Top 10 Travel Essentials for Pregnancy

Traveling while pregnant can be very intimidating. Where is the closest bathroom for when the little one decides to kick me in the bladder? Will I actually blow up like a puffy balloon from sitting on an airplane for too long? How many people can I accidentally hit with my belly while trying to shimmy sideways down the narrow plane aisle? These are some of the questions that plagued me in preparation for our trip across the country for a wedding of a good friend this past weekend. While I know I didn’t do everything right in execution of this trip, I was able to compile a pregnancy travel essentials list that I will definitely refer back to for my upcoming traveling in the next month (month 8 of this pregnancy).

Some of these items were things that I knew to plan ahead for to make my travel days easier, and others are items that I recognized the importance of in hindsight. All of them are items that I believe can make or break a long flight.

My Top 10 Travel Essentials for Pregnancy

1. Compression socks:

This was something that I knew well in advance would be a part of my travel routine, because they have become an essential for my day-to-day living! See THIS blog to find a review of the style that I wear. Compression socks are great for long flights and walking in airports, because the prolonged time sitting or standing, and the exertion of walking across a large airport are enough to lead to some pretty uncomfortable ankle swelling (especially in the third trimester). As an aside, compression socks are also the conservative recommendation for those trying to manage varicose and spider veins (pointing at myself here). Here are the ones I got, and my blog to review them!

2. Support belt:

I have also done a product review on the support belt that I currently wear that you can find HERE. As stated in my review, it is not the most extreme support that you can find on the market, but it does take some of the edge off of that uncomfortable ligament pain that can show up with long bouts of walking. When carrying a backpack or heavy purse, it is especially important to wear a support belt. Carrying these items tends to lead to additional arching of the low back, called lumbar lordosis. While some arch in the low back is normal, excessive lordosis usually means that the back muscles are working in overdrive while the abdominal muscles are turned off and lengthened.

Over-stretching abdominal muscles is already an issue with pregnancy (because you now have a basketball-sized uterus pushing on them from the inside out). A belt can help lift the additional belly weight and theoretically decrease the likelihood of aches and pains from over-stretching the abdominals. Here is a relatively cheap one from Walmart.

3. Tennis shoes:

When pregnant and traveling, now is not the time to wear the cute shoes. Go with practical. Go with comfortable. And go with whatever you can fit over your slightly larger-than-normal, pregnant feet. Remember that you may have additional swelling with air travel due to pressure changes, so wearing something that can easily be loosened up is a great bet.

4. Water bottle:

Although it seems paradoxical, staying hydrated is a great way to combat the additional water retention that can happen when flying. This is always a staple item for traveling for me though, because I struggle to rely on the tiny cup that is offered in-flight. I know I usually dehydrate from sweating in security lines, walking while touting my heavy bags, and drinking too much coffee to wake up for early flights. Here is a cheap bottle that I have used for a year now. It is insulated, and it has a top big enough to get ice cubes in.

5. Lumbar support/neck pillow:

This was an item that I did not come prepared with. I ended up purchasing a neck pillow in the airport (where I know I paid twice the retail price, I am sure) to help make my time in the airplane seat more comfortable. I did bring an additional, small pillow for lumbar support, and I did not regret it for one second. If you don’t want to carry around two little pillows though, just plan on bringing an extra sweater in your carry on to roll up and tuck low in your chair for lumbar support. You can find one like this below at every kiosk in the airport, but it is much cheaper to buy ahead of time!

6. Rolling suitcase:

This one may seem obvious, but who wants to carry a shoulder duffle when pregnant? Not me! I was very happy to have my carry-on sized rolling suitcase and do as little heavy lifting as possible. There are always a lot of options at Ross or Marshalls for half the price of big stores. 

7. Helper/spouse!:

In a similar vein to the last item, traveling with someone that can help with heavy lifting and carrying is a Godsend. Having my husband with me eased was such a relief, because he not only carried my backpack when some painful mid-thoracic muscle cramping set in, but he also did all of the heavy lifting to get our bags up in overhead spaces. If you are traveling without help, ask a friendly looking neighbor to do the heavy overhead lifting. Your body will thank me. It can be totally safe and healthy for pregnant women to lift weight, do not get me wrong. But lifting in less than ideal circumstances with limited space is not a good plan.

8. Snacks:

This is another list item that has been added because of my experience of being totally unprepared. I underestimated how frequently I actually snack and eat throughout my average day at this point. If I would have taken a more realistic inventory of my caloric needs, I definitely would have had additional protein support with me. Snacks high in protein can fend off those hunger pains and make you feel full for longer. Once again, since I was not prepared, I was forced to buy overpriced airport snacks like nuts, cheese and pita chips, etc to tide me over to when we had bigger meals planned.

9. Yoga pants:

Let’s be honest. There is no comfortable way to sit on a hard airplane seat for a four hour flight in denim. Stretchy and comfortable yoga pants are the way to go. As a bonus, the pair I wore has a really high waistband that I can wear the support belt over the top of, so that it won’t rub on my skin all day. Here is a great company making prenatal yoga pants and other workout gear. It is a great investment!

10. Layers of clothing:

Every plane change and new airport led to my very dramatic overheating or freezing, so layering clothes is a good idea for easy temperature regulation. I don’t think that I am alone in feeling that these hot months just affect me WAY more than they ever have before being pregnant.

That is my top 10 list of pregnancy travel essentials! Hopefully it is helpful to guide you through packing while plagued by pregnancy brain. Cheers and fun travels!

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