This summer hubby and I have been traveling all over the country visiting family and friends. We’ve been to the beaches of South Padre, the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, the cornfields of Iowa, and everywhere in between. I usually enjoy traveling, but doing so in various stages of pregnancy was not quite as relaxing as I had anticipated! I hope all you mommies-to-be out there can benefit from some of my experiences.
Pack clothes that actually fit. I was about 15 weeks pregnant when we went with my family to a cabin in the Smoky Mountains. The day before we left I felt more tired and nauseous than usual. The next morning I was getting ready to start our drive from Atlanta to the mountains and–surprise!–none of my regular pants fit. Apparently baby had a growth spurt–and so did mommy! Luckily, my sister-in-law had brought me a bunch of her summer maternity clothes so I was able to pack clothes that fit comfortably. You never know when your belly will pop out!
Pack good snacks … Ever been on a two-day road trip and eaten nothing but fast food and gas station snacks the whole time? It’s not a good feeling, and I knew it would only make my baby nausea and headaches worse. I put together a stash of water, popcorn, pretzels, granola bars, and peanut butter crackers (my trusty sidekick) on all our road trips so I could easily fulfill my need to eat every two hours.
…and food you can actually eat. I made sure to have a box of Crispix, baked potatoes, and peanut butter around in all my vacation spots. Sometimes I just couldn’t stomach what everyone else was having for lunch or dinner, so I had that instead. If there’s something you can’t stand to eat or smell, be honest and upfront about it. Explain to whoever is cooking that it is your pregnant senses, not their food, that you can’t handle so you don’t hurt any feelings. But I’m pretty sure anyone would rather you eat a bowl of cereal for dinner than gag at the dinner table.
Bring your own pillow. Sleeping is hard enough in my own bed with my growing belly. Having my own pillow made all the other beds I slept in while traveling a little more comfortable. I also wished I had brought a smaller travel pillow for the car, more for my back than for napping.
Take lots of breaks. It was hard for me to accept that I just couldn’t go full speed all day long like I usually do on vacations. Sometimes you just have to skip an outing for a nap or go home earlier than everyone else. It was even harder for hubby to accept that I just couldn’t sit in the car for five or six hours without peeing or stretching my swollen ankles. Come to terms with the fact that this road trip will be longer than usual and make the best of it by stopping at some new places you usually only see from the interstate.
Snag the front seat. Whether you’re traveling by car or plane, sit as far front as possible. I’m experiencing motion sickness for the first time, so sitting in the front or even driving helped a lot. Sometimes that means the extremely tall men in your family may have to crawl to the back of the van, but most of the time they won’t mind. Besides, it’s kinda fun to watch all those knees and elbows get tucked in! (Thanks guys!) When we flew I was really sick during takeoff so on our return flight we paid a little extra to move to the front. And speaking of motion sickness, my sea bands were a life saver while traveling! I wore them so often I have some very attractive tan lines on my wrists.
Plan for “just in case”. If you’re going to be far away from your doctor for a while, figure out whom to call if something goes wrong. My doctor advised me to see a friend’s OB in a non-emergency situation. But if you’re in a place unfamiliar to everyone, find out where the nearest hospital is located. Probably nothing will happen, but knowing is better than panicking.
Make your trip as stress-free as possible. This is different for everyone. For us, it meant leaving our two fur babies at home. We usually take our cats with us in the car, but at the last minute decided that 18+ hours with a crying cat probably wouldn’t be as much fun as it used to be. Maybe for you it’s taking your own car so you have more freedom, booking your own hotel room so you have more space, or planning each stop along the way.