Traveling is stressful enough when you aren’t expecting, but just because you’ve added a bun-in-the-oven to the equation, it doesn’t mean you should be destined for a terrible trip. So here are a few simple, effective travel tips to make traveling a breeze while you’re pregnant…or as easy as it will ever be, at least.
Travel Tip #1: Snack Happy
While that craving for pickles and ice cream isn’t exactly easy to satisfy when you’re driving across nearly deserted parts of the country or cruising at 30,000 feet in the air, toting some kind of portable, protein and fiber-packed food to fuel up is essential. When you’re pregnant, eating pure is a good rule of thumb, and if it comes in a vending machine, you can’t pronounce it, or it has enough preservatives to still be edible in 18 years at your unborn baby’s high school graduation, odds are it’s not something we suggest you ingest.
Fruit and fresh veggies are always an awesome idea for a nutrient-rich snack, while you can also opt to make a tasty, all-natural trail mix with various mixed nuts and unsweetened dried fruit, or—for simplicity’s sake—just toss a few energy bars in your purse. LÄRABARS in particular are an excellent option. Made with no more than nine (natural!) ingredients, they come in flavors like Cherry Pie, Peanut Butter Cookie and Blueberry Muffin, simultaneously providing the pastry experience and nutritional benefits for you and your baby.
Travel Tip #2: Pack a Pregnancy Pillow
If you’ve ever needed a good night’s sleep, it’s now. (After all, you’re creating life—and that’s exhausting!) But often, hotel—and, God forbid, motel—beds tend to leave something to be desired. That’s why it’s time you adopt a BYOP policy and bring your own pillow with you on your travels. And the best way to ensure a good night’s sleep while you’re on the go is with a pillow specifically designed to fit and conform to your pregnant body. My Brest Friend makes body pillows and pregnancy wedges designed to provide desperately needed lumbar and belly support that will help you catch some solid Z’s on even the lumpiest of hotel mattresses.
(Coping strategies for ridiculous minibar prices still pending, however.)
Travel Tip #3: Prevent Constipation Before the Discomfort Begins
It’s difficult to decide what’s more uncomfortable—this issue or talking about it—but there’s no denying the pregnancy hang-up that is being, well, stopped up. And whether you’re dashing off for a stay at the in-laws’ or on a stressful business trip in your second semester, your bathroom habits are the last thing you should be worrying about. Enter Be Good to Go, which is 100% safe for pregnant women and an effective way to prevent traveler’s constipation and the bloating, gas and general discomfort that go along with it.
Which is a good thing, because a girl can only eat so many bran muffins.
Travel Tip #4: Stay Hydrated
The importance of hydration (in general and while traveling) can’t be understated—especially when you’re pregnant, as dehydration can actually cause contractions. Fortunately, always having H20 on hand is easy and inexpensive. And what’s important to consider is not just the quantity of water, but the quality of the bottle you’re drinking it from. Certain plastics can be full of toxins, so opting for a reusable water bottle that’s BPA and phthalate free for you and baby is best. (And, as a bonus, way more environmentally and economically friendly than constantly buying bottled water.) Luckily, there are plenty of safe, super portable water bottle options that are perfect for pregnant women. Try the Platypus Foldable Water Bottle, which is ideal for any airport scenario, as you can fold it up when empty, stick it in your purse to get through security, and then fill (and refill!) it for free at water fountains. Meanwhile, Brita makes bottles that, while bulkier than many, have a built-in filter to guarantee only the good stuff hits your lips.
Travel Tip #5: Layer Up
Perfecting the art of dressing comfortably for travel is difficult for everyone, with temperatures outdoors constantly varying and temperatures indoors constantly overcompensating. (And we won’t even go into the apparent impossibility of climate control on an airplane.) But when you’re expecting, finding that window of comfort is more difficult than ever—especially in the first and second trimesters when fluctuating hormones result in hot flashes for over half of pregnant women. And since kindly asking the flight attendant to adjust the aircraft temperature isn’t a realistic solution—and putting the AC on blast every time you feel your face begin to flush isn’t likely to earn you the favor of your road-trip companions—dressing in layers is your best bet. A form-fitting tank layered under a soft, slouchy long sleeve shirt with an accompanying cardigan allows you to act the part of an onion and peel off layers as desired whenever one of those pesky flashes makes an appearance.