The third trimester is so exciting because you’re only a few months (or weeks) away from meeting your sweet newborn. On the other hand, it may be the most uncomfortable you’ve been since the early pregnancy morning sickness days.
Your growing baby, slower motions, lethargy, and more difficulty sleeping at night are all worthy reasons to create a vacation itinerary that respects your potential limitations.
Get the okay from your physician or midwife
First and foremost, you need to get the okay from your physician or midwife. You’ll also want to check in case your airline or public mode of travel has any restrictions or recommendations for traveling while pregnant.
While most airlines (and the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology) agree it’s safe for most women to travel up to 36-weeks of pregnancy - there are exceptions. Check ahead of time - and find out what you need - so you aren’t turned away at the gate.
Think of physical activity as possibilities, rather than guarantees
All of your physical activities should be considered potentials or options, rather than guarantees. Don’t spend any time booking activities before you go - even the ones that sound perfect (gentle bike rides or snorkeling).
You just don’t know what you’re going to feel like by the time your plane has landed or after the first couple nights away from your familiar surroundings. Thinking of your vacation as an empty canvas that you can fill in according to how you feel and what you want to do will lead to a satisfying - rather than frustrating or disappointing - experience.
Plan for private, comfortable sleeping accommodations
First-time mothers are often surprised that their restless and sleepless nights begin long before the baby is born. By the third-trimester, your bladder doesn't have a whole lot of room, which makes for at least one or two bathroom trips per night. Difficulty finding a comfortable position also keeps you sleeping lighter than normal.
Private and comfortable sleeping arrangements, with easy access to a restroom, are essential. This is not the time to be couch surfing or staying on a futon on the floor.
Travel to places where you’d be comfortable giving birth if you had to
The reality is that your body might surprise you and go into labor before you expected. If you’re on vacation while it happens, the consolation should be feeling secure in the surrounding area’s medical system. Know where the nearest hospital is in proximity to where you’re staying.
Set the stage for comfort
Have a comfort kit at the ready. Between unforeseen delays, delays that weren’t as long as expected and flight cancellations to sitting more than normal and tight quarters - your preparation for comfort will serve you well if anything goes awry.
Things to consider include:
Compression socks to keep feet/ankles from swelling too much
A water bottle
Small snacks of all types
An eye mask and ear plugs
A light (maybe zip-up) sweater or jacket that’s easy to take on/off
Tylenol (or generic acetaminophen) for potential physical discomfort
Walk around as much as you can
Ironically, it’s the sitting - not the walking - that’s most likely to swell your feet, ankles, and hands. Try to stand, stretch, and walk as much as possible to keep your circulation moving and to prevent restless legs. When sitting, try to prop your feet up whenever possible.
Think in moderation when it comes to meals
Eating is one of the highlights of traveling - but your stomach is still the same smushed up version of itself it was before you left home. Eat smaller meals and snacks, rather than full meals, to prevent an upset stomach and heartburn. Stay away from spicy foods unless you’ve been eating them with success at home.
My name is Marcela Limon and I am a professional maternity and newborn photographer. My work brings me into the intimate and sacred realms of later-pregnancy and newborn life. They’re busy times, and you deserve a pleasant and restful vacation to set the stage for the upcoming months.
Once you’ve returned home, feel free to give me a call - (510) 747-9019 - if you haven’t scheduled a newborn photography session yet. Together, we’ll choreograph a photo session that produces images that last a lifetime.