be affected and I wouldn’t enjoy myself. That would really defeat the purpose of traveling in the first place! And that goes for flying as well. Comfort, comfort, comfort!
4. Pack Plenty of Snacks and Water
My pregnancy has made me really hungry all the time! I don’t crave for big meals, but just little snacks to keep all those hunger pangs away; and especially to keep that energy level up. So I made sure to bring a few biscuits and chocolates with me (because that’s what I crave for — but you can also opt for the healthier granola bars, fruits and veggies); and lots and lots of water. However, I was lucky that most of the trips I planned during my pregnancy were foodie getaways; so I was stuffed more often than not (though that did lead to bloating). I guess it’s all about moderation, eh?
5. Always Stop by the Toilet When There’s One
By the third trimester, I’ve been running off to the toilet every 1-2 hours. So toilet breaks was one of the few things that I was worried about during my road trips. Therefore, I made it a point to go to the bathroom every chance I got — whether I felt like going or not. I didn’t wait for the urge to come to find one, because I’d never know if I can! I didn’t want to risk holding it in as it may lead to complications like UTI or constipation. So go when you can, and hopefully that’ll keep the urges at bay for a bit.
6. Get Up and Stretch a Little
It is always good to get up and stretch a little from time to time, especially after sitting for too long. This is especially during road trips; so on my trips, I’d try to do some simple stretching in the car — like spreading my arms wide and lifting them above my head, or flexing and pointing my toes. This is because pregnant women are more susceptible to blood clots and swelling, and stretching (or any movement at all) helps with the blood flow.
7. Take Breaks and Get Enough Rest
I remember wanting to hop from one place to another during my road trips, being so excited to be exploring again after more than 3 months cooped up at home. However, as much as my heart wanted to roam, my body was not cooperating. After probably a couple of hours in — I was tired, my belly got heavy and I felt extremely bloated. So while my friends could still go out and about for pictures, I had to stay and rest in the car. I even slept for a little while! So take as many breaks as you need, and make sure to rest when it’s needed.
8. Always Be Ready for Any Emergencies
Most of the time, traveling is safe for pregnant women. Even in the third trimester, it is relatively safe to travel maybe right until the 36th week if mother and child are healthy. However, being the paranoid person that I am, I always feel safer to plan ahead in case of any emergencies. I’ve chosen to travel to places that are not too far away for me to rush to a hospital; and I always keep a copy of my prenatal documents and doctor’s contact on hand. I’ve also read up on all the signs to look out for in case anything goes wrong, or if the baby wants to see the world before it’s time!
9. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help and Ensure Your Travel Companions are Aware
I think this is really important, especially when you’re traveling with a group of people. Traveling can get stressful and risky sometimes; and I always made sure that my travel companions know and understand the situation before they decide to be traveling with a pregnant woman. If this pregnant woman needs to slow down, they’ll have to slow down too! And whenever I needed help I wasn’t afraid to ask for it, because that’s a pregnancy advantage that’s really nice — being pampered!
10. Don’t Be Afraid to Travel Anyway!
Despite all the risk and complications that come with traveling while pregnant — don’t be afraid to explore away and go for an adventure! I’ve heard stories (and some horror stories too) from friends and acquaintances who told me to be extra careful; but I realised that at the end of the day, I should make decisions for myself. And of course, do what’s best for me, my body, my emotions and my well-being. Just bear in mind all those little tips I’ve shared above! I am enjoying my pregnancy, and it’s great to finally have the chance to be ‘walking the world‘ again in my third trimester.
* And today I’ve reached Week 39 of my pregnancy. All ready to welcome my little bundle of joy any time soon — and I’ll be off the blog for a month or so to get ready and then to recuperate. I’ve also written this post to mark the end of my journey as a solo travel blogger (for probably a while) — so let’s bring on the kid travels!