There’s no doubt you deserve a well-earned break before your little one arrives. However, with plenty of extra things to consider, pregnancy has the potential to turn packing into a minefield. Take the stress out of it with our suggestions and you’ll be able to enjoy a relaxing trip.
(Remember: travel is normally prohibited after 36 weeks, sooner if there have been any complications or if you’re expecting more than one baby.)
- Prepare your travel documents
Pregnancy means you’ll need extra documents as well as your passport and ticket — get them ready in advance to avoid any last-minute panic.
Most airlines require a doctor’s letter clearing you to travel from 28 weeks of pregnancy onwards, although the number can vary so do check with your provider. It can be worth having a letter no matter how far along you are, particularly if you are obviously pregnant, since plane staff have the authority to stop you from boarding if they suspect you might pose a risk to the flight.
Travel insurance details
The cost of medical care abroad can be sky-high, so comprehensive travel insurance is a must. Make sure your policy covers pregnancy-related medical care and premature birth, or you could be hit with a large, unexpected bill.
Your maternity notes contain vital information about your pregnancy — they’ll save time (and could potentially save you) if there’s an emergency and the staff on the plane need to figure out the best way to treat you.
Don’t forget: Your passport needs to have at least six months’ validity on it after you leave your destination, regardless of your condition, so be sure to check.
- Choose a suitcase that’s easy to wheel about
The last thing you want is extra backache, so take a suitcase with 360-degree wheels on all four corners of the base — this will give you the most flexibility and control, and will be easy to pull along. Ask your travel companion or the airline staff to life any hand luggage into the overhead bins.
- Pack a travel pillow
Many people pack a travel pillow anyway, but you’ll find travelling even more tiring during pregnancy and having somewhere comfy to rest your head will help, preventing neck ache and increasing your chance of getting a good sleep. You can also use the pillow if your flight is delayed or if you have time to kill before boarding.
- Think comfy and practical
What clothes you pack will depend on the weather at your destination, but wherever you’re going, you’ll be grateful for stretchy garments like leggings or trousers with an elasticated/maternity waist, loose-fitting tops and dresses, and a cosy jumper or coat in case you get cold.
Flat shoes you can easily slip on or off will be kind to your feet — don’t forget open shoes like sandals or flip flops if you’re going to a hot country, so you don’t have to worry about your feet swelling.
As for your hand luggage? Keep flight socks handy, and bring a scarf that can double as a blanket.
- Don’t forget drinks and snacks
Water is vital — it will keep you hydrated, which has the bonus effect of preventing swelling. Buy a bottle after you get through security and refill it as needed. And remember to take lots of snacks for the journey! Dry food like wholemeal biscuits and cereal bars will quell nausea, while fresh or dried fruit is packed with essential nutrients.