16 Tips for Traveling While Pregnant 

I’ve taken 12+ hour road trips while pregnant, and flown on a cross-country flight while pregnant.

I wouldn’t recommend doing either, but traveling while pregnant is not always avoidable, and sometimes can be a nice break if you do it right. With a few extra preparations and manageable expectations, you can travel (somewhat) comfortably while pregnant.

Here are 16 tips for traveling by car or plane during pregnancy.

By Car

  1. Factor in several stops. Your bladder isn’t going to slow down for your road trip, so add some time to your ETA to factor in a few bathroom and stretching breaks.
  2. Wear very loose, comfortable clothing. Tight clothing is your enemy on a road trip (for any person, but especially those who are pregnant). Wear loose pants with a loose waist band (I personally would opt for draw-string rather than elastic so you can loosen it up if you want).
  3. Leave space for stretching out. Make sure you sit in the car as you pack to make sure you have plenty of leg room and reclining room. Consolidate and leave gear behind if you must, because you won’t last very long if you’re cramped and uncomfortable.
  4. Pack craving snacks. Bring a cooler stocked with your favorite snacks and drinks. Try to avoid too much caffeine so that you can rest and avoid unnecessary bathroom stops.
  5. Bring your body pillow. Yes, it will take up a lot of room, but you will be so glad you did when you don’t have to rest your head against the window to sleep.
  6. Anticipate car sickness. Even if you don’t have morning (afternoon, evening, night, etc.) sickness, you could still become nauseous from the motion of the car. Pack some nausea meds that are safe during pregnancy just in case.
  7. Drink a lot of water. Cars can get hot and stuffy, and it’s easy to skip the water in favor of sugary and caffeinated drinks on road trips. But during pregnancy your body requires a lot of water, so make this a priority.
  8. Wear your seatbelt. As uncomfortable as it may be, you must keep your seatbelt on and worn appropriately at all times.

By Plane

  1. Look into an easy security check option. Many airports have express security lines that don’t require the same protocol as standard security, making it much easier for passengers to get through quickly and comfortably.
  2. Check as much luggage as possible. While it may sound like a good idea to take as much as you can in carry-ons and personal items to avoid baggage fees, that extra $25 is a small price to pay to avoid lugging a lot of heavy bags around while pregnant.
  3. Wear slip on shoes. If going through security in an express lane is not an option, wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off, as bending over isn’t exactly easy when you’re in your third trimester.
  4. If your seats aren’t assigned, talk to someone at the gate immediately to try to get a comfortable seat on an empty row or next to an empty seat. You will want the extra room and vacancy in case you need to make frequent trips to the bathroom.
  5. Stock up on snacks beforehand. You are allowed to bring food through security, so pack your favorite snacks before you get to the airport so you can avoid airport food prices and not have to rely on airplane pretzels for nourishment.
  6. Bring a sleep mask for long flights. Sleeping on flights is not easy, but if you bring a sleep mask you are better able to block out your neighbors reading light or iPad screen.
  7. Bring your own pillow (or two). Many airplanes only have small lumpy pillows, so bring your own. They make these awesome new pillow wedges that strap on to the seat in front of you so you can lean forward into the pillow and avoid neck-flopping, so I’d consider one of those.
  8. Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Much like the road trip situation, airplanes require a lot of sitting and waiting in a tight space. Loose clothing is your friend on airplanes, but I would suggest wearing layers because airplanes can be very stuffy, but my feet always seem to be cold on airplanes. Be prepared for both.
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How You Can Help a New Mom

Adapting to life with a new baby can be difficult for parents, especially for new mothers as they also deal with recovery from childbirth. With all of the changes and added responsibility, it’s important that their “village” step up and help out wherever they can. Whether you’re a grandparent, sibling, cousin, neighbor, fellow church member, co-worker, or longtime friend of a new mom, any act of service or kindness you can show her will be much appreciated and strengthen your relationship.

Here are some ways you can help a new mom.

Help them sleep

Unfortunately there is an ironic paradigm that occurs after childbirth: babies don’t often sleep through the night or have good sleep habits at all, but new moms need extra rest to recover from delivery.  The term “mombie” has been coined to describe new moms dealing with this paradigm. But this is where her tribe can save the day. Offer to come over for an afternoon and take care of the baby while she sleeps. Change the baby for her, put the baby down for tummy time, if possible feed the baby a bottle, etc. so mom can get rest. This might be the most helpful thing you can do for a new mom.

Get the groceries

This is something you can help with before the baby is born, too. Getting to the grocery store is going to be tricky for a few weeks at least, so offer to pick up at least the essentials for mom in the week after the baby arrives. With several grocery stores offering pick-up service, you can even have mom do her grocery shopping online and then go pick it up for her to make sure she gets everything she wants. She needs to keep her energy and health up, so make sure her fridge and cupboards are stocked for when she needs a snack.

Clean the house

Again, recovery and sleep deprivation will make it hard for mom to take care of her usual responsibilities. Especially more intensive chores like vacuuming and scrubbing floors will be difficult while her body heals. Offer to come over once or twice a week for a month or so to help with basic housekeeping. Offering to do the dishes, laundry, clean the floors (especially), and scrub the tubs and showers will be so appreciated.

Clean the car

If it’s hard for mom to clean her house, you can bet the car isn’t a priority. And with another family member to add clutter, mom’s car could probably benefit from a good clean-out. Offer to clear it out, vacuum it up, and make it shine so she can travel in comfort (at least for a little while).

