Thursday, July 10, 2014

Life :: Traveling While Pregnant / 5 Tips

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As you know, I jetted off to Michigan last month for my baby shower, towards the end of my second trimester. Before leaving, I made sure to research tips on how to make my plane ride more comfortable, but guess what? None of it helped! So, I'm here today to provide my own list of pointers, and hopefully if you're in the same situation one day, these will be of use.

1. Before you leave, invest in a pair of compression socks. I didn't even know these existed until it was too late, and I ended up with fat feet for the first half of my vacay. They're surprisingly easy to find and even if you're not prone to cankles, it's a good idea. This was the first time my feet swelled and I was a little freaked out. Better safe than sorry! (By the way, I don't know why plane rides do this -- something about the compression in the cabin and the altitude -- but I'm sure it could be googled if you're curious.)

2. Stay well-fed and well-hydrated. I'm always thirsty and downright starving whenever I get off a plane. It never fails. Make sure you eat a big meal before you get to the airport so that you don't have to spend $10 on a fast food dinner that would normally cost $5 (though if you do end up having to do this, don't feel guilty -- listen to what your body needs). You're not allowed to bring a significant amount of liquids on planes anymore (boo) but you can bring all the snacks you want, so pack some in your carry-on. Don't forget to buy a big water bottle once you get past security, and if there are any free goodies offered during your ride, be sure to take advantage (though most airlines don't do this anymore, so if you're really hoping for pretzels and soda, do your research).

3. Bring pillows and a blanket. I brought one small pillow on the flight to Detroit, and I was freezing and uncomfortable. It was a red-eye and I ended up getting about two hours of sleep. On the way back to LA, I made sure to pack a neck pillow, a cozy blanket, and another pillow for my back. If you're worried about paying for an extra carry-on, wear the neck pillow as you're going through security, wrap the blanket around you like a shawl, and carry the back pillow under your arm. If they make you pay for that, just tell them you're pregnant and hormonal, and if all else fails start crying. Fortunately I didn't have to do this, but it's always good to have a plan just in case. Traveling is expensive these days. But anyway, I ended up being a lot more comfy on my return flight.

4. Splurge on one of the big seats in the front. This is a necessary expense for any pregnant woman (especially if you're close to or in the third trimester and feeling like a beached whale). Again, I didn't do this on the way there but chose to on the way back, and I'm so glad I did. I was in the very front row close to the bathroom, and was even able to put my feet up and stretch my legs. My back has been hurting more and more as I get bigger, and hunched in my tiny "normal" seat was so painful I almost teared up. If there's ever a time to treat yourself, it's now, so spend the extra and save yourself the torture.

5. Bring something that smells good. The only issue I had on my flight back to Cali was... flatulence. Not from me (though I wouldn't be surprised), but from someone sitting behind me. Clearly, this poor person had indigestion, and I was the victim who had to suffer through the stench. About every half hour, I would forget that it had even happened, and then it would happen again and I'd have to bury my nose in my pillow. If you're pregnant (or have ever been), you know how bad smells can be. Fortunately I was no longer in the first trimester (those first four months were full of gagging), so I didn't have to vomit, but I came pretty close. I hope this never happens to you, but if it does, bring a travel-sized bottle of lotion or, better yet, body splash. Then turn around and spray it in the general direction of the culprit so they get the hint.

PS: For those of you who are new to my story and would like to read more about my journey through pregnancy, be sure to check out I Think God Knows I Love Surprises, The Truth About Pregnancy, How an Unexpected Pregnancy Changed my Life, and Mind Your Damn Business.
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