Travelling While Pregnant
Since I was old enough to hit the road on my own, I’ve been doing just that! It all started with a backpacking trip to Europe with some friends in University, and it’s grown to take me to 30 countries around the world and a career in the travel industry. While I like a good beach vacation as much as the next person, my real passion is to explore a bit more, so the soft adventure niche is perfect for me. Since we celebrated our wedding with a honeymoon climbing the Inca Trail and sailing the Galapagos Islands, when my husband and I found out we were pregnant, we certainly weren’t going to let that stop us from crossing off our next destination – Asia! At 6.5 months pregnant, I boarded a flight headed first to a few independent days in Hong Kong, then over to Japan for a 9-day small group tour with G Adventures. It was an incredible adventure!
Here are some of my tips for travelling with a baby bump:
- Check in with your doctor. Travelling while pregnant may not be for everyone. If your physician advises against it, please do as they say. In my case, my doctor knew about my trip for months before departure, but reserved the right to tell me I couldn’t travel up until my appointment just 4 days before my flight. She sent me for an extra ultrasound the week before I left, ensured I had print-outs of all of my appointments, ultrasounds, blood tests, etc. in case I needed to see someone abroad, wrote me a prescription for compression socks for the flight with strict orders to move around regularly on-board, answered all of my questions, and ultimately gave me her blessing to go on the trip. From a medical perspective, I felt very comfortable travelling at this point in my pregnancy which is very important.
- Buy insurance. This is always a key recommendation for any travel, but particularly when pregnant, ensure you have insurance before you depart for your trip just in case. The bills for any complications or an early labour can be astronomical! Further, ensure you read your policy very carefully to make sure you fully understand what’s covered. In my case I was covered for everything until 31 weeks which was a long way off.
- Don’t push it. For the most part I had no real issues while travelling and was able to keep up, but I absolutely didn’t push it. I’m in relatively good shape, but if I was tired, I took a rest; if the stairs looked a bit too tedious for me, I took the elevator; if I wasn’t sure about the water or a local meal, I didn’t indulge. Use common sense, follow your instinct, and don’t push yourself!
- Be prepared. I never left my hotel without my favourite snacks in hand, a full bottle of water, my insurance policy, and my medical paperwork. Thankfully I only needed the water and snacks! In addition, for this trip I swapped my usual back-pack for a small suitcase on wheels to avoid having to lift anything heavy where I could.
- Don’t go it alone. I was extra comfortable on this trip because I was on a small group tour, meaning everything was taken care of for me and I had a local guide who spoke to language to assist me should anything go wrong or should I need to communicate details of my condition. I advised the tour operator in advance of my pregnancy and they were fully prepared and pleased to have me on the tour. My guide always made sure I had a seat on whatever mode of transportation we were taking and I was very well taken care of. Being on a tour delivered a hassle-free adventure vacation for me and I wouldn’t have done it any other way!
- Choose your tour and destination carefully. We chose Japan as it’s a very well developed nation with good hospitals. In addition, the tour we selected stayed at comfortable properties and travelled on comfortable public transportation (mainly train travel). Personally I would have thought twice about going somewhere that is home to many diseases, doesn’t have good hospitals or going on a tour that stayed at much more basic accommodation, used chicken buses, etc. It’s a personal decision, but for me, I knew I would face other challenges (i.e. being a bit slower than the group, etc.), so I didn’t want to further challenge myself with uncomfortable beds and nerves about catching something that could be harmful to myself and the baby.
- Be thankful. I was very surprised at how many people, both in Hong Kong and Japan offered me their seats on busy trains and subways. I was always very thankful and this often lead to big smiles and sometimes a nice conversation with a local.
Travelling while pregnant was a fantastic experience for me and I highly recommend it if you’re open, willing, and most importantly if your doctor gives you the ok! Follow these tips and follow your instincts, and there’s no reason why you can’t continue to be adventurous during this exciting time.
August 20, 2018