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Right before Christmas we took a family trip to Aruba. It was incredible, but pregnancy made it a bit more interesting.
My dad booked the trip in April 2019 – three months before we even knew we were pregnant. I was bummed to miss out on the delicious all-inclusive drinks, but I was determined to go and have a wonderful time (as long as it was given the green light by my OB).
Before our trip I searched the internet for advice in regards to pregnant traveling. I found helpful nuggets and learned others firsthand, so I wanted to put them all in one place to serve as a resource.
For context, I was in my 28th week of pregnancy when we took our trip (Dec 19-23). I spoke to my OB a few times prior to going and we felt comfortable since my pregnancy has been low risk and baby was doing well.
#1 — Discuss your plans with your healthcare provider.
As with anything in pregnancy, this is always the first piece of advice. You and your provider know what’s best for your pregnancy. Some may feel more comfortable about certain things that others – we know ultimately the health of your baby is most important.
I first brought up our trip at our very first OB appointment in August. My doctor was concerned about the zika virus potential, so we paid close attention to the CDC’s Zika Map. Once the trip was closer and we hadn’t seen any zika outbreaks, we brought it up again. My OB made suggestions in case of zika, but Aruba was way too windy to see any bugs (thank goodness).
I was prepared to stay back had anything popped up in the area that would have put me or baby at risk, but I’m glad we discussed with our doctor and everything was good to go.
#2 — Get travel insurance.
Anything can come up, especially when pregnant. I don’t usually get the travel insurance, but felt a lot better having it on this trip. In the event I couldn’t go, I knew we weren’t going to be out all of our money. Yes, it was an extra cost, but it gave us peace of mind. Things during pregnancy can change quickly, so it’s ideal to remove any difficult decisions or financial stress.
#3 — Have healthcare provider information handy.
Hopefully you won’t need it, but you’ll feel much better having it handy. I recommend storing it in your phone (as well as your partner’s or whoever you’re traveling with) for quick access. You may also want to have it on a hard copy in the event something happens to your phone.
#4 — Research nearby healthcare at your destination.
Again, hopefully you won’t need it. I felt much better reading a bit about Aruba’s healthcare and pregnancy care. Usually you can find this information through the area’s tourism site or just simply google for your destination.
#5 — Pack mindfully.
Think layers. Also think light. You’re not going to want to be hauling around a bunch of stuff. And lets be real, you never wear all of it anyways. Pack the comfy shoes and clothes that can worn in different ways. Don’t forget the maternity suits if you’re going somewhere tropical (these are the ones I bought on Amazon and I LOVED them: one / two / three)! You may also want to pack one heavier piece and lighter piece incase you get colder/warmer than anticipated.
#6 — Pack your comfort items.
Being pregnant often means being uncomfortable. That is not said to complain, just being real. Packing when you’re pregnant goes beyond the normal clothes and toiletries. Pack the things that make you feel more comfortable: special pillow, tums, tylenol, etc. These things may be way more expensive or hard to find, so bring them with you.
I know I encouraged you to pack light, but don’t skimp on the things that help you get through the day and feel like a human.
#7 — Take it easy.
Do as much that is safe and feels comfortable for you. You might be used to vacations that involve lots of adventurous excursions. Those are probably out right now. Instead, order the virgin frozen drinks and go at a slower pace.
On our trip, some of the group went snorkeling one day and did a UTV tour another. I opted out of both since snorkeling didn’t sound great pregnant and the UTV definitely wouldn’t have been recommended. I enjoyed relaxing mornings by the pool with my mom and sister and yummy buffet lunches at the resort. Totally fine by me. We did all do a sunset tour on a catamaran and that was lovely. Don’t feel like you need to do all the things.
If you’re flying, I’ve got a few extra tips for you.
** Wear shoes that are easy on/off.
You know going through the airport you’ll probably need to remove your shoes at least once, even with global entry or TSA precheck. Make it easier on yourself and wear easy shoes. I wore sneakers on the way there as I usually do on flights. My feet started feeling super uncomfortable, so I took my shoes off. Then I wanted to get up to stretch and go to the bathroom. Those suckers were super difficult to put back on.
Before our flight back my feet had gotten swollen and I could barely get my sneakers on. Luckily my husband accidentally packed his Adidas slides, so I wore those with socks. Game changer! They were super comfortable for my swollen, tired feet and made taking them on/off through the airport and on the flights a breeze. That’s my go to from now on. I’m gonna grab me a pair of these.
** Grab an aisle seat.
I know it’s not always possible to choose your seat, but if you can, do it! Or switch with someone you’re with or a kind stranger. Most people are super accommodating and maybe they’ll gladly take your window seat. I felt much better having room to breathe and stretch out on the aisle. Plus I didn’t have to bother my neighbors when I got up multiple times to go to the bathroom.
** Check with your airline ahead of time.
Usually it’s not an issue, but depending on how far along you are, the airline you’re flying with, and your destination, there might be certain restrictions or guidelines to be aware of. We flew with American Airlines and I had absolutely no trouble with the flights. I did call ahead of time to make sure I didn’t need to bring anything from my OB. Easy breezy
** Bring flight friendly snacks.
We were given little snacks on our flight, but by the time they got to our row they had pretty much ran out of the good stuff. I did pack a few snack bars, but had already eaten them and was getting pretty hangry. Next time I’ll pack more than I think I need.
Flight friendly snacks would mean foods that are easy to throw into a bag and nothing too smelly, no liquids. Some ideas are: protein bars, nuts, dried fruit, dry cereal, PB&J sandwich, protein powder in a shaker bottle to fill with water/milk post security or in-flight, trail mix, etc.
Am I missing anything!? What tips have you learned?
Wishing you a safe and happy pregnancy and lovely travels!