Who said that pregnant women should not travel? We certainly didn’t! During pregnancy, it is quite normal to ask yourself questions about the do’s and don’ts of getting to your holiday destination. To help you see things more clearly, Little Guest has decided to answer your questions, list the different conditions of the railway companies and give you some advice before departure and during the journey according to your month of pregnancy.
Let’s say it right away: the train is the best solution if you have to travel more than three hours when you are pregnant. Despite a few jolts and irregular train movements that can increase morning sickness, this is still the best means of transport during pregnancy. However, as with air or sea travel, taking the train during the last month of pregnancy can be risky and is therefore not recommended. We will explain everything in detail in a moment!
Obstetricians and gynaecologists are unanimous: taking the train when pregnant does not present any particular risk, either for the foetus or for the mother-to-be. Indeed, the train has no impact on the risks of miscarriage, premature delivery or water loss. Nevertheless, it is advisable to take a few precautions to ensure that your journey goes as smoothly as possible:
Whether you are travelling by car, plane or train, wearing support stockings is recommended. Prolonged sitting can cause venous stasis in the lower limbs. It is therefore important to wear them during the journey to avoid any risk of deep vein thrombosis, phlebitis (inflammation of a vein with the formation of a blood clot) or pulmonary embolism (clot blocked in the lungs). Pregnant women have a 3 to 5 times higher risk of accidents related to these conditions. We therefore recommend that you wear support stockings from the third month of pregnancy onwards to ensure good blood circulation. By compressing the lower limbs, support stockings prevent blood from stagnating too long in the legs and thus prevent the risk of varicose veins and venous insufficiency.
Travelling when you are pregnant is therefore possible. However, it is necessary to be careful when packing your suitcase to make sure you don’t forget anything: Little Guest has drawn up a small list of documents that you must absolutely take with you when you travel! Tip: this list also works if you want to fly during your pregnancy!
Let’s go for 9 months of pregnancy; 9 months made of joys, fears and surprises! For the moment, nothing really changes, both physically and psychologically. You may suffer from some morning sickness but it is completely normal and poses no risk. You can therefore travel without asking yourself any questions, as it doesn’t present any danger to your child’s development.
From the second month of pregnancy, you enter a key period; that of the formation of your baby’s first organs. At the same time, the embryo moves to nestle on the endometrium (the lining of the uterus). This is a period of hormonal upheaval because pregnancy hormones double every day! It is therefore quite normal that you feel tired. Nausea, bloating and other heartburn intensify and chances are you are experiencing mood swings. However, it is perfectly possible for you to take the train without any risk.
The third month of pregnancy is the month of the first ultrasound! The small embryo officially becomes a foetus and the risk of miscarriage is considerably reduced. On the other hand, nausea and vomiting may intensify (but rest assured, this will soon disappear) as well as the urge to urinate. This is because your uterus is growing and exerts constant pressure on your bladder. As we recommended earlier, don’t hesitate to book an aisle seat so you can easily get to the toilet. Note, moreover, that the third month of pregnancy is the perfect time to try different types of prenatal massages, which may well help you to relax and fully enjoy this period of joy!
The 4th month of pregnancy is the month when your belly is rounded to make room for the baby, who is growing day by day. Normally, the nausea has disappeared and you’ve left the fatigue behind! You are in great shape and that’s good! Why not celebrate this with a few days holiday, away from the daily routine? It’s the perfect time for a train ride! A few precautions however: hydrate yourself regularly and take advantage of the central corridor to stretch your legs and regulate your blood circulation.
That’s it, the 5th month of pregnancy has arrived and your baby is now very excited! Kicks, punches… he never stops reminding you of his presence in your well-rounded belly! Luckily for you, his movements tire him and he rests most of the day (between 6 and 8 hours a day). The problem is that you don’t have the same rhythm as him and this agitation can cause great fatigue. Remember to book a seat on the aisle side or in a square so that you can stretch your legs and get up easily to get around the train. Don’t hesitate to take naps and sleep whenever the opportunity arises, because your baby’s health obviously depends on yours.
Your belly is getting rounder and rounder, you suffer from temporary hot flashes and unusual sweating? This is normal, the 6th month of pregnancy is when your body really adapts to the foetus growing inside it and this causes a certain number of hormonal upheavals. In everyday life, and even more so when you take the train, remember to hydrate regularly and to wear loose, light clothing that will give you great freedom of movement and maximum comfort. During the journey, remember to make regular return trips in the aisle of your carriage to avoid the sensation of heavy legs and to promote blood circulation.
