Traveling During the First Trimester

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?

(Don’t forget about our awesome contest!! Win a vacation for two from Home2 Suites by Hilton!! Open for one more week.)



  1. Congrats!! & thanks for the tips, couldn’t have come at a better time as my wife is getting in her second trimester and we are making plans for upcoming summer trips!

  2. Congrats. We went to Buenos Aires in the first trimester (by chance) and had a good time. Although, I had a slightly better time drinking the wine than Mrs Weekly Flyer did not drinking the wine.

  3. Congrats! I found that ginger candies helped with the nausea (though I actually hate ginger). My water bottle was attached to me at all times – I was constantly thirsty (still am with a 2 month o,d)! As your belly grows, make sure to try on your outfits before you go! Wear more comfortable dress shoes if you can get away with it (wedges). Make sure to stop and walk around every hour or so if you are driving. I almost passed out a few times from getting out of the car too quickly after a long drive. Avoid evening activities as much as possible to conserve energy. Continue exercising to ward off germs. Eat a big breakfast so you aren’t starving by te time your meeting starts at 9 am. Can you tell that I just did this?!

  4. Congratulations to you and the Home Warrior!

    I worked in finance with all men on my team when I was newly pregnant and hiding it, and that was tough. Especially since looking at or smelling meat made me sick (chicken and fish were fine if cooked). I remember one memorable steakhouse meal in Oklahoma City where there were no fish options and only one chicken option. Another meal was in Boulder Colorado where they served Rocky Mountain Oysters (I kid you not…) that my tablemates just HAD to order. Fun times.

    I too had to eat often. My morning snack was string cheese and a some dried plums, apricots or apple slices. The protein and fat was balanced by the carbs. I could take the cheese on shorter trips and put single servings of dried fruit in baggies, one for each day. You can usually find single cheese sticks at delis or office building mini-marts.

    Popcorn was another snack when travelling. I could pop a bag in the hotel or buy a bag already prepared.

    Also, LARA bars and Kind Bars are good portable snacks that can be eaten between meetings or on flights. No muss, no fuss.

    Sleep on the plane and nap whenever possible.

    I also travelled while nursing and that’s another story…

  5. Congratulations!!

    I am wondering what your plans are for when the baby arrives. Will you return to regular travel after your maternity leave, or will you scale back travel some to spend time with your baby? I’d love to see a post about how traveling women balance their work with motherhood. I’m still trying to figure out what I’ll do there!

  6. Congratulations! I look forward to reading more on how you are handling travel and pregnancy if you don’t mind sharing.

  7. Oh my goodness!!! Congrats to you and your growing family. So exciting. We need to catch up!

  8. Congrats!!! Enjoy your sleep now… and spontaneous dinners with your husband, and spontaneous shopping trips, and spontaneous everything… my son is the best thing that ever happened to me, but it’s an adjustment, fo’ sho.

  9. Congratulations! I flew internationally up until 32 weeks, and domestically up until 34 weeks. Get up and walk around!! You’re more likely to have blood clots and DVT while pregnant (especially in the 3rd tri).

    I refused to go through the nude-o-scanners and got groped instead. But that’s your choice (I also never had an ultrasound).

    As for the cute (and comfy!) travel clothes, check out Old Navy – inexpensive, but still comfy and cute.

    It wasn’t easy, but totally doable – and I started traveling again 2 mths after my daughter was born (I wasn’t nursing, but for other reasons – not because of traveling).

  10. I’m in the third tri now, and I’ve been lucky to have a really easy pregnancy. Until recently, the hardest part was obtaining a professional looking wardrobe and predicting whether each item would still fit me at the end of each trip. These last couple of weeks, the hardest part has been staying comfortable in the plane (aisle seats are crucial) and walking far enough fast enough to make my connection without triggering BH contractions. Time zone changes are also a much bigger deal than they used to be, now that sleeping through the night cannot be taken for granted.

  11. I’m 7 weeks pregnant and just found out my work will be sending me to Latin America at the end of May beginning of June (so I’ll be in my second trimester). I’ve been looking forward to a long haul trip since in my previous job i used to travel frequently particularity Latin America and Europe, Its usually a good chance to see my family back in south america and so I dont want to tell them about my pregnancy until the trip is all sorted because I’m afraid they might cancel it. I’m super healthy, havent had any major discomforts so far. What should i do? Should i wait to tell them or should i do the right thing and tell them as soon as possible and let them make the decision whether to send me or not?

  12. @Angela Congratulations!! To be honest, I actually don’t think the right thing to do is tell your company this early. It’s very common not to tell your employer at all until you reach your second trimester. The best thing to do is talk to your doctor and see what he or she says. When I was pregnant with my son my (very cautious) doctor was fine with me traveling to Mexico at 30 weeks (so my third trimester) as long as I didn’t eat any uncooked foods. As long as your doctor thinks it will be fine, there is no reason for your company not to send you. Good luck!!

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