Pregnant Travelling: Six Things I Learned

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We’re back from Rome. My feet are killing me. Related to that, Stephenie’s feet are killing her more. We decided to try and do a trip somewhere before the baby was born in order to see a little of the world before our world changes dramatically. Whereas this was, in many ways, a great idea, there was one enormous factor that could ruin the trip: the fact that my wife is almost 8 months pregnant.

Now for those of you out there who are worried that my wife shouldn’t be flying: we checked with our doctor ahead of time and were given the go ahead. Each flight we took was only a couple of hours also, so the actual flying wasn’t too rigorous for her.

Anyways, along with all of the awesome history we got to relive in Rome, we learned some lessons about travelling and being pregnant:

1. First of all, you do a lot of this:

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As badly as I wanted to get through everything and onto the next thing as quickly as possible – so that our trip was maximized – I found that being a good husband also meant taking breaks when we needed to take breaks. So, we took as many as we needed.

2. Italians lose their minds over pregnancy.

Every bus, train, and metro we got on while in Italy was utterly packed. I almost never got a seat. On the other hand, my wife was offered one every single time. Usually, within about three seconds someone would stand up and insist that she take their seat. This included women advanced in years. As hard as it my be to take seat of someone your grandma’s age, Italians are hard to say no to.

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3. Pregnancy opens up secret passage ways.

The Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica are connected by a small door in the far corner of the Sistine Chapel. For many, the tour of the Vatican Museum ends at the Chapel and they are ushered a very long way to the exit of the museum. If they want to go see St Peter’s Basilica, they are required to walk around Vatican City (10-15 minutes or 25 minutes if your are going at pregnancy speed) and then wait in a very long line to see the inside of the church. When we approached the secret door – which we only knew about due to Rick Steves – the guard stopped us and told us that this door is only for those who paid for a tour. I quickly placed my hand on Stephenie’s stomach and like magic we were let through to the shortcut. It probably saved us 30 minutes of walking and another 20 minutes (or maybe more) of waiting in line.

Here is what the line looked like:

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4. Be prepared for eating.

Our largest expense for the week was probably food. Most pregnant women will end up having either aversions to or cravings for food. In Stephenie’s case, it is all aversions. On top of this, there are all kinds of things that pregnant women aren’t supposed to eat. Near the top of this list are soft cheeses and deli meats – and we were in Italy. I did not plan well for our meals – forgetting to take into account dietary restrictions and aversions – so we ended up eating out and spending way too much money. It was fun, but expensive.

5. Buy one of these:

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This is a sort of weight belt for pregnant women’s stomachs. Yes, it looks ridiculous (my wife didn’t like the term “robopregnant”) but it helps a lot. We walked a ton every single day and this mitigated how tired my wife would get and helped limit how many breaks we had to take.

6. Get a note from your doctor so you can fly

It was 5am and we were in the terminal waiting to take a shuttle to our plane. As they checked boarding passes and passports they stopped my wife telling her that she was not permitted to board the plane because clearly she was full-term. We hadn’t been stopped on the way here and suddenly were faced with the terrible prospect of not being able to go home (before the sun had even risen). I began to argue with the attendent – which isn’t always the best idea at an airport – but I wasn’t getting anywhere. Just then, and older gentleman leaned over and began to rapidly speak  Italian in Stephenie’s ear. She didn’t understand what he was saying, but his tone and demeanor helped. She quickly said to the desk attendent, “I’m only six months pregnant,” – a bit of a stretch – and immediately the attendent handed back our stuff and lead us to the shuttle with a “have a great flight.” If we had a letter from our doctor, this all could have been avoided though, so if you are travelling and showing at all, definitely worth the time to pick one up just in case.

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