Wednesday, November 9, 2011

You're Pregnant and You're Going to Disney World? Part I

It seems I often get astonished looks and comments for taking a Disney trip under one situation or another that is deemed by others to be some form of vacation liability.  For those who have never been to Disney, or who have only been there on one ill planned trip, going to the "Most Magical Place on Earth" under anything but perfect conditions sounds like an insurmountable task.  Well this year I have three such trips planned with which to gain the admiration of others.  At the end of September, I traveled with my family and friends to Disney during my 8th week of pregnancy.  This upcoming February, we have a long winter weekend escape planned to Disney while I will be turning 27 weeks, and next September, well I'm sure you can guess that one....Disney with a 4 month old!

For a brief moment, I almost thought I wouldn't be taking our September trip. Just three days before we were to leave, an early ultrasound showed some bleeding between the baby and my uterus.  As I was sitting there in the Doctor's office, I was sure she was going to tell me to cancel my trip, but thankfully, I was allowed to go! I had to be more careful to not lift anything heavy like my luggage, and not to ride anything which involved any G forces.  I also had to change my planned 5K run for Mickey's Halloween Family 5K, into a 5K walk.  But all in all, these were pretty minor modifications.  I had no intention on going on anything with a G force anyway just because of being pregnant in general.

Overall, the trip, from a pregnancy point of view was a definite success, and for anyone who may be undertaking such a trip soon, I can offer some experienced advice. I must mention that I have three sons already, and I am a registered nurse in labor and delivery, so this is my area of expertise!

Looks like they've got room for one more prisoner!
    Okay, this was my number one fear and concern regarding this trip. I, like 85% of pregnant women do get "morning sickness".  Honestly, whoever coined this term should be locked in a fiery prison ala Pirates of the Caribbean.  It should be called "morning, noon, and night sickness".  And while it wasn't a nausea free trip, I did at least keep it in check.

   With my other pregnancies I just followed the "suffer and carry on" approach to nausea, but this time I did request some pharmaceutical assistance from my midwife.  I thankfully had a prescription for an anti-nausea medication called Zofran.  This is a common medication given for nausea, and is considered safe in pregnancy.  Each morning, I would set my alarm to go off about 20 minutes before I needed to get up.  I would then take my Zofran, and eat some crackers and peanut butter.  I wondered if mousekeeping at Bay Lake thought I was a total pig for having food next to the bed but, oh well.  This helped tremendously, and I think was the single best thing I did for the trip.  Even on the morning of the race, which necessitated at 5am wake up, I felt reasonably okay.

  Its also a good idea to not let your stomach get too empty or too full during the day.  I recommend carrying a small snack or two with you.  You might not be able to stomach an entire soft pretzel, but a quick couple of crackers, or a granola bar can keep that nausea at bay. Now this may not work for you, but for me, I have always found during pregnancy, that cool, icy things seem to help.  Thankfully Disney is full of frozen beverage stations.  The raspberry lemonade is my all time favorite aka "Wheezy's Breezy Freezy" at Hollywood Studios, but blue raspberry Fanta or regular lemonade also hit the spot.  It seemed to keep the nausea away, and did wonders to help me keep cool and hydrated.

  Get enough rest!  Being over-tired can make the nausea much worse.  So either go to bed at a reasonable hour, or try to take a mid-day nap if you know you will be up late for fireworks or other evening event.

  I can tell you from numerous night shifts as the triage nurse on the labor and delivery floor, that dehydration is a pregnant woman's enemy.  Its a sure-fire way to feel lousy, get a massive headache, or even give you preterm contractions.  You should aim to drink 64-80oz of non-caffeinated fluid daily.  If you are at Disney during a hot time of year, you should be drinking even more than that. Being over-full can make your tummy upset, so its best to sip on your beverage throughout the day rather than drinking large amounts with your meals.

I made good use of both bottled water, and my resort refillable mug.  I would freeze a bottle of water in my freezer overnight, and bring it into the park each morning.  I would also fill my mug on my way out of the resort with either Powerade

Rest and Relaxation
Its important to get enough rest, especially at the beginning of pregnancy when fatigue can hit a level you didn't think possible.  Mix that with the exhaustion that a week at Disney can bring on, and you'll be sleepwalking down Main Street in no time. If you are aiming to be at the park for rope drop, AND stay up late for an evening show, a mid-day break is essential.  Even if it means returning to your resort by yourself without friends and family, try to get out of the parks for a few hours each day and nap. Also try to plan a day mid-trip where you are getting to bed early.  I like to plan our Animal Kingdom day for the middle of the week, and after leaving the park at 4pm or so, we head back for a swim and an early bed time.

