With your second trimester, comes the confidence that your bump is here to stay and even your energy starts coming back. This is often called as the golden period of pregnancy and the fear of traveling during the first trimester lessens considerably. Many couple embark on babymoons at this time and I totally love them. Babymoons give you the much required quiet time of togetherness before the final phase and eventually the stress of a newborn hit. Your body is also not yet enormous and the nausea, morning sickness and other icky feelings get reduced considerably. The bump too is pretty cute at this time and it makes great photos. The now visible bump makes your condition quite obvious to people and it is amazing to see even strangers clamour to try to make things comfortable for you. Overall, the second trimester is a very enjoyable phase and traveling at this time is a lot of fun. Tarek and I had traveled a lot during the second trimester of my pregnancy and from crazy cross country motorbike trips to short city breaks, we have had a lot of fun. Things were smoother than the first three months and being aware about the following things had made our trips safe too.
Traveling during the second trimester –
- Road trips or car journeys get more comfortable – With the nausea and morning sickness dwindling down, road trips again become an enjoyable thing to do and it also gives you absolute freedom of as many pee breaks you want. We had explored places of interest around Cologne and had opted for mostly day trips. Once, however we had gone for a weekend break to Brugges and I had loved slouching uncouthly all the way in our car. Being on a road trip, also means freedom of grabbing a bite anywhere you wish to and you can maintain the pace of the trip according to your comfort. So, opt for a short day trip or a weekend break to a destination close to you and enjoy getting away from it all, without actually being too far. Plus, it breaks the otherwise second trimester monotony of each pregnant day being just like the day before.
- Flying continues to be a pain and it only gets worse – Second trimester means that your body has grown bigger and hence, cramped spaces become more annoying. Flying includes being seated in a cramped space of economy for long duration and this is one bad combination. Swollen feet, aching back and cramps can make long duration flights very uncomfortable and most pregnant women complain of being unable to sleep through them. The result is that either they spend the long hours trying to get comfy in their seats in vain, shuffling down the aisles miserably or watching too many programmes on the inflight entertainment. These end up in agonising fatigue and jet lag which are often accompanied with headaches, mood swings or emotional outbursts. To avoid these as much as possible, try upgrading to business class for wider seats and more legroom. However, if you need to travel coach like me, then opt for an aisle seat to have freedom of movement. Walk around and stretch your legs as much as you can and request for a seat close to the toilet. Jet lag can be reduced with lots of fluid intake and during pregnancy make water your best friend. Drink water like a fish, avoid too much of caffeine and carrying a lavender pillow may help you get relaxed enough to sleep.
- Train journeys still rock – Traveling by train continues to be super comfortable and it is amazing how much distance can be covered with ease during this condition. You are lucky if you happen to be one a sleeper train and the gentle rocking can make you snooze all the way to your destination. However, for seater services, follow the exercises meant for flying .i.e walk around, stretch your legs and drink as much water as possible.
- Carry more food with you and continue exercising caution with what you eat – Growing baby bump means more intake of food and hunger pangs call for emergency situations. Thus, it makes sense to carry more snacks with you on person, along with your requisite pills and exercise more caution about what you eat. Many women tend to develop gestational diabetes at this phase and so go easy on the sugary stuff. If sampling a supposedly harmless looking and sounding foreign or never tried before dish, ask for the ingredients to check if you should be avoiding any of them.
- Take your pills, papers and potions – If traveling to a foreign country, it is sensible to carry your medicines, insurance, doctor‘s papers and supplements with you. Pregnant women are strictly advised against consumption of unnecessary medications, certain drugs and I personally always feel safer when popping a pill known to me and advised by my doctor. Moreover, most pharmacies hesitate to give medicines without prescriptions to pregnant women and even if you get a severe headache, the unknown chemist might just give a natural pain soother, which may not work at all. In case of requirement of more severe dosage, most chemists would insist that you consult a doctor first and this can be a vacation mood killer.
- Primp up your style – The second trimester is definitely the prettiest phase of pregnancy and during this time you can bother to pamper your looks. Cool maternity clothing flatter the bump rather than making you look shapeless and you can indulge in looking good for the babymoon photos. After this trimester, most women get too large to feel remotely nice and the exhaustion of carrying the weight of the baby makes them not get bothered about how they look. So put on your mom to be clothes, invest in some comfortable yet stylish footwear and proudly preen your baby bump to the world.
- Opt for easy activities, but walk as much as your body allows – In the second trimester, a heavier body demands less strenuous activities while growing energy insists on exploring excitedly. The best way to combine both is to take up easy walking tours, museum strolls, garden visits, short hikes etc which will make you walk, use your energy while not exhausting you too much. Walking is a great exercise during pregnancy and when interspersed with breaks, it can be the best way to explore a place on your baby moon. Just listen to your body, don’t necessarily stretch your limits and take care to avoid extreme heat.
- Beware of emotional stress meltdowns – Traveling often brings about stress of various levels and kinds and in pregnancy anything and everything might lead to a crying meltdown. Late dinner reservation, bad food, delayed flight, extreme fatigue, spot on the chin and even not getting the ice-cream of your choice can lead to weepy outbursts and you can safely blame them on the raging hormones. I myself had a huge meltdown while shopping for maternity clothes and had bawled like a baby for not getting a style that I was look for, while a visibly embarrassed Tarek had looked on. Try to be aware of these meltdowns, since they exist during pregnancy and avoid them by listening to your body needs. Hunger, tiredness, aches etc are the biggest triggers and skip rest or a meal at your own risk.
- Feel the pleasure of strangers‘ joy at your impending new arrival – Babies are universally coveted and in every culture pregnant women are treated with utmost special care. This is more visible when traveling with a bump, since strangers ask you for the tentative arrival date, offer you comfort and loving gestures. Sometimes these gestures like touching the belly can be so culturally different that many pregnant women get offended by them, but it is important to be aware that they are just sharing your joy with you. Pregnant travellers also receive more kindness and generosity and it feels great to be so loved for creating life. One of my fondest travel memories are during our babymoons in Brugges and Khajuraho. The bnb owner at Brugges had been so excited that he used to insist on giving me extra large breakfast every morning and the old mother of our host at Khajuraho had rubbed by belly with muttering of blessings and tears in her eyes.
- Shop together for the new arrival – One of the most fun things to do during your babymoon or second trimester vacations is to shop together for the new arrival. Not only is it a great bonding technique with your partner, but picking up nice things or souvenirs for the baby and the nursery makes these beautiful memories stay stronger.
NOTE – Every woman‘s body is different and each pregnancy is a whole new experience. These tips are solely based on my own experiences and not meant for high risk pregnant women. Also, you may not experience or feel the way I did during my pregnancy and the above mentioned are mere general guidelines. Please consult your doctor before traveling and for any special concern.
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE