Pregnant and Traveling: London at 7 months (How’d it go?)

Pregnancy Travel by Natalie Parker (1)

I wrote earlier about booking a business trip to London for when I was 7 months pregnant.  Check out that post for everything I considered when booking.

How’d it go?

It was fabulous.  My pregnancy was not an issue during the trip and I’m so glad we went.  I cannot stress how happy I am that I made plans that I could cancel because it opened the door for me to go if I felt fine.  I felt great!

No comfort issues at all during the flights.  At that point in the pregnancy, sleeping sitting up was honestly more comfortable than lying down (I was still getting used to having to sleep on my side at night at that point).  I had no issues sleeping beyond what I’d normally feel on a flight.

Glad I didn’t upgrade to business class.  We could have done this with points.  Instead, we kept seats in premium economy.  Lie-flat business class seats would have been a waste: I cannot comfortably sleep on my side in business class even while not pregnant.  Business class lie-flat seats don’t have enough padding.

I took several copies of my doctor’s note and medical record.  I carried a note in my carry-on.  Mr. P carried a copy in his backpack and I put one in the suitcase just in case.   My doctor also printed a complete copy of my medical record for me to carry in case I had an emergency.

I didn’t get asked to prove I was fit to travel.  But I’m glad I had medical clearance with me just in case.  The flight attendants kept offering me alcohol on the flight, so maybe it wasn’t that noticeable?

Glad we went with hotels instead of AirBNB for comfort reasons.  We use both AirBNB and hotels when we travel.  I find that hotel beds are more reliable comfort-wise than beds in European apartments, so I’m glad we went with hotels here.  I was also able to have several extra pillows sent up since I didn’t pack my pregnancy pillow with me.  It helped me sleep better and made sitting up in bed more comfortable.

We didn’t do many evening activities outside of dinner.  I think this was a combination of the fact that I would get tired more easily plus that we both have west coast jobs.  We were often in our hotel room answering emails or taking calls after dinner.

We stuck close to London for weekend activities.  Honestly, I was feeling so great that if we’d found a cheapo fare to Paris or Marrakesh for the weekend, we would have done it.  But, the weather was so cold in the rest of Europe during our trip that it didn’t make sense to travel someplace cooler when we didn’t pack for it.  It even snowed on us in London!  We went to Bath and Stonehenge the first weekend and stayed in London the second weekend.

Pregnancy Travel by Natalie Parker

We did some fun kid shopping.  We visited the toy department at Selfridges and picked up a stuffed bear for the baby.  We both had bears growing up so it was a big deal picking him out!

Again, travel insurance is great and made this entire trip possible.  Read more about travel insurance for pregnancy here.

A pregnancy disclaimer:  I’m writing to share my experiences.  Your experiences, resources, and situation may be different.  My choices might not be the best choices for you.  I thank you in advance for trusting that all health decisions were discussed with my doctor and husband. 

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Pregnancy Album: Weeks 17-31

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

I’ve been plugging away on this album throughout the pregnancy!  I usually work on 2-3 weeks at a time to save photo paper.  But I try and do the handwritten card right after the week is over before I forget what happened.

Choosing the Cover and Colors

The cover will be made out of patterned paper: Pure Joy from Crate Paper’s Gather collection.  I grabbed coordinating cardstocks from my collection to have at the ready when I needed them throughout the album.  I’ll be using this method to create the cover and bind.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

We ended up having more ultrasounds than I originally anticipated, so I’m glad I made the album flexible and cut out the weeks and numbers ahead of time!

