My kids travelled a lot before they were born. They were both conceived overseas, and racked up countless miles before their entrance into the world.
Son number two was conceived in a small Austrian village… so small there was no pharmacy for miles. I’d just finished reading a book about herbal law that explained how you could get an accurate pregnancy reading by peeing on nettle leaves. I gave this a shot but was still none the wiser, so borrowed a bike and road to the closet town and bought a test. The test was negative, so I thought it was safe to get roaring drunk with some German friends who were visiting. A few weeks later I was back in New York, where I’d been based for a couple of years, and took a second test. Pregnant… very much so… apologies to my son for any damage done from Austrian beer and a big night on the schnapps.
Unless you have a high-risk pregnancy, then there is absolutely no reason why you can’t travel whilst pregnant. If you have any concerns, or a medical history that suggests caution, then see a doctor before travelling. The second trimester is the easiest time to travel, but many women travel easily throughout their whole pregnancy. There are certain parts of the world that require vaccinations not suitable for pregnant women. Once again, seek medical advice. But for the vast majority of pregnant women, travel is not only safe, but also advisable. Take the opportunity to travel with one less person while you can.
The best piece of advice for any pregnant traveller is relax. Pregnancy isn’t easy for everyone (and for those women who do find it easy I just wish they’d keep it to themselves.) I suffered hideous morning sickness throughout both pregnancies, but found it preferable to suffer it on the road than holed up at home—not that I really had one back then.
I had one scare, with my second son. I was in New York and started bleeding. An interesting visit to a short woman with a mustache and an internal ultrasound reassured me that some rest would solve everything—which it did.
A couple of months later I was in Port Vila in Vanuatu. As much as I wanted to take a few day trips to outer islands, I didn’t. I was at the point where I was too large, and needed to take care. Instead, it was feet up by a pool, which isn’t such a bad alternative.
Whether you are travelling for a while, or simply taking a babymoon, always have travel insurance and check the fine print to make sure it covers pregnancy.
The larger you get, the less comfortable it is to fly. I always drank litres of water, which reduced the risk of dehydration, constipation and DVT. I tried not to walk the cabin too much but instead stretched as much as possible, taking extra care to hold the seats—on one flight some unexpected turbulence tossed me into the air like a Goodyear Blymp which taught me this was best. And at around the 35-week mark for both pregnancies, I grounded myself.
Not for long though... son number two boarded his first flight when he was ten days old.