Climbing Zapotec Pyramids While Pregnant

Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you have to stay home, at least not in the first two trimesters and you have your midwife or doctor’s OK. When I was pregnant with Grace I worked for an international development organization and travel was a big part of my job. I probably could have bowed out if I’d asked nicely but the my scheduled travel was to Oaxaca, one of my favorite places in Mexico, and I didn’t want to miss out, especially knowing I’d be staying closer to home for a while after Grace was born.

I was five months pregnant and had just climbed to the top of a steep pyramid when the above photo was taken at Monte Alban in Oaxaca. Steve took the photo because, thankfully, he joined me for the trip.  This brings me to one of our recommendations for traveling while pregnant: Don’t travel alone. You don’t have to travel with your spouse necessarily, but even having a co-worker or friend along makes for a more comfortable trip (who’s going to put your suitcase in the overhead bin or help you find tortilla soup when nothing else sounds good?). In the unlikely event that anything goes wrong, having your spouse, co-worker or friend along also makes it easier to get to medical care.

A few other recommendations:

  1. Talk to your midwife or doctor before you go. Let her or him know where you’ll be and for how long. They will let you know if there are any concerns.
  2. Don’t travel in the third trimester. Not only will you be big and uncomfortable, most medical professionals will advise against it and some airlines won’t even let you fly. Even driving long distances at this point is not recommended unless absolutely necessary.
  3. Bring a small pillow. Airplane and car seats are not comfortable for anyone; add 20 extra pounds to your belly and you are asking for a backache. A small pillow tucked behind your lower back helps to ease discomfort on the plane or in the car and an extra pillow comes in handy in the hotel room when you’re trying to get comfortable as well.
  4. Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration is a serious issue when pregnant. Be sure to drink lots of water while you fly or drive but also at your destination, especially if you are traveling to a warm climate.
  5. Walk. A lot. Walking helps ease the fatigue of extra weight on your body, especially after long periods of sitting. Take short, regular walks during travel, both on the plane or when you stop the car and at your destination, especially if long meetings are a part of your itinerary
  6. Bring plenty of your favorite snacks. I was still experiencing nausea during my second trimester while we were in Mexico. As much as I love the food in Mexico, most of the time on this trip the only thing I could eat was tortilla soup. All meat sounded bad as did much of my favorite spicy food, so I was pretty limited. Nutritional bars were a great thing to have tucked away.
  7. Know where you’ll go for medical care if you need it. If your midwife or doctor has given you the OK to travel, it’s unlikely there are concerns that will need medical attention while you’re gone. Still find out before you go through the web or someone you know in your destination where to go for quality medical care if it’s needed. Talk to your insurance company ahead of time as well to find out what their policies are for medical care away from home.
  8. Enjoy yourself. You will soon be spending most of your time at home, at least for a few months. Enjoy this chance to be out in the world. Even while pregnant you are introducing your baby to new sounds so consider this your baby’s first adventure!
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