Weeks 17 through 31

In Week 17 we planted a new tree in our yard.  This week was the first of many during this period where I wasn’t as great at getting our bump picture in natural light.  After we got back from Hawaii (see below), I started setting a phone alarm for Saturday afternoon to remind me.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

In Week 18 my parents came to help paint the baby’s room and the entire living area of our house.  I snapped this picture of them right at the beginning of the project before we got too busy.  Week 19 covers my thoughts on election day and what it means for our son.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

In Week 19 we had another ultrasound and in Week 20 we started a series of childbirth classes at the hospital.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

Week 21 was Thanksgiving!  I got a great shot of Mr. P teaching our nephew how to make biscuits.  In Week 22 we were putting up our Christmas lights.  Since the album counts weeks rather than dates, I like having the pictures to mark the season.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

In Week 23 I got a shot of our Christmas tree and we had another ultrasound.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

In Week 24 my little sister got married!  In Week 25 we worked a ton on the accent wall in the baby’s room and I asked Mr. P to get a few pictures of me using the paint pen.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

In Week 26 we got to visit my newborn niece and had another ultrasound.  For our bump picture, I was in the middle of painting and caulking the baseboards of the built-ins for the baby’s room and was too lazy to change out of my work clothes for the picture.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

In Week 27 we were still working hard on those built-in shelves and prepping to leave for London.  In Week 28 we were in London (read more about how that went here) and I got a picture of the bear we picked out for our son at Selfridges.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

In Week 29, we finished up our time in London and made our way back home.  In Week 30, we were home for just a handful of days and then we left for a quick Hawaii trip.  I broke my streak of blank-hotel-room-wall bump pictures.  But I like that we were on the beach for this one.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

My baby shower was in Week 30 right before we left for Hawaii.  There were too many pictures I wanted to share, so I did a small layout with my favorites.  Finally in Week 31, I got a great shot of Mr. P learning how to use our new infant carseat/stroller!

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

I’m having a great time with this album!  Even though it’s not bound yet, I’m already having a great time flipping through the pages.

More Information on My Pregnancy Album

Check out these posts for everything you need to know!

Planning my Pregnancy Album
Having Dad in the Weekly Bump Pictures
Album Pages: Beginning – Week 16

 

How to Use Travel Insurance to Plan Pregnancy Travel

Travel Insurance for Pregnancy

You want to take a trip.  You’re pregnant.  Or you might be pregnant by then.  Does that mean you can’t plan any travel?

No!  Plan away!  But it’s time to learn about travel insurance.

This post is meant to cover the following situation:  I will be pregnant or may be pregnant during the trip.  I want to take the trip, but what if something happens healthwise before or I just don’t feel like taking the trip?  On the other hand, I may be fine so I want to plan on going unless something happens.

This post is not meant to cover insurance to help if something happens to you while you are on the trip pregnancy-wise.  There are policies out there that cover this, but I do not have personal experience with them.  Keep in mind that for many insurance policies it matters whether or not you were pregnant at the time you bought the policy.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance sounds scary, but it can be a really useful tool.  It can be a bit tricky buying the right policy but it can be done!

Cancel for Any Reason Coverage

“Cancel for Any Reason” coverage means you can cancel the trip for any reason.  It’s more expensive than other travel insurance policies since it covers more, but it can protect you if you can’t or don’t want to travel when the time comes.

Most other policies may not cover you if you knew you were pregnant when you bought the policy or want to cancel the trip because you became pregnant.  Make sure the policy you are looking at is “Cancel for Any Reason” not just generic “Trip Cancellation.”  Pregnancy and childbirth are very often exceptions to general trip cancellation policies.

There is a Tight Deadline

Here’s the kicker: you have to act fast.  Once you make a purchase toward the trip, the clock starts.  This means a deposit, that first hotel reservation, plane tickets, whatever it is where you are spending actual money on the trip.

Each travel insurance company has different deadlines.  The most common I’ve seen is 14-21 days from the “date of first deposit” or the date you first buy something.  The longest I’ve seen is 30 days.  Do not miss this deadline.  I missed the 21-day deadline by hours for my trip to London because I did the math wrong.  I had to go with a company that had a 30-day window and it was more expensive.

How Much Will It Cost?

Lots of factors go into this including the age of the traveler and cost of the trip.  The good news is that most sites will give you a free quote once you punch in the details.

Here’s an example using RoamRight, which who I tend to use.  RoamRight is not paying me to post this and I’m not suggesting you go with them.  This is just an example!

On the homepage, enter in the details for your trip.  Below is an example for a trip for 2 with $5000 in nonrefundable costs.

