Traveling can be stressful. There is so much to think about, plan for, and prepare in advance. Traveling when pregnant adds another component to the usual logistics, making it even more important to plan ahead, so that your trip is as smooth and stress-free as possible. As a Health Coach and Yoga Teacher specializing in pre- and postnatal wellness, I work with my clients to have a healthy and relaxed pregnancy. All of the techniques and tools I share in my classes, workshops and in my book, Pure Nurture: A Holistic Guide to a Healthy Baby can be used while you travel to keep you feeling your best. Below are my top five travel tips during pregnancy to support you mentally, physically and emotionally.
5 Tips for Traveling While Pregnant
- Pack your own (nutrient-dense) travel snacks. Aim for a nutrient-dense variety that will fill you up and keep you satisfied. Highway gas stations and airports are two of the most challenging places to find healthy snacks. Grab a small bag and pack your own—ones that will keep your blood sugar and mood stable, as well as boosting your immune system, which is really important when you’re traveling.
- Mandarins/clementines: they come in their own packaging, are easy to peel and full of vitamin C.
- Trail mix, filled with raisins, nuts and seeds: is packed with protein to keep your blood sugar stable and help you stay fuller for longer.
- Snack bars: look for low-sugar and whole-food-based bars. A few of my favourites are: Lärabar, Pure Organic bar and Probar.
- Mind your breathing. Stress directly impacts our immune system, weakening it and leaving you susceptible. But deep calming breaths can help keep your nervous system in check and your immune system boosted. The calmer and more relaxed you feel, the stronger your defences will be to ward off unwanted germs and viruses. The Three-Part Breath (Dirga Pranayama) is one simple technique you can use anywhere:
- Sitting comfortably with a straight spine, begin by observing your natural inhalation and exhalation for a few moments. Take in the depth and rhythm without trying to change anything.
- To start the Three-Part Breath, breathe in and expand your belly like a balloon. On the exhale, expel all the air out through your nose and allow your belly to release. Repeat this deep belly breathing five times.
- For the second step of the Three-Part Breath, fill your belly first, then sip in a little more air through your nose and expand your rib cage. Exhale through your nose, allowing your ribs to soften first, and then release your belly. Repeat this sequence five times.
- For the final component of the three-part breath: breathe in and expand your belly; breathe in more and expand your ribs, then breathe in a little more through your nose to expand your chest and collarbones. Exhale, releasing your chest, then ribs, and finally your belly. Repeat this sequence five times. Once complete, allow your breathing to return to its natural state. Please remember to keep your breathing fluid, never restricting or holding your breath.
- Make your smart phone a supportive self-care tool. Prior to your trip, download your favourite music, movies*, shows*, guided meditation, books (e-book or audio) and more. There are great meditation and relaxation apps available as well. You can also use the notes app on your phone as a gratitude journal. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Meditation Apps: Headspace, Sattva, and Oprah and Deepak’s Meditation Experience.
- Movies, shows and music: iTunes or Netflix
- Books (e-book or audio): iTunes or Audible
*I recommend watching shows and/or movies that are funny, uplifting or inspirational. Drama, horror and thrillers can leave you feeling anxious, tense and unsettled. Your body and mind can react to what you see on the screen as if it were real. In order to stay grounded and relaxed, it’s best to avoid anything that could leave you feeling excess stress.
- Indulge in essential oils. Plug in a car diffuser and enjoy some uplifting, de-stressing or relaxing essential oils. Favourite oils for travel: lavender for relaxation, orange for a mood boost and peppermint for an energy boost. You can also put a drop or two of essential oil in a tissue and gently inhale the aroma. This works great anywhere, especially on a plane.
- Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is key to feeling your best. Now that you’re pregnant, it’s essential to drink plenty of water for you and your growing baby at all times, but even more so when traveling, as when we travel, we tend to get dehydrated. Getting extra H2O is especially important when you travel by plane because the cabin air is particularly dehydrating. So, drink plenty of water to keep your immune system strong and promote elimination (ward off uncomfortable constipation). Having to get up to go to the bathroom more often is good for you too, increasing blood circulation, especially in your legs.
These travel tips will support you throughout your pregnancy and beyond. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions–or a favourite travel tip you’d like to share! Wishing you safe and stress-free travels this summer!
Note: Be sure to check in with your doctor or caregiver before making any travel plans during your pregnancy.
Kristy S. Rodriguez, pre- and postnatal wellness expert and advocate, is the owner and founder of Pure Nurture, LLC, a business devoted to educating and inspiring women to nurture and nourish themselves through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. As a Holistic Health Coach and Registered Yoga Teacher specializing in pre- and postnatal wellness, Kristy works with individual clients, as well as teaching classes and workshops, both in person and online. Connect with her at [email protected] or on Instagram and Facebook.