Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you need to pause your travels. You can easily travel if you’re having a normal, healthy pregnancy. Whilst pregnant with my first child we went to Japan for a week and while pregnant with #2 we travelled constantly over the course of the first six months throughout Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. If I can do it, so can you.
Here are some tips and things to be mindful of if you’re planning on travelling while pregnant:
Avoid travelling in the first trimester. The first three months of a pregnancy can be difficult. Morning sickness, food aversions and low energy are not really conducive for travel. Travelling in the second trimester is great. Most women find this the easiest trimester because energy returns, morning sickness ends and you’re still relatively normal-sized. Travel in the third trimester can be done but limit yourself to short trips. You’ll be bigger, less mobile, more tired and need beaucoup de bathroom breaks.
Pick the right destination. This can be key to how much you enjoy your travels while pregnant. Places that are too hot or crowded can be hard work if your travelling with a big bump. You don’t want to be travelling for hours by bus or car either as pregnancy can play havoc with your bladder.
Factor in flight time. Flying can be uncomfortable at the best of times. 11 hours squished into a back row, economy class seat is even less fun at 30 weeks pregnant… believe me! We had a shockingly uncomfortable return flight from Tokyo to Auckland. If you are travelling long haul, look for opportunities to break travel up into more manageable flight segments. Look into the quality and comfort of the airline, especially the seats, before you book any flights. If you can afford it, business class makes for very comfortable pregnant flying!
Stay on the beaten path. Don’t plan on being too far from a good doctor or hospital just in case complications arise. It’s not worth the risk.
Don’t stuff your itinerary with too much activity. Plan on having downtime, naps and rest days where you just chill by the pool or in a comfy hotel room.
Think about food. I have food aversions throughout my entire pregnancy. I just spent ten weeks of my second pregnancy travelling around South East Asia and really struggled with my food choices during this time. Normally I love Thai food, curries and a bit of chilli but while pregnant all I want is plain food and dairy products. During my first pregnancy we travelled to Tokyo Japan and I really missed out by not being able to enjoy all the sushi and sashimi on offer.
Bring snacks on the plane in case the airline food isn’t pregnancy-friendly. A lot of foods are off-limits during pregnancy. Unfortunately, there is no option for pre-ordering a pregnancy-friendly in flight meal as you would a vegetarian or kosher meal. Have some food in your bag in case you aren’t offered anything suitable on board.
Wear compression socks on flights. Being pregnant can put you at a higher risk for blood clots. For a list of the best compression socks for travel read this post.
Find out before you leave what travel medications are safe to take while pregnant. I used to need motion sickness pills (Antinaus) while flying but these are not recommended for pregnant women.
Travel Insurance will cover you for travel up until a certain number of weeks pregnant – usually somewhere between 20 and 32 weeks dependent on your policy. Your pregnancy won’t be covered if you received IVF or are expecting multiples. This doesn’t mean you can’t travel – it just means your pregnancy and any health complications related to this won’t be covered.
Airlines may require proof that you are fit to fly. Get a signed letter from your doctor or midwife stating your due date and the date up until which you are considered fit to fly. I have been asked by this only once by an airline (Air New Zealand). Other airlines require you to sign a waiver on check-in if you are visibly pregnant (Air Asia).
Think carefully about what you pack, especially if you’re on an extended trip. Every woman is different but my body usually changes quite a lot around the 20-week mark and can be rapidly different from week to week thereafter. Maternity clothes and bigger bras are not readily available in many countries so plan ahead! Bring clothes that are stretchy, comfortable and will accommodating a growning bump. Think leggings, tunics, empire line tops and maxi dresses.
I am not pregnant, but I found this tips very useful indeed, I’ll keep them so if at some point I’ll be I know how to travel in that condition. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
Great tips! Agree with avoiding 1st trimester travel. I would travel in 3rd anyday over 1st. In fact heading to Disneyland today!
When my wife was pregnant with our son we didn’t take any trips that required flying, but we did take several road trips. The further along she was the more often I found myself stopping for her to walk around. Early on it wasn’t a big deal, but by six, seven months she made me stop at least once per hour.
Wow! I can’t imagine what it must be like to travel pregnant! Great tips!!
I travelled throughout the first 6 months of this pregnancy – 15 flights & 6 countries and it was pretty easy actually! I’m glad we stopped at 26 weeks though. I only had another week or so left in me. That nesting urge kicks in and all you want is a home for the last few months anyway.
I’ve just found out I’m pregnant and we have a trip to Asia, SE Asia, etc. planned for 3.5 months. A little worried due to diseases, zika, food, care, the works. Any advice welcome!
Congratulations on your pregnancy. I can’t advise you on zika or diseases, you’ll have to talk to your own doctor about that, but I can chat about the other things. We spent 3.5 months in Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam when I was pregnant with my second child so I have some experience with that. We saw an OB at Sametivej hospital in Bangkok who was very confident. We also saw doctors at the Bangkok Hospital in Koh Samui and I was happy with the medical care I received in Thailand. I would suggest travelling slowly, not moving around to much etc, just to make things easier and more relaxed. We really only moved from city to city by plane and then based oursevles in either Bangkok, Krabi, Samui, Saigon or Kuala Lumpur for a week or more at a time. I didn’t want to travel too far from any hospitals and stuck to major towns. Food depends entirely on you but I didn’t enjoy Thai food while pregnant, and I usually love it, but the sour taste and spice really didn’t work for me at all while pregnant so I mainly stuck to plain items like ginger chicken & rice, Japanese or Western food. Good luck!
