Third trimester means that you are by now the size of a planet, have a million aches, sores and discomfort and feel clumsy and uncouth. Pregnancy seems to last forever and you can no longer see your toes. Back ache, slight lower abdomen strain, breathlessness etc make days hard and at night you need a lot of pillows to get comfortable. Even then, constant pee breaks make sleep difficult and you no longer feel remotely pretty. Bloated face, swollen ankles etc create a major body image issue and crying jags get worse. If all the above mentioned reasons are not enough for you to long for a break, then you are seriously a very patient being. However, wanting a break and actually taking one in the third trimester may not go hand in hand and the biggest reason is the high chance of premature delivery.
Airlines start imposing strict restrictions on travel and from requiring a fit to fly certificate to offloading a heavily pregnant passenger, they are pretty merciless. The idea of road trip becomes a bad one since sitting in any posture with or sans cushions can get extremely difficult and all you feel like doing in this condition is curl up and sleep, provided you find the right position. Unfortunately, according to my opinion, no other trimester could need help from a break, than the final 3 months and I had pushed my limits to take off briefly during this time. The result had been a mixed one. While, Emirates had offloaded me for being too pregnant to fly, the short weekend getaways had done me good. These experiences have taught quite a bit on how to travel in the third trimester and I am sharing them here with you.
- Flying is no fun – Flying during the last trimester is absolutely a huge deal breaker. Apart from the usual discomfort of swollen ankles, cramped space etc, airlines get extremely strict about regulations for pregnant traveler and they reserve the right to deny boarding. I have myself been offloaded by Emirates for being too heavily pregnant to fly the long duration Dusseldorf to Dubai sector and my previous pregnancies posed the risk of delivering inflight. Needless, to say, not only was a huge disappointment and humiliation, but my fare had gone down the drain too. So, to avoid such goof ups, read the airline terms of carriage carefully, carry the requisite documents required by them and declare them at the time of check in. NOTE – Airlines slightly differ in their t&c, so please look up their website for information beforehand. Once you are on board and on your way, your journey begins to get more difficult by the second and ask for an aisle seat. If you can manage with upgrades or buy a seat, opt for business class and higher. Otherwise, carry your cushions, walk around as much as you can and support your back with lots of padding. A seat near the toilet will make those constant pee runs very convenient and god knows, at this time, you spend more time in the loo than out of it. Carry healthy snacks, drink as much water as possible and pray that the flight passes by quickly. Compression socks help with the swollen feet and try to avoid unnecessary transits.
- Short weekend getaways are the best options – Third trimester calls for more frequent doctor visits and so, opting for short getaways make sense. Whether by road or by train, short getaways to nearby destinations mean less duration of discomfort and a refreshing break. Tarek and I had traveled down the romantic Wine Route to the lovely Mosel Valley and it had been a fun filled road trip. I had carried as many cushions as I had wanted, slouched as uncouthly as my body desired and had stopped at the gas station public toilets as frequently as required. With some music, conversation and brief food stops, the road trip had passed effortlessly and we had arrived at Mosel with minimum hassle. Mosel is a beautiful riverine town famous for verdant hills and excellent wine and the valley had been a Bacchus‘s dream. Vineyards had surrounded us from all sides and a gorgeous castle had reflected on the calm Mosel. It had been the end of summer, when Cologne had been blistering hot and the flower filled Mosel had brought about a much refreshing break. On our payback, we had stopped at the gorgeous volcanic lakes at the Eiffel National Park and had reached home, content and comfortable. Incidentally, it had also been our last trip as two, since our son, Akash Amin was born a week after that. That arrival had been a close one and the thumb rule of traveling in the third trimester is to time it right.
- Walk less – Though a short break might tempt you to explore the place at your heart‘s content, the chances are that your body will not permit it. Walking which had been my primary source of exercise during the first 2 trimesters, had turned into a frightfully difficult affair and I had preferred short strolls with breaks rather than my favourite long rambles. Uphill walks can seriously push your physical limits and it is the time to sit back and relax rather than explore. By this time, most women absolutely give up on fashionable footwear and so comfortable shoes (even Crocs) will make your strolls more pleasurable.
- Food restrictions – This is a tough one for food lovers, especially those who love to sample local dishes at a new place. You probably don’t have enough space to breathe in your body and your meals get smaller and smaller. Small, frequent meals help at this time and be wary of heartburn and acidity. Ask your doctor for antacids and carry them with you.
- When you need to go, you have to go – Toilet emergency during the last trimester is no joke and the you need to go (which is like all the time), you have to go. Crowded places, high tourist season etc can make toilet stall queues agonisingly long and during those times, use your large pregnant lady status to the fullest. P.S In case of emergency in the out of public area, just grab your toilet paper and find your spot. You can blame the baby later for the unlady like behaviour.
- Be more prepared – This being the final trimester, when premature births can happen anytime, it makes sense to be prepared. Carry your medical documents, insurance card, doctor‘s number, be updated on the local medical facilities and take things easy.
- Forget fashion – You have reached the phase when your are too big to be real and swollen, bloated looks seem to be normal. In such scenarios, it is extremely hard to put your best fashion foot forward, and during traveling, it makes things even worse. So, my advice is that you just let go, forget about your looks and enjoy the final moments being alone with your partner. These days will not come back.
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