Travelling as a Mumsician
As I enter my 23rd week of pregnancy I've started reading a range of literature in preparation for birth and beyond. My sister, who has an 18 month-year old, has been giving me lots of advice, and I'm sharing experiences with other expectant mothers at a weekly yoga class that I'm attending in Swansea. However, as I work may way through the reams of advice on offer, I'm becoming acutely aware that my lifestyle isn't necessarily conducive to the calm and thoughtful picture required for a successful birth.
In fact, as I dash around the place, from town to town, country to country, in cars, trains, aeroplanes and ferries, my work is still at the forefront of my mind. It's taking some time to change my mindset as I still don't actually feel that pregnant at the moment. But there are a few extra considerations to bare in mind as I set off on the road with my bump.
At my first meeting with the midwife, she gave me a file entitled Cofnod Mamolaeth Cymru Gyfan/The All Wales Maternity Record. This is a place to keep all your maternity records, including your personal medical information, you and your parnter's family history, information on your scans etc. In the additional information section of this folder, I noted down my concerns for travelling whilst pregnant. I'll be spending hours cramped up in small spaces, and struggling to eat healthily on the road; this could be problematic for a pregnant gal.
My midwife is great, and she always asks me where I'm heading next. I've recently returned from a trip to Dumfries with Calan for The Big Burns Supper, and at the beginning of March I'll be travelling to Rennes, in Brittany for a couple of performance with the Breton Symphony Orchestra. So, with advice from my midwife, here are a few essentials (and some luxuries) I'll be taking with me, which could be useful to any Mumsician, or travelling mum-to-be.
1. Travel or flight socks
Apparently pregnant women are at an increased risk of DVT, and so prolonged spells of inactivity in cramped spaces
could potentially cause a risky situation.
If possible, make sure to take lots of breaks and walk around whilst travelling long distances, and put on a pair of these sexy socks. They cost £13.99 for a pair. Scholl also do compression tights to help with circulation too at £14.99 a pair (which may be ever so slightly more flattering than the socks!)
I remember reading once that Eliza Carthy had said that when Marks & Spencers opened up at service stations across the UK, her life on the road dramatically changed for the better. There's so many more healthy choices available to us now on the road, and through years of touring I have a weird, in-depth knowledge of UK service stations (Tebay and Gloucester being way up there in the best I've ever visited). However, sometimes you just have to take what's on offer. Make sure to have a stash of fruit, dried fruits, nuts and some nice healthy cereal bars to hand when hunger strikes and there's nothing else on offer! I love these Aldi Cashew Crush bars, which contain nothing except cashews and dates. (Constipation can be a problem for a lot of pregnant women, and so dates are perfect to help with that too! And no need to worry about eating nuts when pregnant.) At £1.99 for a pack of 5, you can't go wrong.
3. A Travel Pillow
Ok, so mine looks more like a neck-brace than a pretty travel pillow! It's not flattering, but when is sleeping up-right with your mouth wide open and drooling ever attractive?! I spent a little extra on this one, but it's great, and stops my head toppling forward when I'm asleep. It's made of memory foam, and is very supportive with the buckle at the front. You can get this Go Travel pillow from a range of online stores, and surprisingly Selfridges is one of the cheapest at £20. Pregnancy can make you very tired, so, if you can, why not catch up on some sleep on those long plane journeys. Zzz...
4. Travel Moisturiser
Ah, those dreaded stretch marks! It may be inevitable as our tummies, boobs and hips inflate, altering our skin in some way. Prevention is better than cure, so keep your skin exfoliated and moisturised. There are plenty of moistures out there, but Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula is one of my favourites, and available in teeny bottles, perfect for travel. Available from Amazon at £2.23.
5. A blanket or scarf
It's essential that you feel as comfortable as possible on the road. As your growing bump becomes increasingly uncomfortable (I'm still managing at this stage, but I'm told it will get more difficult!) it's ok to take a few home luxuries away with you. This one is a real luxury for me, but I love travelling with my new Katie Victoria Davies poncho. The 100% merino lambs wool poncho is super soft and is designed and made in Wales (you can take the girl out of Wales, but you can't take Wales out of the girl!) It looks great, but best of all it will fit my growing bump at every stage of pregnancy! Check out her website for other lovely scarves, ponchos and pashminas: https://www.katievictoria-textiles.com
If you have any other useful travel essentials, or tips, do let me know in the comments below!