If you’re not pregnant the title of this post might sound a little ridiculous. What’s the big deal? It’s just a little bit of extra weight, right?
Travelling during pregnancy is hard work when it involves traipsing around London. This is especially true if like me, you don’t live in the city so you have to travel to London as well. You have to change how you’ve travelled to/in London in the past if you want to survive. And believe me, on more than one occasion it has felt like a survival mission.
Learn to Say No
If you only use one of my tips, use this one. If you don’t live in London, only travel in if it’s crucial.
Admittedly, I’ve struggled with this one the most. When you’re so passionate about something (like me with travel blogging), it’s so tricky to receive invites to fun and exciting opportunities in the city…and to say no.
Earlier in my pregnancy I just couldn’t bear to miss out. I’d say yes and then spend the journey home feeling sorry for myself, realising just how taxing it was. When you’re pregnant you get out of breath, even just sitting down. Think about it – baby has taken up valuable space and your lungs (along with many other things) have to re-jig to accommodate.
You also get tired, your body aches…well, I’m sure you get the picture. Only travel to London if it’s something you think is absolutely worth its weight in gold.
Baby on Board
If you have to go to London, get yourself a ‘Baby on Board’ badge from the tube station. They’re free and small enough to hide if you see someone you know, but big enough to flash at strangers.
Admittedly I felt like a complete idiot when I first got mine, but in the early stages of pregnancy it’s not always obvious that you’re expecting a baby. Plus, a lot of people don’t want to make the dreaded mistake of offering their congrats to a pregnant lady only to find out she’s just carrying a food baby.
The idea with the badge is that it lets randoms know that you are in fact pregnant. I found people let me get on the tube first, didn’t shove me and even offered me their seat. Once your bump becomes a biggie you can ditch the badge.
Accept Seat Offers
Which brings me to my next tip. If someone offers you a seat, accept it. It sounds obvious, but us English lot can be painfully polite and shy.
In the early days I’d find myself immediately declining a seat offer and then regretting it for the rest of the trip. I’d be embarrassed to make someone stand up just for me and I’d want to avoid the attention of everyone staring. You know how quiet we all are on the tubes, so any conversation is watched and listened to intently!
As my pregnancy progressed, I had no hesitation in accepting and actually found people seemed to be chuffed when I said yes. Go on, make someone’s day and let them do a good deed (and let your weary limbs rest).
Once you step off the tube, train or bus and onto the busy streets it’s a whole other game of survival.
In big crowds people can only see your face, so they won’t realise you’re pregnant until they’re right in front of you. They’re usually walking at a fast pace so often it’ll be too late for them to slow down enough to give you a wide berth.
You’ll also find that impatient people walking behind you will often knock into you.
Do yourself a favour; put a protective arm or two around your bump to protect him or her. It’s saved my little one from a rough shove on more than one occasion.
We’re probably all guilty of being in our own little dream world. This seems especially true in London where everyone seems to be late, busy or content at staring at the floor to avoid eye contact with strangers.
Whether you’re after a seat in the station, need help in picking a bag up off the floor or something else, make it obvious that you’re pregnant. Push your bump out so that there is no doubt about it. I don’t think you should play the pregnancy card, but I do think there’s no shame in needing a bit of help or understanding from a passer-by.
Fancy skipping the busy tube to walk a few stops instead? By all means go for it, as exercise is great. However, I’m pretty sure that you’ll get puffed out quicker than you normally would and it’ll feel like double the distance than normal. At least, that’s my experience.
Add extra time to your journey. If a walk would normally take five minutes, allow ten. Oh and wear flats and minimise the contents of your bag (but don’t forget to keep your pregnancy notes on you at all times).
Phew! I’m exhausted just thinking about travelling to London, but then I have only got seven weeks until due date!
So, over to you; do you have any tips to add to this list?