A few months ago I wrote about travel in the first trimester. People seem to be divided 50/50 about travel in the first trimester. Many say you shouldn’t as this is when the fetus is most vulnerable to an unhealthy diet or environmental factors. While others say go for it, since many of the most annoying of the first trimester symptoms don’t hit until later on.
For me it was unavoidable – I got pregnant while I was in the middle of a three month journey. (Blame Dan for that)
Travel In The Second Trimester
However, there is one thing that most people do agree on. Of all the times during pregnancy to travel, the second trimester is the most highly recommended. In fact, many people advocate the second trimester “baby moon” holiday.
So why is the second trimester so highly recommended as a good time to travel? What are the most common pregnancy symptoms that you will have to deal with? And lastly…how did *I* do?
Travel During The Second Trimester Is Safer
Most people recommend travel during the second trimester because it is generally both safer for mom and baby. By this time the fetus is more developed, and less likely to be spontaneously miscarried. Also, diet and environmental factors are less likely to affect the fetus either, of course it is still a good idea to be very careful about what you consume during pregnancy. But the main reason that travel is recommended during the second trimester is because you will finally be feeling like yourself again – energy will be coming back, it will be getting easier to sleep, and hopefully the nausea will have subsided as well.
Common Second Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms And Travel
The Nausea Subsides – Many people get morning sickness in the first trimester, and for most people this subsides in the second trimester. This is a great thing for travel. I found that on top of the normal acute motion sickness that I suffer from, my morning sickness was often triggered for smells. Garlic and onions were big ones for me, and I would usually lock myself in the bedroom while Dan or my roommates prepared food.
An aversion to smells is definitely something you don’t want to have when you are travelling in an unfamiliar place! If you are like most people, when the nausea subsides in the second trimester, this is a great time to travel. If you are like me, and just sick all the time, well… tough.
Shortness of Breath – Many people will experience shortness of breath as the uterus expands and crowds the lungs. Due to this, you may not want to plan a trip which involves a lot of hiking or other physical activities. I however, never experienced shortness of breath, and still walk 45 minutes to my office each morning with no problem, so it really depends on your body and how you carry the baby.
Nothing fits anymore! – The second trimester is when you will most likely start showing a baby bump. Most people start showing in between 14 – 22 weeks, and how much your belly grows during the second trimester depends a lot on your body shape and how many children you have had in the past. One consequence of all this is that you will notice a lot of your clothes are not as comfortable as they used to be!
Of course, it’s hard to guess how much weight you will gain and when, but try to pack clothes are will accomodate your growing belly. For hot destinations, pack summer dresses with empire waistlines, or that are made from stretchy material. For colder destinations, you might want to bring along a belly band. The belly band is a stretchy piece of fabric which covers the top part of your pants and allows you to wear your trousers unbuttoned but still remain decent!
Don’t pack tight fitting clothes, unless you are only going on a short trip and you don’t expect to grow much during that time frame. Otherwise be prepared to have to go on a few clothes shopping trips during your holiday if you happen to outgrow the things you brought from home.
Crazy pregnancy mood swings – Your body should have adjusted a bit by now to the surge of pregnancy hormones it had to deal with during the first trimester, but that doesn’t mean you are totally in the clear yet. I haven’t noticed that my mood swings are much worse than they were before I was pregnant, but now at least I can blame any irrational behaviour on the baby instead of on myself!
Leg Cramps And Braxton Hicks – No one knows what causes the leg cramps many women feel during pregnancy, but some doctors suspect it could be in relation to diet. Make sure you are taking a good pregnancy vitamin and eating as well as you can, and you should avoid the worst. Braxton Hicks are cramps or tightening of the abdomen, but are usually completely harmless although they can be annoying. Be aware that these two symptoms may affect how good of a sleep you get, and if you find you are suffering from them, than try to schedule in a bit more relaxation time so your body doesn’t burn out during travel.
Constipation – Pregnancy hormones combined with the space your uterus is now taking up causes the digestive system to slow down in most people. The last thing you want while you are travelling is to be irregular, so make sure you keep your diet high in fibre. However sometimes it is hard to maintain a strict diet with travelling, so consider taking along a fibre supplement with you for your travels.
Stretch Marks – Some people get them, some people don’t. Stretch marks are thought to be hereditary, but of course, any skin care company will tell you that you can avoid them by moisturizing with their brand of lotion (of course). I decided to be on the safe side and bought some good quality moisturizer which I use twice a day, and so far I have not gotten any. If stretch marks are a concern for you, then make sure you pack a good lotion and use it regularly.
Energy! – The second trimester is famous for being the time when you get all you old energy back – and then some. This obviously is a good thing for travel. I didn’t really experience this mythical energy, but then again I am still having problems with nausea and eating food, which is probably a huge contributor to my tiredness.
Other Things To Expect In The Second Trimester
During the second trimester you typically will have a 19 – 20 week ultra sound, as well as a glucose blood test around 26 – 28 weeks. These are both important tests and should not be skipped, so if you travelling during that time of pregnancy make sure you will still be able to get the care you need.
How Did I Deal With Travel In The Second Trimester
During the second trimester I have been working a temporary office job, but that hasn’t stopped me from going on a few weekend trips here and there. In early October I went on a famil with Sundowner holiday parks, exploring the East Coast of NSW. At this point I was about 4 1/2 months pregnant, and was only showing a little bit. Most people on the press trip had no idea I was pregnant until I mentioned it.
This trip took place just as my nausea was starting to calm down a little bit, which helped me keep my energy levels up so that I could keep up with all the non pregnant people as well! The only thing that my pregnancy affected during this trip was not being able to take part in the surfing lesson, and not being able to drink all the fabulous wines and beers that were provided – although I did have naughty sips of the craft beers in Port Macquarie.
My second trip happened when I was five months pregnant, when I was invited as a VIP member of the media to attend the #humanbrochure tourism campaign in Canberra being put on by ACT Tourism and Visit Canberra. During this press trip, I was on the arts and culture stream (they moved me from the adventure stream for obvious reasons), so nothing that I was doing was too risky for me and baby. I spent the weekend eating delicious food, flying in a hot air balloon, and visiting some of the best cultural institutions in Canberra. Being pregnant didn’t affect my ability to enjoy anything that the trip had to offer.
My most recent trip during the second trimester was another weekend trip to Sydney. On this trip we spent a day kayaking in the lower blue mountains and visited one of Sydneys most delicious 2 chef hat rated restaurants. I found the kayaking a little more challenging than usual due to having most of my core muscles all stretched out of shape, but luckily I had Dan to do most of the work. And the pregnancy didn’t stop me from enjoying some of the scientific wonders at the Gastro Park restaurant, although there were some amazing wines I would have loved to have been able to sample on that menu!