Travel Insurance for Pregnancy

Three quotes are returned.  I usually go with Preferred because I have credit card and other insurance that covers other items I need.  I never buy Essential because it does not have an option for the Cancel for Any Reason upgrade.

Travel Insurance for Pregnancy

Note the prices quoted do not include the Cancel for Any Reason upgrade.  You have to click down and see the additional cost to add it.

Travel Insurance for Pregnancy

The total cost to insure my fictional trip is $368 ($230 plus the $138 Cancel for Any Reason upgrade).  Simply click through, enter your personal and payment information and you’re done!

Travel Insurance for Pregnancy

I get it, $368 isn’t a small amount of money.  To me the cost is worth it so I can plan trips without worrying that my pregnancy will put me out thousands in nonrefundable plane fares.  I’d also rather spend the money instead of not traveling at all during pregnancy.

Other Tips

I insure only the non-refundable portions of the trip.  It brings the cost of the insurance down.  There’s no reason to go through making an insurance claim on a refundable hotel reservation if I can simply call the hotel to cancel.

If the trip cost goes up, I call and adjust the policy.  I estimate how much coverage we need and buy the policy.  If the non-refundable part of the trip costs more than anticipated, I call the insurance company and adjust.

Please note I’m not an insurance agent and this is just my experience, not insurance advice.  You should do your own research into insurance policies before buying.

Travel Insurance for Pregnancy

Pregnant and Traveling: London Booked at 7 Months

Baby on Board London

I am traveling to London for business soon!  I wanted to go early in the pregnancy but it didn’t work out.  I’ll be taking off on a 10-hour flight just shy of 28 weeks (or 7 months along).  Given the choice between flying while really pregnant or having to go later and leave a baby behind, I’m choosing the former.

What can possibly be going through my head having scheduled this?  This:

Assuming I can until I can’t.  Just like with my trip to Australia, I’m assuming I can travel as normal unless my body or this baby tell me I can’t.  I easily could have not scheduled the trip not knowing how I would feel.  But what if the 28th week rolled around and I felt fine?

Carefully reviewing the rules.  Different airlines have different rules about how far into the pregnancy you can travel.  Some require a doctor’s note after a certain point.  My airline requires a note at 28 weeks.  While I don’t technically need one on the way there, I will carry one.  I recommend carrying one if you’re showing even if your entire trip will occur before the deadline — you never know what a gate agent will say.

Insuring the trip and making cancellable reservations.  All of my hotel reservations can be cancelled and refunded.  I’ve insured the parts that are coming out of my pocket and not the company’s.  Pregnancy is a tricky thing and not covered by all travel insurance policies, especially if you are pregnant at the time you make the reservations.  I’ve purchased a “cancel for any reason” policy which will allow me to stop the trip if I just don’t feel up to going.

Mr. P is coming along.  He’s not coming just because I’m pregnant, though I’m much happier to have him with me.  We try and travel together always, even if one of us is on business if we can swing it.  I’m glad he’ll be looking out for me!

Being aware of my health coverage options if something goes wrong.  Without getting into too much minutiae, I will be fine if I need medical care or emergency evacuation abroad.  I’ll make sure and know what to do and where to go if I need help.

Adjusting our leisure time.  We’ll have two weekends to ourselves.  In non-pregnant circumstances, we’d probably take two weekend trips as far as we could get.  We’re still taking a trip one of the weekends, but it’s a bit less ambitious.  Even if I’m a spry pregnant lady at that point, I’m sure I’ll be tired so it’s a good compromise.

How will it turn out?  I have no idea but I’m hopeful.  I’ll keep you in the loop!

Update: Read all about how the trip went here!

A pregnancy disclaimer:  I’m writing to share my experiences.  Your experiences, resources, and situation may be different.  My choices might not be the best choices for you.  I thank you in advance for trusting that all health decisions were discussed with my doctor and husband. 

Image courtesy Leon Brocard via Creative Commons license.

Pregnancy Album: Beginning – Week 16

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

I planned my album very carefully with emphasis on ease.  Here are how the pages came out so far!

