From treading across terminals with swollen feet to cravings that can’t be met by rest area food courts, traveling while pregnant can bring its fair share of hurdles. After planning your travel theme baby shower, you might be in the mood to travel and you have every right to indulge it—baby, no baby, or baby-to-be.
Whether you’re in the early stages of planning or just looking ahead to a third-trimester voyage, there are some important factors to account for before hitting the road with a little one in-utero.
In this guide, we’ll cover pregnancy travel airline regulations, packing strategies, and general pregnancy travel tips so you can ensure it’s as rewarding as the adventure you’re about to embark on with your new baby. We will also list some of the most essential must haves for new moms and expecting moms to make traveling a seamless experience, all starting with functional and stylish baby travel bags.
Safe Travel During Pregnancy By Trimester
If you’ve been doting on your bun in the oven since you first found out you were pregnant, you may be wondering: can you travel when pregnant?
In most cases, yes—just because you’re expecting doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your yen for travel!
That said, expert recommendations depend on how far along you are. According to the American Pregnancy Association, most expectant mothers are generally safe to travel, provided their OBGYN or healthcare provider has cleared them of any complications.1 That said, there are some considerations to make depending on which trimester you’ll be getting out of town.
For most pregnant women, traveling in your first trimester is safe, regardless of whether it’s air travel or travel by car.2 That said, the most important pregnancy symptom to consider is morning sickness. To ease the mind (if not the stomach), aim for an aisle seat during air travel or rail travel—and make frequent stops at rest areas if you’re in for a road trip.
Even though you’re farther along, many people consider the second trimester to be one of the best times for travel.
Why? Because by now, most pregnant women are past the morning sickness bump (pun intended), but mobility may not be as cumbersome as it can be in trimester #3. At this stage, your primary consideration may just be your bladder—yet another reason to map your restroom access before hitting the road!
Once you’re sliding into the home stretch of your third trimester, some airlines’ travel regulations can become a little more complicated. Long-distance travel of any kind—whether by air, land, or sea—is often restricted late in pregnancy due to a number of factors, including:3
- Increased risk of blood clots
- Distance from your healthcare provider
- Chances of going into labor without access to proper medical care
If you do need to travel, it’s always wise to consult your airline’s guidelines before heading to the airport. However, if you can afford a trip cancellation, do so—traveling after your eighth month is generally a no-go. Plus, what better excuse to skip that dry work conference you didn’t want to attend anyway?
If you are having to reschedule your trip, consider going with your new baby! But when can you travel with a baby? This is an important question that you should know the answer to so you can have a safe and exciting trip when the day arrives.
How To Stay Comfortable When Traveling While Pregnant
Taking steps to stay comfortable, calm, and collected is always a crucial self-care tactic when traveling—but when you’re an expectant mother, it becomes indispensable.
Depending on how far along you are and what symptoms you’re contending with, pregnancy and travel can be a breeze or require a little extra effort. Fortunately, three travel tips can help you maximize your comfort no matter your car, train, or flight duration.
Tip #1: Plan Your Travel Wardrobe
Every jet-setting mama-to-be wants to look polished before bidding bon voyage—but when you’re an expectant mother, you should never have to compromise comfort for style!
When selecting your traveling-while-pregnant ensemble, here are some guidelines we swear by:
- Tops – One word: layers. Depending on your destination, you may be expecting warmer weather when you arrive. But if you’re traveling by air, remember cabins can be chilly, so be sure to stash a sweater or shawl in your carry-on luggage to stay cozy. As a pregnant woman, don’t be shy about asking a steward to provide you with an extra blanket if you need it!
- Bottoms – When it comes to your bottoms, select a pair you’d wear while lounging at home. Whether you’re partial to over-the-belly support or loose and breezy wide-leg trousers, choosing the pants you wear on lazy Sunday ensures you’ll be cozy for that long flight duration or drive.
As for footwear, opt for sneakers, slippers, and slides with generous, plush insoles to keep your feet cozy on the plane. If you’re dealing with sore or swollen feet and ankles, stash a soft pair of socks in your bag to change into once you’ve made it to your seat.
Tip #2: Pack For Comfort
As exhilarating as travel can be, it can also make the comforts of your home feel a little too far away. However, there are ways to bring along your creature comforts even if you can’t be cuddled up on the couch with a heating pad and a cup of cocoa.
