Travelling during pregnancy

When a major life change occurs, it often leads you to reassess your pirorites.

One of my main passions is travelling, and having spent the past 10 years exploring over 50 countries, I am determined to continue to do so.

It may look slightly different and perhaps not be as frequent. That is because I am expecting to have a little person in my life. Yes, I am actually growing  a human being. I hope that she will enjoy travelling as much as I do.

Prior to becoming pregnant, my husband and I booked and planned a few trips. I had some leave to use up and we wanted to both reach countries 25 and 50 prior to our wedding anniversary in March.

So in the first three months of the year, we travelled to 4 countries. This also happened to be in the joyous first trimester of my pregnancy.

Travelling in the first trimester of pregnancy
In Nice, France at 10 weeks pregnant

Looking back the first three months of my pregnancy they weren’t that horrendous. Often the first trimester is the worst for morning (or anytime) sickness. However, I side stepped that one fairly successfully.

I say fairly as I threw up about 4 times in total (the evening before I was due to fly to Cyprus was particularly bad and led to a call to NHS 111).  I did feel nauseaous more often than actually being sick. Certain smells would make me think I was going to be sick. Which is when whilst on the way to the airport to catch a flight to Cyprus, my husband picking up a McDonalds breakfast wasn’t the wisest of ideas.

A few things I noticed that affected the way I travelled were:
  1. Energy levels – I was tired pretty much all of the time. Several times during trips away I needed to have an afternoon or even mid morning nap, so a lot of the time I didn’t get to see or do as much as I would normally do. That said though, I did walk 10 miles around a lake in Cyprus to spot some flamingos (but pretty much died the next day).
  2. Food – In the early weeks because of nausea I either needed to snack constantly, or didn’t know what I wanted at all. Which is why carrying around a little zip lock bag of cookies or crackers to nibble on was a total winner. It also led to going in and out of different restaurants, looking at the menu and saying ‘meh, I don’t fancy that!” I also totally went off some foods that I previously loved. Many of which involved diary, such as tea and creamy pasta dishes.
  3. Keeping it a secret the first few trips I went on, I travelled with my husband only so that wasn’t a major issue.
    Anniversary wine given to us by our hotel in Cyprus. I posted this picture on my social media (mainly to throw my family off the scent of wondering if I was pregnant or not – it worked as they had no clue!)

    A few days after telling family our news and during our trip to Slovenia with two friends, our air bnb host gave us a welcome drink of a strong spirit. I declined it on the basis of needing to eat first, as we had a really early flight and long journey.  We did end up telling our friends during that trip anyway, but were waiting for a good time to do so, rather than on arrival with a random host there.

Travelling in the second trimester of pregnancy 

My second trimester was much improved from the first, but still had its challenges. I still had some issues with types of food I wanted (to this day have not been able to eat pasta carbonara!)

I did find myself eating a little more than in the first trimester and craving so many carbs, particularly bread. So cue a ton of fresh baguettes, crisps and pastries (well my waistline was slowly disappearing anyway so).

My teeny tiny bump at 12 weeks pregnant in Cyprus.

I went off sweet things for a long time (though rest assured that is now back) and found that chocolate tasted too sweet for me.

During our trip to Bosnia and Croatia in the second trimester, I still needed naps and took things a little slower than I usually do. However, I did feel like I could enjoy the trip a lot more than the previous trips (perhaps the warmer weather had somethng to do with that!)

Tips for travelling when pregnant

Make sure you bring you pack your pregnancy notes with you. In the event that you need to visit a doctor or hospital you will need these. The same goes for short trips wihin your home country (I even took mine on a short trip home to Northern Ireland).

Ensure that the airline you are flying with will accept you on board. Most airlines let you fly up until 28 weeks, beyond that they may require a letter from your GP or midwife. Both Easyjet and Norweigan state that you can travel up until the 35th week with no medical certificate, or 32 weeks if carrying twins. However, it is of course safer to check first before booking.

Pack snacks and water – I am normally pretty good at drinking water, but found myself needing a lot more when pregnant. I normally take a refillable bottle with me. If you happen to be travelling though Gatwick airport there are water fountains after security to refill once you are through. However, we found that in most airports, cafes would also fill water up from the tap for us (do be careful with this though – depends what part of the world you are travelling to as to whether you can drink tap water).

As for snacks, I packed a shed load of cereal bars and cookies. A number of people said that ginger nuts helped to keep the sickness at bay, but I found nibbiling on any type of biscuit worked for me.

In San Marino, Monaco – my snack bag of cookies.

Don’t over plan – so I happen to be very good at not really planning most of my trips. I often have a vague idea of what there is to do in a paricularly destination. Often though, I rock up and see what happens.

Travelling whilst pregnant, you may find that you can’t do as much as you thought you would. So I’d avoid booking on any major group trips (were aspects of the day things are time sensitive) or trying to scale a mountain. Of course if you can then good on you. I’d say just try and go with the flow.

Most of all, try and enjoy the trip. For us, this is our first baby and so travelling in the future will be very different. My advice is to make the most of the lovely long lie ins, and it being just the two of you.

In Cyprus. This scene will look so different in the next year or so.

 


 

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