Travel in the Third Trimester
I read somewhere while researching common third trimester symptoms that “pregnancy in the third trimester can be tiring and uncomfortable.” Boy did they get that right!
I would say that travel in the third trimester is probably the most difficult time to travel while pregnant, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible.
Third Trimester Symptoms and Travel
Breast Growth – Apparently your breasts are supposed to grow during pregnancy. My extreme and ever lasting morning sickness made sure that didn’t happen to me (yay?….my thighs on the other hand….). I can imagine that travelling with ever growing breasts could be a pain, especially if you have to buy a new bra in a place where the sizing structure is different than back home. But this is probably one of the least annoying symptoms.
Travel in the Third Trimester tip – Pack a comfortable sports bra which can grow with you during your travels.
Weight Gain – I never quite understood why if the baby and fluid weigh about 10 kilos, why I need to gain 20? Weight gain can be stressful for women, especially those concerned with body image. And weight gain during travel can be especially annoying when your clothes no longer fit. Again, I didn’t gain much weight during my pregnancy due to the sickness so I was able to wear my normal clothes all the way through.
Travel in the Third Trimester tip – One thing that was really worth its weight in gold was the belly band I bought. This stretchy piece of fabric allowed me to continue to wear my normal trousers and shorts with the zip and buttons undone. It meant I had a lot more versatility in my wardrobe, and also didn’t have to spend unnecessary money on horrifically ugly maternity clothes.
Braxton Hicks – These are like practice contractions. Apparently they are not supposed to be painful, but I don’t believe that for a moment. I didn’t experience any but I did get lots of really painful cramps during even light exercise. Since I don’t drive, I need to walk to wherever I need to go. Sometimes due to the baby’s position, I would get extremely painful muscle cramps in my stomach. I would just need to take it slow, or apply light pressure to the region.
Travel in the Third Trimester tip – I would not recommend any travel which requires a lot of physical activity in the third trimester. This not only rules out hiking destinations, but also some city breaks, as even an hour walking around a museum or gallery can be absolutely exhausting in the third trimester.
Backaches, Leg aches, Nerve pain and more! – The pregnancy hormone relaxin causes your muscles and joints to relax to be able to accommodate the growing baby. This of course causes the muscles that give your back its strength to relax as well. It is important to try to continue having good posture during this time. Also, the position of the baby can also put pressure on the spine, causing some pretty horrible nerve pain in your back and legs. I don’t know how to alleviate that… but I really, really, wish I did.
Travel in the Third Trimester tip – If you are spending long time periods sitting, such as driving or on busses, you may want to take along a pillow to help support your back.
Shortness of Breath – As your baby grows, he or she may start taking up some of the space that your lungs used to enjoy. Believe me, it is hard not to feel like a beached whale as you wheeze and struggle up even the slightest of inclines.
Travel in the Third Trimester tip – The third trimester is where you may want to schedule in a lot of beach time or other sitting down activities in your travel itinerary.
Frequent urination – This first trimester symptom decides to revisit us in the third trimester as well.
Travel in the Third Trimester tip – Know your bathroom locations.
Heartburn – This is really common during the third trimester for two main reasons. One – the growing baby changes the shape and position of your stomach, causing stomach acid to be able to get to places it does not belong. Secondly – the pregnancy hormone relaxin also relaxes the sphincter in between the stomach and the esophagus, allowing stomach acid to escape easier. Eating small meals often will help with this. I found that sleeping was the worst time as my horizontal position would allow my stomach contents an easier escape.
Travel in the Third Trimester tip – Sleeping slightly propped up helps to keep stomach acid where it should be, so ask your accommodation for extra pillows as required.
Emotional health – Feeling physically crappy can make you feel emotionally crappy as well. Add this to raging pregnancy hormones, and the sinking realization that your life is soon going to change dramatically can all build up on you mentally. This can make the stresses of travel seem even greater. This is where having a really supportive partner is going to make all the difference in the world.
Travel in the Third Trimester tip – Make sure you talk to your partner about your anxieties, prepare them for the reality that they may need to take up more of the responsibilities when it comes to planning and decision making – and massages. They will need to provide a lot more massages. 🙂
FATIGUE – This one goes in capital letters. Not only will the fatigue or pregnancy impact your day to day life, but it will certainly impact your travel life. Plan your trips to include plenty of down time. You may find that you need afternoon naps or early bed times. (I actually took a nap in the middle of writing this article….)
Travel in the Third Trimester tip – This may be the time where you want to invest a little more of your budget to a comfortable accommodation, since you will likely be spending more and more time there resting.
Other Things To Consider During Third Trimester Travel
- Doctor visits – In the third trimester, the frequency of recommended doctors visits increases dramatically. Due to the complication that I have had during my pregnancy, I was actually going in once a week. This means that you will have to take this into consideration when travelling, and maybe only go on shorter trips closer to home instead.
- Flight restrictions – Most airlines will have a restriction on how far into your third trimester you will be permitted to fly. It is a good idea to have a doctors note with you even if you are under the cut off date, since women who appear larger may be questioned at the airport.
- Your due date – I wouldn’t recommend travelling (even close to home) close to your due date. The last thing you want to happen is to go into labour when you are not near your hospital of choice.
Ideas For Third Trimester Travel
The third trimester can be a difficult time to travel. For these reasons, when you are travelling you might want to consider one of the following types of trip styles:
- Beach vacation
- Weekend trips
- Day trips