Here are a few essentials to make you feel as cozy as can be while you’re on the road:
- All-in-one Comfort Kit
- Neck pillow
- Digestion-soothing teas like chamomile and peppermint (especially for those morning flights!)
- Craving-ready snacks
- Blackout eye mask
- Hot Mess Wipes
- Compression socks
Tip #3: Bring Along Kid-Friendly Entertainment
When you’re pregnant and traveling with little ones, keeping the kiddos’ favorite toys, games, and plushies on hand helps them—and you—stay calm and engaged when their day-to-day routine is suspended.
These four strategies can help them feel included and you feel at ease, even as plans are in motion:
- Let them pick out their favorites – Before it’s travel day, have your little one pick out the books, games, and stuffed animals they want to bring on the trip. You can even treat them to a pint-sized suitcase to make them feel included in the travel planning process. For older tots (and depending on your screen time stance), consider bringing a tablet and headphones so you can take a break when you need it.
- Select travel accessories for organization – Picking out your luggage can be a tremendous opportunity to save space, time, and the headaches that can come with travel. If it’s time to re-up your suitcase or bag game, invest in products that have organization built into their design such as our collection of diaper bags.
Our vote for mamas-to-be? A durable, hands-free Backpack Tote like the one in our ELSA collection, complete with plenty of pockets and to hold all the essentials for the littles (and for you).
- Easy-to-spot luggage – Your luggage game doesn’t end with excellent storage options. Coordinating the family’s travel bags by choosing eye-catching patterns can make them easy to spot at baggage claim and beyond. As a bonus, you’ll feel like the most stylish woman at the airport—even before a dreaded red-eye flight.
- Space-saving essentials – Just because a travel bag is small doesn’t mean it isn’t mighty! The ELSA Changing Clutch can be a game-changer for moms whose kids are still in diapers or pull-ups. This design slips right into your tote undetected, absorbing minimal space—a lifesaver if your bundle ever needs a change in a crowded restroom.
3 Luggage Essentials For Traveling When Pregnant
Wondering what you need to pack all your pregnant-lady traveling essentials?
Three non-negotiables help you keep it simple with sleek pieces that hold everything you need for a no-fuss, pregnancy-ready travel experience:
1. Hold-It-All Suitcase
If there’s one thing every mom-to-be knows, it’s to stay far away from lifting anything heavier than 30 lbs. With a rolling suitcase, you can fit everything you need for your excursion without worrying about carrying that weight.
If you’re traveling light, a carry-on roller will do the trick (just ask a flight attendant for help with the overhead bin). As for heavy-duty packing, large check-in luggage will hold everything you need and then some—just leave the heavy lifting to the baggage belt!
2. Chic Tote
Perfect for as a carry-on or carry-all, a tote bag like the ELSA Tote Bag will hold self-care necessities from sheet masks to belly balm. Compartments for your wallet, passport, and phone help you find exactly what you need when you need it—as well as ample space for a diaper bag organizer, perfect for storing your baby essentials after your little one has finally landed.
3. Streamlined Backpack
This stylish backpack is made to carry on your en-route creature comforts. Bulkier and hard-to-pack items like neck pillows, comfy slippers, or baby books store impeccably in an Elsa Backpack Tote.
Wherever you’re headed, your luggage is what guarantees you’ll have the space to hold space for yourself while you’re far from home. The better your travel accouterments can support you at this stage of your motherhood journey, the more you’ll be able to savor each new experience you encounter along the way.
Take Your Precious Cargo on the Road with BÉIS
Pregnancy and traveling aren’t mutually exclusive, and (in most cases) the joys of impending motherhood need not slow you down when it comes to satiating your taste for wanderlust.
If you’re a traveler at heart, get ready for your next journey—and for your baby—with BÉIS. The ELSA Collaboration was made for mamas-to-be, with snack stash-ready totes, baby changing clutches, and baby slings designed to make a statement and motherhood a whole lot easier.
Pregnant travelers, we get it: there’s a mid-day dance party happening in your belly, and you’re feeling the sudden need for chili cheese fries and a milkshake. Both before your baby and after, shop BÉIS to satisfy your appetite for style, travel, and staying on top of motherhood, wherever it takes you.
- “Travel During Pregnancy.” American Pregnancy Association. https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/is-it-safe/travel-during-pregnancy/
- “Is it safe to fly during pregnancy?” Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-answers/air-travel-during-pregnancy/faq-20058087
- “Traveling While Pregnant or Breastfeeding.” Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/traveling-while-pregnant-or-breastfeeding