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Nothing Stops a True Nomad – Why Pregnant Women Should Travel
They say that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. And that’s exactly what Danielle Caldron did, literally. When we heard about her story it made us realize how some people are nomads at heart.
It’s easy enough for a single traveler to bounce around from country to country with nothing but a backpack, but when you start packing on the pounds from more awkward angles your perspective and mobility can quickly change.
We admire Danielle’s persistence to keep traveling despite being pregnant. Especially considering the fact that we recently gave birth to a little nomad this year, and only took a couple city breaks during the pregnancy.
Here is Danielle’s motivating story with some great tips:
I was walking up the desert-like slope of Mount Gareja surrounding the rock-hewn monastery complex in Eastern Georgia when I encountered two other travelers ambling down the mountain. They cheerfully called out to my traveling companion and me saying “it’s hard going, isn’t it?” I smiled and replied, “Yeah, especially if you are five months pregnant”. One of the female travelers raised her eyebrows and said, “I think your mum may have something to say about that”.
I just shrugged and set my sights on reaching the top.
This wasn’t the first time, nor would it be the last time, that someone would attempt to limit what my pregnant body could do. When I was two months along, my doctor told me that walking on a treadmill was not advisable. I felt deflated and frustrated. Was this what pregnancy was supposed to be like? Would this mean that I would be unable to travel throughout the nine months?
When my partner and I decided to have a baby, I knew my life would change dramatically, but I didn’t expect my life to stop. I had pre-arranged a trip to Africa by overland truck that was supposed to leave in a few weeks time. Now I was unsure if I should go. I started to have this sinking feeling that pregnancy was a prison sentence.
Three weeks later I found myself standing on the summit of Table Mountain. I realized that day that pregnancy is not a handicap. I stubbornly clung to this mantra throughout the nine months. I was determined to make the most of this time in my life.
By the time I traveled to Georgia, I was already a veteran pregnant traveler. Georgia became the seventh country that I visited during the first five months of my pregnancy.
The more that I traveled, the more I began to embrace my pregnant traveling self.
Over time, I started to see that there are, in fact, many benefits to traveling while pregnant. Traveling with your bump can break down cultural barriers.
When people found out that I was expecting a child, conversations transcended the usual travel dialogue about where one comes from into something more meaningful. Women want to talk about motherhood. The growing bump around your midsection makes you more approachable and conversations flow more naturally.
People also dote on you.
It is almost a guarantee that you will be alleviated from cumbersome tasks of lifting heavy luggage up and down flights of stairs, and locals will certainly be sympathetic to a mother’s growing appetite. This is a perfect opportunity for people to showcase their local cuisine and offer you advice for which food will make the baby healthy and strong. Most importantly, this is the perfect time to bond with your baby. You are both making the journey together.
Set aside some time to visit a local market and haggle over a gift for your baby. This will make the experience more memorable.
There are, of course, a few caveats to keep in mind when making the decision to travel while pregnant. Here are some basic tips for expecting mothers to follow:
Know your limitations
You are your own best judge of what you are capable of. For a female traveler who is accustomed to multiday treks, it is likely feasible to go on day hikes, but should you tackle Everest? Probably not.
Pack light and sensibly
It may be time to temporarily retire the travel backpack in favor of something more practical. Any kind of travel bag with wheels is preferable to minimize lifting.
If you are planning on doing a heavy amount of walking, good, comfortable shoes are essential. Consider bringing loose fitting clothes that have room for you to grow, particularly if you are traveling for two weeks or longer during the second or third trimester.
Be aware of flight regulations
All airlines have regulations guidelines travel for pregnant travelers. This is most important to note during the third trimester where you may be asked to provide a medical certificate from your doctor. This varies according to airline, so it is best to contact the airline before you travel.
Be prepared for the unexpected
One of the most exciting aspects of travel is finding yourself in unpredictable situations. However, this may not always work to your benefit. Make sure to have plenty of healthy snacks and water with you especially if you are undertaking long road journeys.
Relax and enjoy it:
While you may not be able to go skydiving and bungee-jumping, there are plenty of activities that you can do, but pace yourself. Take plenty of breaks if you are getting tired. You will make it up that mountain. It just may take a bit longer.
Danielle Caldron works and lives in Doha,Qatar. She has lived in seven different countries and travelled to fifty-five. She laces up her trekking shoes as frequently as possible, particularly to explore less-trodden destinations in Asia and Africa. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.