I left some blanks for the title page.  I think I’ll make that after the baby is born and when we have a name.  Week 4 was the official start of the pregnancy, but I wrote a beginning card just to talk about finding out we were pregnant.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

I designed the album in Week 6 and we didn’t start taking bump pictures until then.  I used whatever I had for 4 and 5.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

In Week 6 my best friend’s daughter was born!  Don’t ask about our Week 7 bump picture.  It’s on a memory card that’s hiding somewhere in our house.  I know that I’ll find it eventually.  Maybe on the kid’s 18th birthday?  I’m trying not to sweat it at this point.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

Week 7 is also when we left for Australia!  I timed the bump pictures so we’d only have to get one on the road, which was Week 8.  Nice blank wall in our hotel room!  I balanced the camera on a couple coffee table books on top of the ironing board.

We were in Australia for most of Week 9 but took the bump picture as soon as we got home.  Other than in Week 8, the pictures don’t scream Australia, but this album is about the pregnancy and not about our trip.  I’ll scrapbook the trip separately later.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

Notice I varied the layout week to week.  It looked too boring to have the cards in the same position when the pages were facing each other.

Week 11 featured a big big deal: the very first picture of our baby!  I scanned it and printed it to size for the page.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

Week 12 we had another ultrasound and I realized I wanted the option to add big things.  I didn’t want to plan for things outside of my formula because I didn’t want the pressure.  But since the album size is flexible, I made a game time decision.  The font is Klinic Slab Book and I pre-cut a ton of “weeks” and numbers out.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

See what I mean about not wanting to wear the same outfit in each picture?  Our Oktoberfest gear in Week 13 makes me smile.  The baby also got its first quilt courtesy of my mom.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

Good thing I came up with the full page option because in Week 15, we found out we are having a BOY.  I printed the message from the doctor plus a piece of the test result (several sections below blurred for privacy).  I’m glad I had the extra room to tell the story of how we found out.

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

I’m loving how we are mixing life stuff, baby stuff, and house stuff in the pictures.  In Week 16 we took our hospital tour (I was the only one who was sneaking pictures for my album).

Pregnancy Album by Natalie Parker

Well phew!  So far so good!  Even though the little guy is quite comfortable and is taking a while to pop out, I’m loving the weekly pictures!

More Information on My Pregnancy Album

Check out these posts for everything you need to know!

Planning my Pregnancy Album
Having Dad in the Weekly Bump Pictures
Album Pages: Weeks 17-31

 

Pregnancy Album: Dad’s in the Bump Pictures

Baby Bump Pictures by Natalie Parker

Notice something in the weekly bump pictures?  Other than the noticeable lack of a bump for a long period of time?  Kid is going to do what the kid wants to do.  Moving on.

That’s my husband and he’s in every weekly bump picture.

Why?

I love weekly bump pictures.  Love love love.  It’s such a cool way to show the progression of time.  When I was researching other pregnancy albums, I knew a weekly picture was totally going to happen.

One thing that struck me:  looking at the weekly progression, dad seemed very absent.  Sure, in some people’s lives, dad might not be available.  For me, I didn’t want my album to be all about me.

This is about us.  The album is from my perspective but this experience is about us becoming parents.  We’ve been handling everything together aside from him not actually growing the baby.  It’s important to me that when our kid looks at the album, dad is very prominent.

How We Take the Weekly Picture

We have it down to a science now and Mr. P is a very good sport.  We use the same blank wall in our living room and he knows exactly where to stand.  And I don’t have to wait for him to fix his hair or makeup.

Baby Bump Pictures by Natalie Parker

I get as much natural light as I can.  As I said earlier, we don’t get a picture on a set day of the week.  I try to get it when we’re both home and have the best light.  If that means that weeks 17 and 18 are only two days apart, so be it.

We use a tripod with my DSLR.  We used a timer for the first several weeks, then I got a remote which made it much simpler.  I tilt the LCD screen so I can see it from our spot and know if I need to move a hand or un-slouch.

The whole process takes about 10 minutes.  This is from setup to take down.  I keep the tripod in the closet half-extended so it’s easy to set up.

