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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Being an expectant mom during the holidays can be exhilarating. However, the mayhem of seasonal preparations can be exhausting and challenging. If you must also travel during this time, you might find the physical demands of being pregnant overwhelming. Upon doctor’s approval, be sure to create a travel plan that promotes comfort and is responsive to your body’s needs. Below are six ideas to make the journey easier.

#1 – Consider wearing compression hosiery if you experience leg discomfort or varicose veins. They are twice as thick as regular pantyhose and designed to help blood flow back up toward the heart. Compression hosiery reduces swelling and brings relief to expectant moms with circulation problems. Though a bit cumbersome, if you are prone to varicose veins, they can alleviate leg pain and reduce the risk of persistent varicose vein problems after delivery.

#2 – As your weight increases more strain is placed on the back muscles. This is not the time to attempt travel laden with heavy bags. Consider carrying conveniences in a backpack that contains a mesh lining against the back. The front of the bag is made of heavyweight fabric. Backpacks provide even weight distribution, and the mesh prevents the expectant mom’s back from becoming too hot.

#3 – Make sure to wear sensible footwear. Extra weight and swollen feet in uncomfortable shoes can make a journey intolerable. Invest in low heel shoes that provide good support for your arches. Though heels should be low, 1” – 1.5” high, ballet flats should be avoided because they provide neither heel nor arch support. You may have to wear a wider size to accommodate swollen feet so make sure shoes are sized properly. To avoid bending, slide-on shoes are best. Higher heels can be worn for a short duration at events. Just ensure you are not required to be on your feet for long.

#4 – Getting proper nourishment and fighting nausea can be problematic for expectant moms during travel. From morning sickness to the bloated sensation often experienced in the last trimester, expectant moms should keep a supply of relief provisions on hand. Whether you require crackers, peanuts, Tums, Mylanta or Seabands, great care should be taken to have these items available. Small, nutritious meals are great for blood sugar balance.

#5 – Build in time for light exercise. Fitness is beneficial especially during pregnancy for many reasons. Light stretches and short walks can help relieve backache, constipation, difficulty sleeping, and reduce joint pain. Exercise during pregnancy can also help moms regain their pre-pregnancy bodies quicker after delivery.

#6 – Build in rest breaks. There might be a blizzard of activities planned to get the most out of the holiday season, but expectant moms should exclude themselves, without guilt, from activities that push them beyond their comfort level. As the body undergoes its changes, there can be increased fatigue and heightened sensitivity to new environments. Expectant moms are better able to adapt to the rigors of travel when well rested.

Pregnancy, holidays and travel can create a perfect storm of disruption for an expectant mom. A plan that encourages comfort, rest, and nutrition can go a long way in making holiday travel manageable.