Pregnant Road Tripping
Not as bad as it sounds! In fact, so many couples these days are taking vacations during the second trimester of pregnancy that this type trip has been dubbed the “baby-moon:” one last chance to go on vacation without having to worry about strollers and swim diapers. I certainly wasn’t on a romantic baby-moon (hard to do when you are single and traveling by yourself), but the twenty hour drive from Denver to Seattle turned out to be just as enjoyable as always, despite being five months preggers. I explained to some friends-with-kids that the trip was easy and the baby kicked less while on the road, which I’m taking as a sign that she likes sleeping in the car and will therefore be totally down for long road trips. They all laughed at me, sadly shaking their heads.
Here are some tips for a comfortable ride:
For me, food is always the most important consideration when road tripping. There was a time in my life when I refused to cross state lines unless there was a bag of peanut butter M&M’s melting on the dashboard. Coolers stocked with cans of Diet Pepsi have also been a must. My traveling companions have insisted on stopping at cheesy diners, classic road stops, and Taco Bell.
However, I did things a little bit differently this time, swapping out the Diet Pepsi cans for water bottles (freeze a couple bottles of drinking water the night before so you’ll have cold-ish water for day two) and forgoing fast food. Before the trip I cut up strawberries and veggies to snack on instead (keep radishes and carrots in Tupperware filled with water and the snacks will stay crunchy all day). For sandwiches at picnic stops, deli meats are a no-go. Something about fetus killing bacteria (apparently), so I went with the classic peanut butter and Doritos on wheat bread. Delicious.
Conventional wisdom/my doctor told me to stop every hour to get up and walk around. Okay, that would have been absolutely ridiculous. Stopping at every single rest stop in the five northwestern most states has never been high on my bucket list. I tried to force myself to stop at least every two hours, but when I’d go three or four, I didn’t seem to have suffered too much. Frequent stopping to walk around is recommended to so circulation in your legs isn’t restricted. Stretching and flexing in your seat can also help things.
Drowsy driving on the other hand should be avoided at all costs. Don’t book hotel rooms before your trip, with lofty plans on making it ten hours in one day. Play it by ear instead, stopping for the night whenever and wherever you are when you get tired.
I have to admit, I wasn’t really sold on the idea of camping, but I threw my sleeping bag and tent in my car anyways, just in case. When I pulled into Hardin, Montana I was exhausted, ready to be done driving, and not willing to spend $80 at a Super Eight. (Seriously. That was the going rate. I’ve paid less for a suite at Mandalay Bay.) I trudged over to the RV campground, paid $15, put up my tent, and had a surprisingly comfortable night. I’d set my tent up on a slight incline, and the uphill sleeping position resulted in my first night in three weeks without heartburn. Yay, camping! The drawback to pregnant camping is the annoying need to go to the bathroom at night.
And that’s it! Eat healthy, stop often, and don’t be afraid to camp. Pregnant road tripping is a piece of cake, even if you’re doing it by yourself.
**Update: At seven months pregnant, I’m just finishing up a two week road trip through the midwest where temperatures have been consistently above 100 degrees. Pregnant road tripping remains fun and doable even in summertime during the third trimester 🙂
Check out more resources on pregnant traveling on scoop.it.