Back when I thought I was pregnant with one baby, we were all set to go to Mallorca this September with all the family. I’d have been around 32 weeks so probably not the most comfortable, but I’d mostly be sleeping and eating chips and using a lilo to give my back a break, so I was excited.
When we found at 8 weeks that I was carrying twins though, the idea of travelling that late seemed slightly ludicrous. I mean sure, post-Brexit it would have been nice to try and wangle a couple of Spanish passports should I have given birth over there but really? The risk of NICU stays and repatriating tiny bubbas seemed way too scary for me to even contemplate going on the holiday. I know I’d have spent the lead up to the trip panicking about it, plus there would always be the risk that my consultant would say I couldn’t go anyway.
And that’s why we went to Mallorca last week! It seemed early to go on a “babymoon” – I was 14 weeks when we left, 15 when we came back – but actually it was pretty perfect timing: the sickness and comical exhaustion of the first trimester had faded and I was feeling the best I’d felt in ages. The weather wasn’t too hot, but it was still hot enough to lay out, and the resort and airports had a sense of early season calm which made everything that bit easier.
Dress – ASOS – £16 here.
There were a few things I did to prepare for the trip which are all common sense really, but I thought I’d list them below in case they’re remotely helpful. Obviously I’m just a random pregnant lady on the internet so I’m not claiming to be some sort of expert here 🙂
Anyway, here are some things to perhaps consider if booking a holiday abroad whilst pregnant…
1. Choose a destination that makes sense.
Long haul flights are a-ok in pregnancy (up until the standard cut off points!) but it’s up to you to decide how much travelling you want to do to get to your destination. It can be hard if booking the trip far in advance to guess how you’ll be feeling – I seem to change by the day – but I knew I didn’t want to fly more than a couple of hours. I get aggy just sitting in the car for half an hour at the moment!
Health considerations are important too, Zika isn’t the headline grabbing disease it was last year but the risk is still widespread and pregnant women (even women trying to conceive) are still not advised to travel to a whole host of countries. Always check the latest government advice. For Zika specifically, you can find it here. Same goes for countries that require vaccinations or malaria treatment before travel, it’s worth doing your research, speaking to your GP and weighing up if the holiday is a good idea.
2. Get travel insurance and take your EHIC card if travelling in Europe.
It’s always worth having travel insurance and single trip policies can be so cheap these days (we’re talking a tenner) that to travel without insurance seems a bit mad to me. I checked with our insurers whether or not we had to inform them that I was pregnant (and if multiple pregnancies were viewed any differently) and they said I hadn’t needed to tell them, but for the sake of a phone call it’s worth checking as different insurers will have different policies. I took down the relevant emergency numbers so that if we had needed to contact them, my policy details and contact info was already stored on my phone. Insurance isn’t just about medical cover abroad of course, if you can cover the holiday when booking it you should be able to get the peace of mind that you’ll get your money back if you do need to cancel it.
I also took my EHIC card on the trip, the E111 replacement, which entitles you to access state-offered healthcare in Switzerland and all European Economic Area countries. It’s worth pointing out that these cards are FREE, but lots of scummy websites will charge you for them. Use the NHS link to get your free one and to learn more about what it entitles you to.
3. Check with your airline what their pregnancy restrictions are.
Some will want a ‘fit to fly’ letter, others won’t give two hoots, cut off points for travel may vary (and then vary again depending on singleton or multiple pregnancy) and of course it’s also about flying home too, so don’t just calculate how far along you’ll be when flying out. A quick phone call or website check should answer any questions.
4. Follow flight safety advice.
It’s the usual stuff: move about, drink water, wear your seatbelt under your bump. I wore compression flight socks which was probably/definitely overkill for a short-haul flight but I was treated for a suspected DVT in the first trimester (NOT MUCH FUN) and so I figured there was no harm in being cautious. For longer flights you would be advised to wear them.
5. Check with your midwife.
This is obvious of course, but if you have any concerns just ask your midwife. Early in the pregnancy travel is unlikely to matter at all, but later on you may be asked to see the GP/midwives for a check before you travel.
6. Take a copy of your notes if travelling later in pregnancy.
I didn’t do this as I was travelling so early, but I did take a copy of my latest scan results (not the pictures!) which was on headed paper with the official due date and key measurements for each bub.
7. Know how to say “I’m pregnant!” in the language of your destination. Research if there’s a hospital nearby.
This is more if you’re paranoid like I am (I’m realising this whole blog post is probably making me look quite paranoid?!) but one of the reasons I wanted to go to Mallorca was that ST speaks the language and I know the hospitals are good. I really didn’t want to stay in the middle of nowhere in case there had been any problems and I know I’d have worried about this more if I was further along in the pregnancy. Also, it’s fun to point at your tummy and shout “gemelos!”. (Okay that’s Spanish not Catalan…and it – rather relevantly – sounds like a haemorroid treatment…but I enjoyed saying it!).
8. Take your own medicines.
Again, maybe this seems like overkill but if you’re a Gaviscon fiend or worried about travellers diarrhoea or any of that good stuff, I’d always opt to buy these things in the UK and take them in the suitcase – mostly because you can then read all the info in English and check with the pharmacist with ease if you have any questions.
9. Pack snacks.
By no means essential, but if your main pregnancy trait is CONSTANT RAVENOUS HUNGER then it might be worth lobbing some cereal bars in your case or another “healthy-ish” snack. I forgot to do this and I think my twins are now 80% salted peanuts and Kit-Kats. Sorry, babies.
10. DRINK ALL THE WATER.
You are allowed the water from the mini bar. You are allowed the water at the expensive corner shop. You are allowed to make your other half carry your two litre bottle of water round the market.
11. Be aware of the sun and that your skin may react differently.
I was never expecting to bake myself in the sun all day like an oiled up sausage, but I was taken aback by just how sensitive my skin was in the sun compared to usual. I wore SPF50 on my face, neck, hands and arms (for some reason my hands wanted to burn the whole time? I think maybe because I was washing them so often thanks to my need to wee every 20 minutes) and then I wore SPF30 everywhere else and topped up regularly. I could lay in the full sun for half an hour before I got angsty but generally I made friends with the brolly. Maaaaaan I never thought I’d be the girl who’d want the brolly. IN THE AFTERNOONS I HAD TWO BROLLIES.
12. Take it easy.
The best thing about our holiday was that we didn’t put any pressure on ourselves. Some pregnant women will be able to do loads on hols (srsly women, you rock!) but I still had really bad headaches on the holiday and needed a sleep every day. My bump was uncomfortable too and my enthusiasm for walking about had around a half an hour limit. That being said, we still had a genuinely awesome time because all we had on the agenda was read/eat/sleep/sunbathe/chat about baby names.
13. Try not to see it as your “last ever holiday”.
Nothing saps the fun out of a two hour game of cards on the beach like a woeful “WE WILL NEVER DO THIS AGAIN” pity party. We will all holiday again. Yes, it will be different, yes our bags will be considerably heavier (handbags, nappy bags, eye bags, saddle bags!) but holidays with children in tow will just be a new adventure. And I’ve heard that the hotel kids clubs are really good these days, right? RIGHT?! 😉
Swimsuit – M&S – £29.50 here.
I’ve probably missed some obvious things but the overriding advice is to just go and enjoy it. YOU DESERVE IT! You’re growing a baby for goodness sake, maybe two or three!
And just know that when you’ll come back you’ll want another holiday immediately. I wonder if twins means you can wangle two babymoons?!