Traveling for work while you’re pregnant is tough. Oh, right. You might be wondering how I know. Well…..I have some news. The Home Warrior and I will welcome our little bundle of mini-warrior joy in August! We are very excited, and can’t wait to meet our baby. As you can imagine, being pregnant has meant a lot of adjustments travel-wise. Some women don’t have any issues in their first trimester of pregnancy, and I say more power to them! Unfortunately, I was not those women. I felt terrible my first tri, nauseous and exhausted virtually all the time. There were a few things I learned that made it easier, if not fun. Here are my tips:
Adjust your schedule as needed. One thing I learned early on is that day trips were just not going to work. It was too exhausting to only get 4-5 hours of sleep and then be gone for 18 hours. Flying in the night before meant I was well-rested, which meant an easier work day. I would still fly home in the evening after my meetings, which was tough, but doable. If you are really sick or exhausted, it may be better to fly home the next day. Also, if it’s available to you, think about spacing out your meetings more than you would otherwise. Again, it made me able to do quality work, instead of being a zombie.
Plan food ahead of time. During the first tri I had to be eating constantly, as often as every thirty minutes. I brought a lot of stuff from home (pretzels, crackers, fig Newtons, fruit), and some things I made sure I could get on the road. Sometimes I needed a certain food. For about six weeks, I had to munch constantly on Hot Tamales (the candy). For a while it was lemonade. Then it was sandwiches. The most important thing was to make sure I had food All. The. Time. This involved a lot of prep work, whether it was bringing food from home or knowing what the food options around the hotel and office were.
Stay hydrated. I preach about this a lot in general, but hydration is so important when you’re pregnant. If you can’t handle water, try Gatorade or juice. Just make sure that you are drinking at least 64 oz of fluid a day, and more if your doctor tells you more. For the first few weeks, water, normally my favorite beverage, tasted terrible to me, and I got so dehydrated I nearly passed out. I don’t recommend that!
Sit in the aisle. Whether it’s because you need to use the restroom, are feeling sick, or can’t handle being crowded in, I recommend sitting in the aisle if you can. It made me feel so much better when flying. Also, wear comfy clothes while flying. I actually started flying in dresses or yoga pants because it made me nauseous to have anything constrictive around my middle.
Check your bags. Again, this is something I don’t usually push, but it may be easier if you go ahead and check your bags. This way you won’t have to carry heavy things around the airport when you’re already feeling terrible.
Sea bands. They don’t work for everyone, but sea bands really helped me feel better and less nauseous. Of course it meant I had to wear long sleeves, since I was still hiding my pregnancy at that point…..
Be gentle with yourself. It’s okay that you can’t do everything the way you could before—your body is working really hard to build that baby! Give yourself extra time, since you may be moving more slowly than normal. Do whatever you have to do to feel better. The first trimester is all about survival!
One last note—there is a lot of different information out there about safe levels of caffeine intake. My doctor was perfectly fine with me having 200mg per day, which seems to be a common recommendation. There is only 35mg of caffeine in a can of Coke, and Coke made me feel SO much better when I felt sick. (Or had a headache. Or was tired. Okay it was kind of like the miracle beverage….) So if your doctor is cool with you having a limited amount of caffeine, don’t be afraid to drink a soda if it makes you feel better.
I am almost done with my second trimester, and I have to say I feel TONS better. I will post later about traveling during the middle of pregnancy, and once I have experience with it, traveling during the third tri. The most important thing to remember is that it’s okay to take longer to do stuff, it’s okay not to feel awesome, it’s okay to need naps. Just build time for that stuff into your schedule, do what you need to do to take care of yourself, and you will be just fine. And know that you WILL feel better!
Readers, have you had to travel while pregnant? What made it easier for you?
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