Let’s be crystal clear! Even during the 7th month of pregnancy, nothing prevents you from travelling! Indeed, even if your baby is becoming more and more sensitive to what is happening around him, he is completely safe. As with all means of transport, remember to fasten your seat belt under your abdomen to avoid any risk of impact if the train brakes a little hard. For added safety, you can also place a small cushion between your abdomen and the belt strap to avoid possible pressure on the uterus. As in previous months, remember to walk as regularly as possible to keep your legs, ankles, feet and toes moving. Don’t forget that some trains offer special seats for pregnant women; check with the company before you leave!
That’s it, you’re almost there! Childbirth is fast approaching and it could well start prematurely from the beginning of the 8th month. To find out whether you are fit to travel, whether by plane, train or car (over long distances), ask your doctor or the midwife who has been with you since the beginning of your pregnancy for advice. If it is recommended that you avoid travelling during this period, you are the only decision-maker and you have every right to do so! However, as labour may start at any time during the last weeks, we recommend that you limit your travel to short trips that will allow you to get home or to a hospital easily.
Each railway company has its own policy on travel during pregnancy. Some offer special facilities, others offer free access to 1st class, etc. At Little Guest, we have carefully compared the different relevant information regarding travel for pregnant women according to the main European railway companies; enjoy your reading!
In France, pregnant women can benefit from the home-train support service set up by the SNCF. This service, which is subject to a charge, allows you to be accompanied from your home to your seat on the train and also on arrival, from the station to your home. From €30, you will be assisted by a professional guidewho will pick you up at your home at a time of your convenience and take care of your luggage. At the station, he will validate your ticket, take care of any last-minute purchases and guide you to your seat. When the train arrives at the station, he will be waiting for you on the platform to take you to your final destination.
Good news! In Belgium, pregnant women are pampered when they take the train with the SNCB. Indeed, during the last 4 months of your pregnancy, you can travel comfortably in 1st class on presentation of your 2nd class ticket and a medical certificate indicating the presumed date of delivery, at no extra charge!
Amsterdam, Paris, London, Brussels… the destinations served by Eurostar leave you dreaming? You should know that the company has set up a service specially dedicated to pregnant women. You can benefit from a completely free assistance service to welcome you at the station and accompany you to (or from) the train. Although the service may differ slightly depending on whether it is offered by Eurostar Assist or the station staff, the services and quality remain more or less the same.
The Spanish railway company Renfe also offers a support service for pregnant women. Upon presentation of a medical certificate proving your pregnancy, you can benefit from a personalised service that will guide you, inform you and facilitate your access to the train and your passage through the station.
In Italy, too, railway companies take care of pregnant women. There is even a special assistance service for them at Trenitalia. You can therefore take the train with peace of mind all over Italy and benefit from an assistance service that will help you during your transits. To get to enjoy this service, go to the blue rooms in Italian stations!
Located in the heart of the Phocaean city, the InterContinental Marseille – Hotel Dieu *****, is perfect for mothers-to-be. Easily accessible by train, it offers a peaceful and comfortable environment for families looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Marseille. Situated just a short walk from the Old Port, the hotel is ideal for discovering the city while taking care of the mother-to-be. Between the splendid view of the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde and the hotel’s extraordinary spa, you (and your baby) will be in paradise!
Located in the charming little village of Benalmádena, the Palladium Hotel Costa Del Sol **** boasts top-class facilities and an exceptional natural Mediterranean environment: fine sandy beach, pine forests, olive groves and crystal-clear waters. Thanks to its idyllic location, the site enjoys an average annual temperature of 20°! This top-of-the-range hotel is perfect for mothers-to-be and couples with children. Hydromassage baths, baby club from 6 months, strollers, cot, everything is done to offer guests unequalled comfort.
The Royal Hotel San Remo ***** is located on the Flower Riviera in Italy, only 40 minutes from Nice or Monaco, so it is very easy to get there by train! Mothers (and mothers-to-be) are pampered here at the Royal Wellness & Spa, the hotel’s wellness centre. On the agenda: sauna, hammam, hydro-massage pool and sensory showers. Icing on the cake: a wide range of treatments and massages signed Mei SPA based on natural products. Everything is also provided for babies (strollers, cots, baby baths, high chairs, emergency bottles, etc.).
Little Guest wishes you happy pregnancy
Guillaume, 26 years old, passionate about travelling, from Paris.