Elizabeth shares her tips for traveling in the first trimester.
Traveling while pregnant can be a daunting experience, no matter how far along you might be.
I admit that I had some nerves traveling in the first trimester of my pregnancy as well: Would I push myself too hard? Would I find foods I could trust? Would I get enough rest?
Doubts can cloud your entire mind during that time, but in the end, conquering those doubts was something I will never regret as a soon-to-be mom. Some things were harder than others, but I am here to assure you: it can be done.
Here are a few of my essential tips to ensure true babymoon bliss when traveling in the first trimester:
1. Don’t be afraid of a little adventure.
I always felt better when I was moving, so my guided hikes along the glaciers, puma tracking excursions in Patagonia, and explorations around Machu Picchu turned out to be welcome activities during my first trimester. The more I did, the stronger I felt. Though this also comes with the understanding that I was also not be able to do as much as I used to. My previous endurance levels were at record lows, while my exhaustion levels were at record highs – meaning my six mile hikes were cut down to three mile hikes, and my glacier treks were adapted to be more expectant-mother friendly. As in all things: listen to your body to know how much adventure is too much adventure.
2. Be mindful of Zika
Yes, I traveled to South America while pregnant and was incredibly mindful of Zika every day I was there. Yet with proper planning, I was able to avoid the most at-risk regions and employ smart practices to prevent stings. Staying in more mountainous areas where Zika-carrying mosquitoes cannot survive, traveling with DEET bug spray, and wearing light yet full-coverage clothes ensured I had nothing to worry about along the way.
3. Avoid group travel
Group travel is a challenge while pregnant. By choosing to be a fully independent traveler, you give yourself the gift of flexibility. You won’t have to navigate your way through large buses with very strict, scheduled stops or mandatory group dinners from which you suddenly have to dismiss yourself. As an independent traveler, you are in control of your own schedule and can manage each day as it presents itself – a true luxury when you are pregnant.
4. Choose a tour operator you trust
This is incredibly important, as your tour operator is the one who can worry about all of the details on your behalf. That is why the team at Ker & Downey is so exceptional – they thrive on executing your dietary and scheduling restrictions so that you can focus on simply having a good time. I felt this every step of the way while I traveled, knowing that my itinerary was full yet flexible so I could determine the course of the day depending on how my body was feeling
5. Splurge on luxury
Trust me on this one. When you are traveling while pregnant, the last thing you want to worry about is the quality of your sleep or the sanitation of your room. Pursuing five-stars means these would-be worries fall to the wayside. What’s more, you can almost always be sure that the cheese is pasteurized, the water is always safe to swim in, and the spa is worth the visit.
6. Opt for land
If there’s one thing I learned during my travels, it is that boats are probably not the best thing to pair with pregnancy. Seasickness can hit anyone at anytime, but seasickness while in your first trimester is something you should try to avoid altogether. Opt instead for a land itinerary that allows you to keep both feet firmly below you at all times.
7. Steer clear of markets
Markets are my favorite stop in any city, but the super-nose that comes with pregnancy is not the best accessory for such an activity. Best to steer clear of them altogether just in case you can’t find the exit in time.
8. Sleep always wins
No matter what your itinerary says, listen to your body and let sleep win. Traveling can be exhausting no matter where you are, so be sure to take enough time to get in a full nights’ rest. Your body and your baby will thank you.
9. Soak it all in
Most important of all, don’t forget to enjoy yourself. You may not be able to control everything changing with your body, but you can stop to take in your surroundings and celebrate the fact that you are there and sharing this moment with your child.
** Please note that I do not pretend that every first trimester is created equal. There are many women who physically should not be away from the comfort of their home during this time, while there are many others who have at least a solid half-day of energy in them. No matter your situation, all expectant women should consult their physician prior to traveling.