Thank you so much!! I added extra travel insurance and Bangkok definitely seemed to have a ton of doctors in the network. I’ll imagine we need to do at least 2 checkups- was thinking Bangkok and Singapore. This is very helpful!!
Super tips! It’s so true about the 2nd trimester. I loved my trip to the resort. never felt better swanning about in my bikini with a big belly and no worries about being ‘fat’.
I’m not pregnant either, but you have just proven that pregnant women can also travel safely, well done! Great tips!
good tips! I’ll be 34 weeks pregnant in the Dominican Republic and didn’t even think about taking buses from city to city with the bathroom situation! I made need to reconsider the details!
You have to be really careful with the travel insurance fine print for outside-the-box stuff like pregnancy, and check with each new policy as they might have changed the wording since the last time you bought the policy.
I couldn’t find a policy that covered pregnancy in any real sense when I was first pregnant (they claimed to but the list of specific exclusions was ridiculous). Last I checked they had a more reasonable list of exclusions but I couldn’t find a policy which covered the first or last trimesters at all. I wrote a whole thing:
We chose to travel within our home country both times. It was great! I even went snow shoeing.
We both travelled from our London base during my wife’s first pregnancy. Me to San Francisco for a new job and her to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria where our first child, Daniel, was born. 14 years later, he’s been joined by Alex who was born in the UK and Tommy, again in the Canaries. Great advice. Although we have no plans for a fourth.
Great advice. I’m so excited for your growing family!
Smart tips. And you’re so right about avoiding first trimester travel. I had to travel to Florida and Bermuda before three months, and the only time I ever had morning sickness during my pregnancy was when I was on the road.
Wow, there sure is a lot to think about when traveling pregnant. I would have never thought about the extras you need to pack like bigger bras. Thanks for sharing that it is possible to do.
Great tips!! I think the most important thing is to pick your timing well – like you said, first trimester can suck! I went overseas twice in my first trimester with #1. The first time was at 4 weeks and that was ok, but I was so so sick the second time at 10 weeks. It was a completely wasted trip as I did not enjoy it at all. It was so much nicer travelling at 20 weeks in my second pregnancy
Thanks for showing you don’t have to stop exploring with a baby on the way. Very practical tips for modifying your travel style so you can enjoy yourself.
Great tips! I traveled during both my pregnancies, cause I’m not one to pass on a trip. I LOVE Las Vegas and even though I was nine months pregnant I went there for a weekend. The hardest part was the heat. I remember siting on the patio at my favorite pub and looking down at my swollen ankles. If you like your cocktails (like this mama) then that is kind of a bummer to be somewhere like Vegas and not be able to partake in the fun libations. Any who, great blog! Don’t stop traveling just because there’s a baby in your belly!
Really great advice Bethaney. It is so inspiring to hear that you followed your wanderlust even while pregnant.
Excellent tips. We did a bus tour in Europe while my wife was 6-7 months pregnant. It was relatively easy. One fun thing after your child is born is that you can keep telling him/her the places he/she has been. It usually starts with your child stating that he/she has never been to a country and you correct immediately that she has indeed been to that country (in mummy’s tummy). Nice blog by the way.
I travelled heaps when I was pregnant and didn’t have any problems. I was in more trouble when I was back in Australia and my partner took me 4wdriving when I was 10 days over due and got stuck on the beach.
Hi, great tips for travelling whilst pregnant. I’m not pregnant but myself and my husband will be not trying to not get get pregnant (if you know what i mean) in the new year. And we want to go to Japan for a couple of weeks end of March start of April (for cherry blossom season). Obviously I may or may not get pregnant in that time but is it really a bad idea to travel in the first trimester? Booking a trip of life time to Japan for that time would mean us having to do it fairly soon so I’m just looking for some advice from you well travelled ladies. Thanks so much. Nikki
Hi Nikki! Thanks for your comment. Congrats on not trying to no get pregnant! Lol. Travelling in the first trimester isn’t great. If you’re in the very early stages of pregnancy, before 6 weeks, you might actually feel fine. After that, you can be pretty low in energy, queasy or sick. Once you hit 12-14 weeks that pretty much instantly goes away though and it becomes a good time to travel. If I were you, I’d wait and see 1) if you get pregnant and 2) how you feel. Pregnancy is such an individual thing. You might actually feel fine in your first trimester! The best time to purchase flights is actually 6 weeks before travel so just wait until you’re a bit closer to the date and then make your bookings if you feel confident in your body. You usually need a note from your doctor or midwife to show you’re fit to travel while pregnant also. Let me know how you get on! Happy to answer more questions. 🙂
I loved reading this! My husband and I planned a trip to America for 3 weeks next year, we’ve never traveled before and I know once we have a bub we won’t be going anywhere (other than holidays in Australia!) so i really want to do this trip no matter what!
Do you think a trip to America around the 24-25 week mark would be too late in the pregnancy? And quite a large part of the trip would be driving for a couple of days (with lots of stops and overnights along the way) do you think this would be suitable? It would also include 2 internal flights ( LA-NYC and NYC -Vegas)
Any advice would be appreciated!! 🙂
I think that’s probably fine so long as you’re healthy. Just make sure you travel insurance policy will cover your pregnancy. Some of them only cover up to around 26 weeks.
What road trip are you thinking of doing? I’ve got lots on my site about road tripping in the US!
Thank you for this useful tips! I’m in my second trimester now and I can’t wait to go back in the road again. I miss being a tourist ?