Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pregnant and Going to Disney - Part II

To read part I of this blog, click here.

We've just returned from my second trip of this pregnancy and I have lived to tell the tale! We spent 4 nights and 5 days in "The World" and had a magical time. We really didn't have to make too many adjustments due to the pregnancy, and honestly it went even better than I thought it would. I was, by far, not the only pregnant lady at Disney, and we noticed many, many mommies with bellies!

Before Your Trip
Do make sure you have your doctor or midwife's okay to take a vacation during your pregnancy. For most normal, healthy women, it should be perfectly fine, airplane travel included, during the first two trimesters, and early part of the third. If however, you are considered high risk for preterm delivery or dangerous complications, your provider may not like the idea of traveling far from their care. You also don't want to travel too late in your pregnancy when the possibility of delivery is higher. Keep in mind that just because your chart is labeled "high risk" does not mean you cannot travel, it just depends on why, and ultimately you and your provider need to make that decision together. Technically I am considered "high risk" because, ahem..., I'm shall we say a "more experienced" mom. Okay, I'm old, lets just say it, but that was not a reason my midwife felt I needed to forego a vacation.

Make sure that before your vacation, once you have your provider's okay, you bring with you on your trip a current copy of your prenatal records and your medical insurance card. Just in case something happens, your care will be much better (and faster) if the hospital in Florida has your medical records and all your billing information. I hope to give you some good tips to keep you OUT of the hospital, but its good to always have this information with you just in case.

Safe and Smart Travel
If you are driving to the world, be sure to wear your seatbelt at all times. Make sure to wear it low and over your hips, not up over your abdomen. Drink plenty of water along the way. Take frequent stops to get out of the car, use the bathroom, stretch and walk around. While seated you can do some stretching with your feet to encourage return blood flow. Point and flex your toes, and do ankle circles.

If traveling by air, try to book a non-stop flight to minimize travel time. If you are on a long flight, try to get up and walk up and down the cabin a few times to stretch and discourage the possibility of developing blood clots in your legs. If you can score an aisle seat this will make it easier to get up frequently and use the bathroom as well. You can do the same ankle and foot stretches as those traveling by car. It is not uncommon for airplane travel to cause water retention, so note that your legs and ankles may have increased swelling during the flight. Try to put your feet up once you arrive at your destination.

Pack Prepared
Be sure to pack any necessary medications, prescriptions, vitamins, and over the counter medications in your carry on bags. You may want to bring some doctor approved over the counter "just in case" medications as well such as tylenol and tums. Also, remember that you can bring small snacks into the parks, so you may want to bring some healthy snacks to keep your energy up while touring. Some good suggestions would be dried fruit, baked crackers or nuts.

This was also something I mentioned in my first post on traveling while pregnant. Dehydration is a pregnant woman's enemy. It can make you feel awful, cause unnecessary swelling, give you a headache, and even contractions. If you find that you are having swelling, be sure to continue drinking lots of water. Sometimes moms believe if they are swollen, they should drink less, when the opposite is actually true. Try to limit your salty food intake, and keep drinking.

You can bring bottles of water with you into the parks, use a refillable water bottle, purchase bottles of water in the park, or even order FREE glasses of water at counter service locations. If you go to any counter service (AKA quick service) location and ask for a glass of ice water, you can get one free of charge. Yes, it is tap water, but its free, and not much is at DIsney. If you don't like the taste of Orlando tap water, and a lot of peope don't, you can bring those little crystal light/flavored drink packets to add to your water. Avoid caffene as it will only make you more dehydrated. A diet coke, while my beverage of choice, tastes great, it does not actually help you stay hydrated, in fact, it makes you more DEhydrated. As we have a DVC Villa, we had Garden Grocer deliver a case of bottled water to our resort, and so I always brought two bottles of water with me into the parks.

Frequent Bathroom Breaks
If you are doing a good job staying hydrated, you will probably get a world tour of Disney World restrooms. It is also important to empty your bladder frequently, so make the time. You may want to prepare by using the bathroom before getting on any long lines or attractions that may take you away from a bathroom for a while, such as the Liberty Belle Riverboat or American Adventure attraction in Epcot.

Slow Down and Take it Easy
Even if you are an experienced Disney Parks commando like myself, pregnancy is going to require you to slow down a bit. Try to do half days, or take a mid-day break to put your feet up or take a nap. When moving through the parks, you may have to slow your pace a bit. Send someone else to go for fastpasses, while you slowly make your way to another attraction.