Walk/play with the dog

Fur babies don’t often make the top of the priority list, either, when a new baby comes home. But it’s important that they don’t develop jealousy issues and behavioral problems from a sudden lack of attention replaced by the baby. Offer to come over to walk or play with the dog to keep him/her content. Bathing and grooming the dog would also be very helpful to help keep the home clean and prevent the new baby from being exposed to unnecessary dirt or allergens.

Carpool for her other kids

For a while, the other kids in the family will also have to cater and adapt to the new baby, and this can be difficult for them. Having to miss practices, recitals, play dates, or other social events can be hard on a kid, and helping them out helps mom out a lot. Offer to have them over to play, to drop them off or pick them up from school or another activity.

We all need our support system to get through hard or changing times of our lives, and having a baby is a major life event that can be made easier by the support of a good tribe. Don’t hesitate to reach out to any new mom you know and offer help. Even if she’s reluctant, she will later thank you endlessly for being there in her time of need.

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8 Unique Baby Shower Gifts

So you’re invited to a baby shower, but you’re in a little bit of a baby shower gift rut. Have no fear! We’re here to help you out. Below are eight unique baby shower gifts, with options that work with every budget. Let’s get started…

1. Professional photography session 
Since it can be a bit pricey, a professional photography session is a great option for a group gift. Purchase a session from a local photographer (bonus points if you already know her favorite) to capture her baby’s first year of life, including newborn photos, six-month photos and one-year-old photos.

2. Photo book gift card
If a photographer isn’t in your budget, another unique gift idea is a photo book gift card. Chatbooks is a great service, because it makes the process of creating photo books quick and seamless.

3. Instant camera and film
Isn’t it great that instant cameras have made a comeback? My sister brought her Fujifilm INSTAX camera to the hospital when she delivered, and captured some beautiful images of her child right after birth. She continues to document her daughter in this way, and showcases the images in a changeable photo display, similar to this.

4. Meal delivery service
Dinner prep can be stressful, especially right after having a baby. To help alleviate this stress for the new mama and her partner, you can purchase a meal service for a month or two. Green Chef is a wonderful option that features an organic, diverse menu. Alternatively, if you’d rather make meals yourself, and know others that would like to do the same, online scheduling services like Meal Train can also be effective. That way, you can sign up for slots, and the gift recipient will be able to see when meals are coming in.

5. Babysitting and/or cleaning coupons 
Service-oriented gifts make a big impact, and are a great option if you have a limited budget. Offering babysitting services for a few date nights would be much appreciated, and who wouldn’t want to have a little help cleaning the house?

6. Postpartum doula service
Helping to secure a postpartum doula could be a good idea for any recovering mama, but especially one who had a C-section or otherwise difficult delivery. Because a gift like this involves hiring a caretaker, it might be a good idea to consult the intended mama and her partner before you decide to go this route.

7. Stroller caddy 
Whether it’s to hold a baby bottle or a caffeinated beverage for the new mama, a stroller caddy is a must-have. So if you know what drinks or treats she likes, think about adding a few bonus items inside the caddy for her to discover when she opens it.

8. Postpartum survival items 
Whether it’s perineal or breast pads, or an organic postpartum recovery kit, think of getting something that helps mama feel better after she has baby. Also, she probably wouldn’t be mad if you included a little Ben & Jerry’s on the side.

What are your favorite unique baby showers gifts to give/receive?

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5 Ways to “Beat the Heat” During a Summer Pregnancy

The sun is shining, and the humidity is humidifying. And your belly’s getting larger by the day. While summer can be an enjoyable and relaxing time, it can also create difficulties during pregnancy. Here are five ways to “beat the heat” during a summer pregnancy:

1. Stay hydrated. 
This should be a no-brainer, but staying hydrated is vital. And making sure you’re getting enough fluids is tougher in the summer. Typically, pregnant women should drink about ten cups of fluids per day, but in the summer, you need to add more to compensate for the amount you sweat out. So plan on adding a couple more cups per hour you’re outside. Avoid diuretics like caffeinated sodas, and mix it up with a fun mocktail or smoothie.

2. Lather on the SPF.
Because pregnant women are more apt to sunburn, midday sun should be avoided. Whenever you are outside, use a high SPF sunscreen. The hormones that are generated during pregnancy can cause melasma, which can often be permanent, so make sure to also wear hats and protect your chest area, as your face and chest are most prone to be affected.

3. Elevate those feet. 
The heat makes the swelling in your feet and legs worse, so try to keep them up whenever you’re sitting, even at work. Wear comfortable, roomy shoes. Don’t be afraid to size up if needed. Try keeping your legs elevated while sleeping by placing a rolled up blanket or pillow under your mattress at the foot of the bed.

4. Wear light, breathable clothing. 
During the summer months, aim to wear loose, breathable clothes in lighter colors. Avoid any clothes that constrict your belly, as this cause can excessive sweating and skin irritation. Light, diaphanous sun dresses are always a safe bet, as are linens and lightweight cottons.

5. Take care of your skin. 
We’ve already mentioned wearing sunscreen, but it’s important to take care of your skin when you’re inside, too. Air conditioning and arid climates can severely dry out your skin, and the fact that it’s already stretched to the limit doesn’t help. Invest in a good body oil or cream and a moisturizing body wash, and don’t underestimate the power of a soothing oatmeal bath. Consult your doctor if you develop a heat rash or any other skin malady that causes you discomfort, as there may be prescriptions available to help.

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