Rides and Attractions
"Expectant Mothers Should Not Ride"
Disney is fastidious about safety, and you will see signs on many rides with warnings for pregnant mothers.  You would obviously want to skip anything that may make you nauseated.  While normally a Tea Cup fan, I abstained this trip.  I also had to close my eyes on Nemo in the room where all the bubbles are circling around you! Talk about dizzy!

You should speak with your doctor or midwife before your trip regarding what type of rides you should or should not go on.  My rule of thumb is: "If they'll let me take a newborn on the ride on my lap, I'm okay to ride".  So I did go on Kilimanjaro Safari and Pirates of the Caribbean. The only exception I made to this was Soarin' as I know from being on it before that it is very smooth, and is not dangerous to me in any way.  The reason you could not bring an infant is due to the fact that you are elevated many feet into the air. If you are prone to vertigo or motion sickness though, you may want to avoid this one. I did forgo all other rides with height restrictions. The wonderful thing about Disney is, that there are rides for everyone. So while the dads and kids were going down Splash Mountain, I was able to visit The Tiki Room, and Mickey's Philharmagic.  There are plenty of pregnancy safe things to do at Disney, so don't feel that you need to miss out and spend the week on a park bench.

Medical Issues
   If you are further into your pregnancy, I would bring a copy of your prenatal records with you in case of an emergency.  Your doctor or midwife should be able to make you a copy at your office visit.  I will be doing this for our February trip.  Should something go wrong that necessitated a visit to a hospital or urgent care clinic, your caregivers will be thankful you have them. And of course make sure you have your health insurance and prescription card, as well as your doctor or midwife's name, address and phone number.

Remember that each park has a Baby Care Center and a First Aid Station.  Pregnant Moms are welcome to take an air-conditioned break at the Baby Care Center, and if you should have any medical problems or concerns while in the park, go directly to First Aid.  It is staffed by RN's who have seen it all, and are there to help. (and they have stickers)

Turner Drugs
Many travelers don't realize that there is a full service pharmacy right next to Walt Disney World property that will deliver to your Disney resort.  They will deliver prescription and non-prescription drug store items for a nominal fee.  If you should need a prescription filled while you are there, your doctor may call it in to Turner Drug or, if you have a written prescription, the front desk of your Disney resort can fax a form and a copy of the script, and Turner will deliver to the front desk for you.  Turner is also a good resource if you need over the counter medications such as tums, Tylenol, or cold remedies that are recommended by your doctor.  We have used Turner Drug on two separate trips and have been very happy with the service.  Be aware however, that they do not accept insurance as they are dealing with a tourist population.  They will however give you the necessary paperwork if you would like to file your own claim upon request.

You Can Do It!
Going to Disney while expecting is very doable and not something you should be afraid of.  Just be prepared, drink lots of water, and slow down.  And most of all have fun.  You can dream of all the wonderful things you will get to do with new baby on another trip.  Part II of this report will follow this winter after our February trip.  I'll be getting big and turning 27 weeks while we are there, so that trip may be quite a bit different for me!

Have you visited Disney while expecting?  Leave a comment and let us know how it went. Feel free to share any additional tips you may have!

This post is part of the Disney Blog Carnival . Head over there to see more great Disney-related posts and articles.

Part II of this post is complete, check it out by clicking here.


  1. Well I know some women will say "your a man of course Disney seemed easy on your wife". That being said my wife and I went last year (Sep 28th-October 3rd) to WDW and my wife had just turned 6 months pregnant. She was already showing very much but she really did great. I think it was easier on her being that far along then if she had gone earlier. She was past all the morning sickness and tired spells that she suffered. We just made sure that we went at her pace and took breaks to let her rest. We are park commandos so we still were up at the crack of dawn and left after the sun had gone down. It was really great as we had so many congratulations on the upcoming baby from the cast members down to guest. My wife had found some really cool Disney maternity cloths before we went down. We had a number of pregnant mom's asking what shop did she buy this and that at hoping to go get one while there. I agree though (from the husbands stand point) that anyone can go to Disney while pregnant (now 8-9 months that might be a different story).

  2. Austin you're absolutely right! My wife didn't have really bad morning sickness unless she was around a lot of different smells. You can imagine what walking around MK in the heat did to her. We actually started bringing little perfume bottles with "happier" smells for her to avoid any unwanted upset stomach situations.

  3. Love this! My husband and I will be spending a week at Disney with my parents in September and I will be 9 weeks. I was so worried about the trip but appreciate all your advice. We are very much looking forward to this trip!

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