Be especially mindful that as your belly is getting bigger, your center of gravity is shifting, making falls more likely. Watch your footing around the pool and unfamiliar bathrooms. Be sure to use handrails and take your time when getting on and off attractions. You may have ridden Peter Pan's Flight 30 times, but getting into that boat is going to be a bit more tricky this time.

Rides and Attractions
I was too big to actually get on a horse, so I just stood by.
As mentioned in my first post on traveling while pregnant, you will need to scale back some of the usual attractions. You should definitely avoid anything with a G-force, such as Everest, or anything with the would "Mountain" in it. Depending on your comfort level, you may want to avoid other attractions as well. I used my rule of thumb which is if there is no reason to not bring on an infant, there was no reason I could not enjoy the ride. That said, I could see that some mommies might be wary about riding attractions such as Malestrom, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Kilamajaro Safari. Talk to your provider before your trip about any concerns, and when in doubt, sit it out.

There are lots of wonderful things you can do while your family rides attractions you cannot. This may be some of the last time you have to wander by yourself for a long time, so enjoy it! While my older two and hubby took several rides on Space Mountain, I took my younger son on the Peoplemover, and Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin. The night they all went on, and subsequently got stuck on Splash Mountain, I had a leisurely ride on the Liberty Belle Riverboat around the Rivers of America, and then did some shopping throughout Frontierland and Fantasyland. Don't feel like you need to sit on the bench outside the ride. With the ease of cell phones and texting, make plans to meet up after and enjoy the time to explore Walt Disney World on your own.

Aches and Pains
While some ladies sail through pregnancy feeling great, most of us do suffer from what I like to tell patients is a case of APP, "Aches and Pains of Pregnancy". This can range from aching feet, back, hips, pelvic joint pain, carpel tunnel, headaches, and difficulty sleeping due to waking up in pain.

With your doctor's okay, its generally considered safe to take Tylenol (acetaminophen) during pregnancy for aches and pains, headache and the like. I can tell you from personal experience however, that for moderate hip and pelvic joint pain in pregnancy, it tends to not help too terribly much, but at least its something to try.

Bring several pairs of safe, comfortable shoes. To minimize aching feet, you should bring at least 2 different pairs of comfortable walking shoes. Since you may experience swelling of your feet in Florida, make sure they have a little room to grow. Although I did alternate between 3 different pairs, I did find that my feet hurt more than a normal Disney vacation. You also want to make sure your shoes will offer stability and won't increase the risk of slipping or falling.

If you find you have been having pelvic and hip pain before your trip, you may find that better or worse during. I have found for long shifts at work, that a maternity support belt works wonders. It helps to hold your belly up, and your hip bones in and together. Since I have been wearing mine regularly for work, I brought it with me on vacation. Surprisingly, although I did still have some discomfort, especially after sitting down for a while, I found that overall, all of the exercise actually seemed to help the pain! I think my joints feel better than before the trip, and I'm going to try to make a good effort to walk on the treadmill several times a week to keep it up. Good proof that exercise in pregnancy really can be helpful to aches and pains.

One thing I wish I had thought better about ahead of time, was my bedtime pillow situation. I recommend either bringing along an extra small pillow for a belly wedge, or requesting extra pillows from the front desk of your resort. I unfortunately did not think of this until the kids were in bed and I was laying down to sleep the first night of the trip. At that point I didn't want to go downstairs or call for my pillows and risk waking the kids. Thankfully my loving hubby gave me one of his. At this point I really sleep best with two pillows under my head, and one on each side to support my tummy and back when sleeping. That's a lot of pillows. I ended up not getting any extra from the desk however, because we bought one of the ever popular Pillow Pets, a Simba model, for our youngest. I then took his pillow! I slept so much better that night with my full supply of pillows.

Me and the little guy on the PeopleMover, while the big boys rode Space Mountain.
So, while your friends may think you crazy for venturing to Walt Disney World during your pregnancy, it is entirely possible to have a safe and fun trip if you are willing to plan ahead and make a few modifications. So go ahead and book that trip before baby comes, or don't stress about canceling a pre-scheduled trip when you find out you are expecting. Be safe and have a magical vacation!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

  1. It's so hard wandering in Disney land with baby in your hand and tummy. It's a good thing that there is Disney World stroller rentals. Its indeed so helpful for me.