We don’t have set outfits.  I do love the weekly bump pictures where mom is wearing the same or similar black dress the entire time.  I opted not to.  I didn’t want to have to change my clothes.  I also thought it’d be cool to see my clothes and seasons change.  A big bonus would be to show clothes from things we were doing at the time, like going to football games or an Oktoberfest party.

Baby Bump Pictures by Natalie Parker

As with everything in pregnancy, to each his or her own.  For us, it’ll be nice for our child to look back and see how excited we both were (and how we both used to look when we got full nights of sleep).

More Information on My Pregnancy Album

Check out these posts for everything you need to know!

Planning my Pregnancy Album
Album Pages: Beginning – Week 16
Album Pages: Weeks 17-31

Pregnant and Traveling: Going to Australia at 7 Weeks

Traveling While Pregnant by Natalie Parker
We travel a lot.  I’m pregnant.  How is that going to shake out?  I have no idea.

We’re making the choices that we can with the information we have.  We were in Australia during Weeks 7-9 of the pregnancy.  That’s not exactly a hop on Southwest from SF to LA so let’s talk about it.

Planning the Trip

I wasn’t pregnant when we planned the trip, but we knew it would be a possibility.  We decided to make the plans anyway.  We used a bunch of American Airlines miles to get business class seats to Sydney.  I figured that if I was pregnant, I’d at least be comfortable in those seats.

What if I felt sick?  What if it just wouldn’t work?  It was all possible.  I decided to not to assume I couldn’t do things.  Instead of not making the plans in the absence of information, we made the plans and decided we’d adjust if we needed to.  I’m assuming I can do things (maybe with some adjustments) unless my doctor and/or body tell me I can’t.

Preparing Now that I Was Pregnant

Doctor’s advice.  We got to a doctor right quick and got her advice.  I was worried about a ton of stuff including the possibility of nausea (morning sickness).  Handily, if it hadn’t started yet, it would start at the latest in the middle of our 14-hour flight.  Awesome.

Nausea remedies.  I brought a pack of every nausea remedy known to man in my carry-on just in case.

How Did the Flight Go?

In the end, everything was fine!  When we landed in Melbourne (SFO-LAX-SYD-MEL), I practically skipped out of the airport because I was so proud of myself.

Staying hydrated and circulating.  The fear of God was put into me about staying hydrated on the plane and keeping up my circulation.  I HATE moving around on planes because flying scares me.  Drinking a ton of water fixed all of that because I was up and down to the bathroom all. the. time.

Sleeping and eating.  Having the business class seat helped because I was able to lie down and sleep for several hours.  I had no issues running out of food because we were fed constantly.

Being the weirdo turning down the free booze.  I didn’t feel the need to disclose my pregnancy to the flight attendants, but I’m pretty sure they thought I was a weirdo.  No thank you, I don’t need an endless supply of wine.  No thank you, I don’t drink coffee (I don’t).  Please bring me water with this fancy dinner.

How Did the Trip Go?

I ended up with zero nausea but got really tired.  I got tired really early in the evening during the trip, which is normal.  Mr. P loves going to bed early and my fatigue forced us to take it easy.  I’m a big fan of that!  Pregnancy is a good excuse for me to rest.  On earlier trips, I’d feel guilty about lazing in the hotel room thinking I wasn’t getting enough out of my time.

I packed my workout gear.  I almost never have room for workout clothes in my suitcase but the baby has priorities.  I packed it and made sure to stay active whether it was walks or some time in the hotel gym.

What I’m allowed to eat.  Being newly pregnant, I was hyper-paranoid about what I was eating.  Australia’s not a bad place to be because the food is relatively safe.  I only had one hormone-induced-cry at the Melbourne airport when our flight was cancelled and there were almost zero healthy food choices I could eat.

So far, so good.  Am I letting my blissful ignorance guide me?  Perhaps.  Am I glad I had an excuse to purchase an adorable koala rattle?  You bet.

A pregnancy disclaimer:  I’m writing to share my experiences.  Your experiences, resources, and situation may be different.  My choices might not be the best choices for you.  I thank you in advance for trusting that all health decisions were discussed with my doctor and husband.