Five Things Every Pregnant Woman Should Know

Some may look at you like you’re crazy pants when you say you plan to travel while pregnant. You need to rest, they say. But I say go!  Go and see something new. Go and hold hands with your partner under the moon of different sky. Go and see some of the magical world you plan to bring a child into. Go, woman! Go!* But before you do, read this:

1. No one cares about your water intake as much as you.

So it’s up to you to make sure you get enough. You will be offered coffee, tea, wine or whatever the locals are drinking. But what you really need is water. It’s unlikely that anyone is going to bend over backward to put a glass of plain ol’ water in your hand. So ask for it. And no, the one small cup of water your flight attendant will offer you every three hours isn’t going to cut it. Even if you’re showing, she won’t offer you an extra cup, so ask for one.

The average woman needs eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day. Pregnant women need 10-13 glasses a day. That means you’re drinking continuously and your pee is clear and pale. This takes diligence, even when you’re at home so when you’re abroad, plan ahead.

When you arrive at your destination, purchase a pack of waters to keep in the hotel room. Pack a couple for the morning, then buy more as the day goes on. When you come across a filtered water tap, fill up. Staying hydrated keeps your energy up and the headaches at bay.

Speaking of headaches…

2. Acetaminophen may not be called acetaminophen in other countries.

You’re pregnant and well aware that you are to steer clear of ibuprofen and aspirin. So like the ready-for-anything lady you are,  you’ve packed a bottle of acetaminophen (commonly known as Tylenol) for your trip.

But then your husband (lover, wife, partner, friend) gets hit with a headache…and then a hangover…and then muscle soreness…and then your bottle is empty. With one of those famous pregnant lady brain crushers coming on, you dash to the nearest pharmacy only to find absolutely nothing labeled as acetaminophen. That’s because acetaminophen is not called acetaminophen in Israel (or Europe, or Australia). It’s called paracetamol. I learned this from a very kind pharmacist who also translated the dosage for me. But had I gone to a smaller drug store with no available pharmacist, I would have been out of luck.

Be a more ready-for-anything lady than I and either pack a second bottle or find out ahead of time what drugs are safe for you and baby in whatever corner of the world you may be visiting.

3. Green juice is virtually nonexistent in some parts of the world.

Or fruit, or vegetarian protein, or tofu, or wild caught fish, or (fill in the blank). Whatever it is that you need to stay balanced and feel healthy and strong may not be readily available wherever you are traveling. So plan ahead. This may mean packing protein bars or green vegetable powder that can be mixed with water for a quick “green juice” on the go. Or it may mean picking up some fresh fruit from the vender you happen to walk by in the morning because you may not come across fruit again for the rest of the day. Front load protein and fresh produce in the first half of the day because you can’t necessarily count on a big healthy nicoise salad for dinner.

Go explore!

4. Finding a potty could be a problem.

This seems obvious, right? It is. But my doctor still mentioned it before we departed. And for a good reason. A day traipsing around a new city as a tourist is unpredictable. Unlike an average day in your home town, you may wake up in the morning without the slightest clue as to where you’ll be having lunch and dinner. You may find yourself out and about for hours on end with no potty to be found. And if you’re drinking as much as you’re supposed to be, this could be a problem.

Every time you see a restroom, USE IT! Even if you think you don’t have to go. Even if you think there will be one at your next destination. Even if you only squeeze out a trickle. Go when you can. It’s not a bad idea to keep a travel pack of tissues in your purse, as well. You never know when you’re going to need them.

5. Telling people you’re pregnant does not mean you’re high maintenance. It means you’re pregnant.

When I was in my first trimester and feeling really crappy, I wanted to wear a T-shirt that read: I’m sorry. I’m pregnant. Just when you need the most babying, the most chivalry, and the most special attention, you look just like you did before – a perfectly competent and independent woman.

Then I started to show and suddenly I felt shy about telling strangers that I was pregnant. Sharing that information felt needy. And since I was feeling better, I wanted to present my best self to the world – my strong, independent self.

But the truth is, when you are pregnant, you do have certain needs. What you have to remember is that they aren’t actually your needs. They are the needs of your baby. And if your baby were out of your body,  you wouldn’t hesitate to make a fuss or be a little demanding in order to meet his needs. So why hesitate now?

When you need more water, ask for it. When you need to stop and rest, sit down. When you need to use the restroom, find one. No need to apologize. Just do it.

Have you traveled while pregnant? Do you have tips to add?  Please share your experience in the comment section below. I’d love to hear about it.

Month 4 - Israel

*This advice does not apply to at-risk pregnancies or women dealing with morning-noon-and-night sickness. Always consult your doctor before making big travel plans.

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