We just got back from our last family road trip before baby number 3 arrives, and I’m equal parts exhausted and happy we took this time for our family. Family vacations, even the shortest of ones, are a great time to reconnect and just focus on each other a bit before your world is temporarily turned upside down with the birth of a new baby. We’ve taken one with each pregnancy and I’ve learned some little tips along the way that have helped me not just get through a road trip vacation, but enjoy it.
First things first – TREATS! Usually I try to watch what I eat while on a road trip; pack our own snacks and lunches, limit our ice cream stops, etc. Not just to watch what we eat as a family but also to cut costs a bit. But when you’re pregnant, you need those treats to get you through all those miles of driving! When I’m pregnant I go for it and if the need for ice cream arises, or a chai tea latte craving sets in, I say “let’s stop!” Believe me when I say no one argues with me!
Don’t try to be a hero! The second day we were on vacation I agreed to go on a pretty strenuous hike to get down to a prime fishing spot. Well the hike back up was just as bad as the hike down and I was exhausted and cranky and just all around miserable by the end of the day. I wanted to be a trooper and spend time with my family, but really I should have just stayed back at the cabin and let them enjoy the hike and fishing time. Me and my family would have been happier that night for it. While the purpose of a pre-baby road trip is to connect as a family, it also needs to be a time for you to relax a bit too, so don’t feel like you have to take part in every single activity!
Set aside time to relax. After that crazy hike, the next day I booked myself a 1 hour prenatal massage at the local spa. By me allowing myself just 1 hour of alone time to relax and do something for me and my 35 week pregnant body, I came back refreshed and ready to go on some more adventures with my family. It took me having a rough day though to realize there was no need to feel guilty about taking time for myself. So learn from me and avoid the misery and go for the guilt-free relaxation first!
Visit Pregnant Friendly Places. While the location we visited this past week in the Sierra Mountains may not necessarily be considered “pregnant friendly”, with its emphasis on outdoor activities like hiking, boating and fishing, I made sure the cabins we stayed at were! By this I mean the cabins were comfortable and the grounds had ahem, a spa (which made it so easy for me to sneak away for 1 hour for that prenatal massage)! There was a restaurant on site as well so if I didn’t feel like cooking, we could just walk out the door and order food, and there were plenty of beautiful spots on the grounds for me to sneak off and read a book. In reality I only did that once for about 20 minutes, but it was nice knowing I had the option there if I wanted it.
Visit Kid Friendly Places. While this really just applies if you already have kids, it’s still an important one! Not only did I choose the cabins we stayed at because they would be comfortable for me, I also chose them because I knew the kids could have fun there if we decided to just stay on the grounds all day. There was a small pond on site that had ducks, an indoor pool that we could throw them in when all else failed, and a small creek outside of our cabin. On our third day it rained and so we literally just stayed hunkered down on the grounds and ventured out in between rain storms and it was a great day, and quite relaxing!
Drink, drink, drink (lots of water that is!). This last bit of advice kind of goes without saying I’m sure, but I’ll say it anyhow. Drinking water is never more important while pregnant than while road tripping! You’re eating out more, consuming lots of treats, traveling for hours on end without proper circulation, and your body needs to be replenished. On our 7 hour drive up to our destination, I hardly drank any water. By the time we arrived at our cabin I could hardly walk because my foot had swelled up so much. I made sure to drink lots of water the rest of the time and on the ride home yesterday I sat in the back seat so I could prop my foot up and drank till I was almost sick! But by the time I got home my feet looked good and I felt refreshed, even after spending 7+ hours in the car.
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