Why Is Traveling So Hard When You're Pregnant?

Jenny Benjamin

airplaneI've never been somebody who just threw some sunblock in a bag and jetted off to Mexico for a weekend jaunt. Still, I tend to take a pretty lax approach when it comes to traveling -- I pack light, make sure I have my passport, and figure that whatever I don't have, I'll find when I get there. As I get prepped for our last big vacation before the babies come though, I'm realizing that traveling while pregnant requires a crapload of advanced planning.

Shnikes -- if it's this hard now, I can only imagine how it will be with two babies and two car seats and two sets of baby supplies and two parents with barely-held-together sanity.

My husband and I booked this trip to London and Paris (we're so fancy!) back in the fall, using the gazillion miles we'd racked up over the last couple of years. We were hoping I'd be pregnant by now, and figured that, if I was, these metropolitan cities would be safe bets as far as access to medical care, ease of travel, and so on. Plus, we knew that once a baby came, we wouldn't be skipping off to foreign locales for awhile.

When we found out I was pregnant, we got travel insurance right away. When we found out it was twins, we thought we had to kiss our dreams of croissants and steak frites goodbye. But both my OBGYN and my perinatologist said from the very beginning that if my pregnancy was healthy, the babies and the cervix looked good, I would get the all-clear to travel overseas.

Of course, several people have already decided that my smart, caring, and well-respected doctors must be some kind of quacks for even letting me get on an airplane when I'm pregnant with twins. When one of my Mom's friends asked how my OBGYN could allow this scary adventure to Paris, smack-dab in the middle of my second trimester, she responded with, "Do you think Jenny got his name out of the back of a phone book?" Go Mom!

But, the doctor did give me some travel advice for the long plane ride, as well as tips on what I can and can't do while there. He suggested I take baby aspirin the day before, the day of, and the day after traveling. For the 11-hour flight, he recommended compression stockings and lots of water, and told me to get up and walk as much as I can. We also discussed what I can and can't eat, especially in Paris, where they apparently undercook the chicken and not one of the soft cheeses is pasteurized. Although he did say I can have those cheeses if they're hot -- so raclette and croque monsieur it is!

In preparation for this much-anticipated vacation, here's what I've managed to get done so far:

  • I spent days calling every pharmacy in town, looking for compression stockings. Finally, I found them. Um, $50 for what are essentially tight knee-highs?
  • I ordered an international cellphone in case I have to call my doctor at any point.
  • I blew way too much money on a couple of pairs of Aerosole shoes that I hope can handle long walks and my swelling feet.
  • I bought a French phrasebook and marked all the pages that talk about food and ordering at restaurants (you can see where my head is at).
  • I grilled my yoga teacher, asking for stretches that would help keep my lower back from tightening up on the plane.
  • I loaded up on Tums and cocoa butter cream and blister Band-Aids. Plus, I managed to get an extra supply of pre-natal vitamins, just in case.

Am I missing anything? What are your essential travel tips for a pregnant girl?

Image via smemon87/Flickr

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