Commuting whilst Pregnant | Baby on Board
253 The NurtureFirst Team - Nov 09, 2018
Pregnancy, whilst a time of great excitement, can also be a tough period for many. A particularly stressful time can be the commute to and from work. The average time spent commuting in the U.K. is 57 minutes each working day; this can be especially uncomfortable for mothers-to-be. The earliest that maternity leave can start is at 11 weeks before the baby is due, making it likely that pregnant women will have to face the commute at some stage before taking maternity leave. Outlined herein are a few hints and tips for pregnant women to help make the journeys to and from work a little more bearable.
- It is often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and this is particularly true when pregnant. Not eating enough can make you dizzy and weak. You should try to eat a meal and, at the very least, have a quick bite to eat before you leave the house. On top of this, nausea can strike at unexpected times during your pregnancy. It is thus a good idea to carry some light snacks (such as cereal bars) with you on your commute to keep the nausea at bay. It is more sensible to travel having eaten something than to travel on an empty stomach. Pregnancy is also a time when it is important you are eating the right vitamins and minerals. Vitamin D, which regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body for bones and teeth, and Folic Acid, to help prevent neural tube defects, are two important examples.
- Furthermore, many people faint on public transport whilst they are pregnant. When standing, a pregnant woman is susceptible to dizziness because the blood pools in the lower part of the body, starving the brain of the blood and oxygen it needs. To overcome such problems, it is a good idea to move around as much as possible. It goes without saying that exercise is very important when you are pregnant, and a little movement on the commute is no exception. If you’re seated, you can move your feet and toes and stretch your calf muscles to keep your blood flowing.
- If you’re tired after a long day of work, consider taking a nap before driving home. On top of this, you could try carpooling with colleagues to take the pressure off yourself. Always remember to carry your phone with you in case of emergency. You could also have a cup of tea or coffee before your commute; a little caffeine in moderation will not have any malignant effects on your pregnancy.
- It is very important to ask someone for their seat if commuting by public transport – it is unfair to rely on a polite person to give theirs up for you. Seating can make your commute so much more comfortable. If you are commuting in London, you should consider getting a free ‘Baby on Board’ badge to let other commuters know that you are pregnant.
- It is crucial to drink plenty of water during your pregnancy, but it is important to be wise about when you are drinking it. A full bladder is uncomfortable at the best of times, especially so when one is pregnant and halfway through a commute! It is a good idea to have a glass of water in the morning to stay hydrated before leaving the house and to drink plenty more once you have arrived at work.
- It is also important to remember to wear comfortable clothing. High heels can lead to falls and sprained ankles, and combined with restrictive trousers or tops are not going to make your commute comfortable. These items of clothing can also constrict blood flow, causing uncomfortable swelling in your legs and feet.
Finally, NurtureFirst’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Fysh, consultant at The Portland Hospital for Women and Children, recommends seeking medical advice on when to start your maternity leave if you are having a multiple pregnancy or singleton with complications, especially if you have to add a long or difficult commute to your working day. If possible, you could ask for help obtaining accommodation closer to your place of work.