Most people have the misguided belief that travelling while pregnant cannot and should not happen. While I understand the need for precaution, this belief is not entirely true. You can safely travel while pregnant, taking full advantage of the first and second trimesters. For sure, you might not be able to do extreme activities, but that does not mean you cannot enjoy yourself. After considerable research, we found these nine tips women who still want to keep travelling while pregnant will find helpful.
1. Choosing Your Seat
Depending on your mode of transportation, the seat you choose is very vital to your comfort and convenience. You might be travelling by air from Nairobi to Mombasa or from the coast to Kisumu. You might also choose the old-fashioned road trip experience. Always select a seat that allows you easy and fast movement. While some women prefer the window seat for extra ventilation, others prefer the one next to the aisle. This way, you can quickly get up and use the bathroom or stretch your legs without disturbing your neighbour (if flying). When driving, take the seat with the most space depending on your preference. Just make sure you have your safety belt at all times.
2. Be Comfortable and Elevated
Your comfort is vital during your whole travelling experience. You can carry a few items to ensure maximum comfort and relaxation. These include a neck pillow, a scarf or kanga for the cold, and a sitting pillow as well. Try to keep your feet elevated to avoid swelling and clotting at the ankles and soles. You can also do stationary stretching exercises during the trip to keep the blood flowing smoothly. An excellent example of an activity you can do is rotating your ankles in a circular motion gently, while also moving your toes.
3. Carry Medicine, Water and Snacks
A pregnant woman needs proper nutrition for her and the unborn child. She needs to always stay hydrated at all times. Having bottled water with you to take frequent sips throughout your trip helps. In case you have an affinity for other beverages such as porridge or soup, you can also carry them with you in a flask. Avoid caffeinated drinks, because they are not healthy for pregnancy. As for snacks, take healthy bites such as fruits, carrot sticks, a sandwich, or nuts. Avoid fatty snacks like potato crisps and other fried foods because they can cause nausea and stomach upsets during your trip. If you are on any medication, ensure you take them at the proper time even if it means making a stop.
4. Take Frequent Stops
When travelling while pregnant, it is essential to pace yourself. Avoid taking a trip with no breaks unless it is less than 30 minutes. If you are going on a three-hour journey, take breaks after every 45-60 minutes. That way, you can use the bathroom, stretch your feet, and take a breather from the motion and noise of the road. However, make sure that you choose your stopping point cautiously because some of the open Kenyan roads might harbour ill-wishers. Safe stopping points include petrol stations, market points, shopping malls and roadside eateries.
5. Choose Your Destination Cautiously
Perhaps this should have been the first point. When travelling while pregnant, your destination matters a lot. Some areas can be medically and physically risky for you and your unborn child. Areas prone to Malaria and other disease outbreaks, for example, should not be on your destination list. Your health always comes first, even if it means sacrificing your enjoyment for a while. Avoid risk areas as well. Check with the Kenya Tourism Federation Safety & Communication Centre before you head out to uncertain regions. Otherwise, stick to popular and metropolitan areas.
6. Stick to Easy Activities, Take Your Time
Do not over-exert yourself if you are travelling while pregnant. You can use this time to spoil yourself with activities you usually do not do. You could sunbathe, book a massage appointment, take light walks to a nearby museum or shopping mall or visit an open-air market. Remember to take breaks freely or even stop whenever you feel out of breath, fatigued, or dizzy. Your safety and that of the child always come first.
7. Know Where Hospitals Are
If you are planning to travel for a long time, make sure you know where the hospitals closest to you are. Allianz Worldwide Care runs an online International Medical Provider Finder you can use. Once you have this information, you can use it to determine where your accommodation will be. That way, you can quickly get there even if it is at night. Although we do not hope for any complications, it is essential to be ready at all times. You can also go for check-ups and medication restocking.
8. Watch What You Eat
One of the most common mishaps of travelling adventures is food poisoning. I cannot tell you how many times I have been a victim of the same. I later realised my stomach is sensitive to change, and so I have to be very careful when eating outside my home. The sensitivity also applies to pregnant women. If you accidentally eat something wrong, you might fall sick and even compromise the unborn child’s health. That is why you should always choose what you eat with great care. Avoid fast foods, and go for dry and organic options if possible. If you find yourself craving fries or a burger, ask the hotel to make a fresh plate for you as opposed to serving from the pre-cooked batch. It is also essential to stick to bottled water instead of drinking tap water.
9. You are not an Island
Lastly, if possible, always try to have a helping hand when travelling while pregnant. It could be your partner, friend, relative or a professionally trained aid. Just ensure you have someone looking after you during your journey so that they can raise the alarm whenever there is a problem. They can also help with daily chores, which gives you time to relax and enjoy your trip.
It is possible and sometimes necessary to travel when pregnant. You can still enjoy yourself like everyone else. You have to remember to stay comfortable, healthy and safe. With these tips, we hope that your trip is going to be fulfilling and memorable.