Travelling while pregnant can be an amazing experience but requires some care when eating and drinking to protect your precious bump! As we awaited Jake’s arrival we continued with our travels and planned our trips around keeping our ever growing bump safe. Jake made it to Namibia, South Africa, Spain, Greece, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Austria, Slovenia and Northern Ireland on our pre baby trips and we wanted to share everything we learned about eating and drinking while travelling pregnant.
1 | Pack your favourite snacks from home
I needed a readily available supply of snacks when I was pregnant! Cereal bars, dried fruits and nuts are all great snack options while travelling when pregnant. Pack supplies of your favourite snacks and remember to keep some in your hand luggage for easy access during the journey – it’s a great way to fight off the nausea that often comes when hunger strikes while pregnant. If you are craving certain foods make sure to pack supplies if you have any doubts about availability in your holiday destination.
2 | Use bottled water for drinking and brushing teeth
Check the quality and safety of the tap water at your destination. I found it easiest to stick to using bottled water for drinking and brushing my teeth when we travelled outside of our home country during pregnancy – bacteria and viruses can be present in tap water which the locals are immune to and it’s not worth risking an upset tummy.
3 | Consider how food and drinks are prepared
If you are avoiding tap water remember that this extends beyond just drinks and teeth. Avoid salads and raw fruit and vegetables which are likely to have been washed in tap water. Ice in drinks is another thing to avoid as it is usually prepared with tap water as well as juices which might be supplemented with tap water.
4 | Know which foods to avoid at your destination
As well as the usual rules which apply in your home country (in the UK it’s recommended to avoid certain cheeses, shellfish, raw meats and eggs, liver, alcohol, pate and unpasturised milk and also to limit caffeine) there are also a few extra precautions I took while travelling:
- Ensure milk is pasturised and safe to eat cheeses and yoghurts are made using pasturised milk: we came across this while travelling through small villages in Europe where milk and cheese tended to be sourced from local farms. Ice cream is an awesome treat in the heat but again, make sure it is made with pasteurised milk and eggs
- Ensure fish is fresh and well cooked. If you are considering sushi, any raw wild fish used should have been frozen first to kill parasites.
- Ensure meat is well cooked and be especially cautious of barbecued meats and their preparation
- Opt for busy and clean restaurants where food is cooked on order. We avoided restaurants where food was prepared and sitting under heat lamps.
- Again, avoid salads and raw fruit and vegetables which are likely to have been washed in tap water and ensure they are free from soil.
5 | Know exactly what you’re eating
With a language barrier it can be difficult to confirm ingredients or whether they are pasturised so it’s best to avoid these foods if you have any concerns.
I tried asking locally a few times but, ultimately, I didn’t feel comfortable taking any risks with regards to food and preferred to choose something I knew was safe to eat.
6 | If you’re a foodie traveller consider saving some destinations to post pregnancy
This might seem an extreme measure but, for us, food is a huge part of our travels and we love checking out awesome restaurants and local delicacies. While there was never any doubt that I would take every precaution possible to protect our little bundle of joy it was sometimes a challenge to sit back and watch Dave eating copious amounts of cheese, mouth wateringly rare steaks and buckets of seafood! As a result there are some destinations I’d delay visiting until post pregnancy – for example, Japan would be top of my list as I could happily live solely on sushi so I’d rather wait until I could eat it morning, noon and night!